By Megan Scott
November 6, 2020
Firing up the smoker and cooking something low and slow for a few hours seems like the perfect activity for a late fall afternoon, especially when we’re talking about pork ribs coated in a rich elderberry balsamic glaze.
This recipe comes from Laura Wayland who, with her husband Phil, owns Outer Banks Olive Oil Company in Duck, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head, as well as Chip’s Wine & Beer Market in Kill Devil Hills. Laura and Phil’s stores are like heaven on earth for foodies. Their newest location in Nags Head is home to a huge variety of premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars, as well as naturally infused artisan varieties, and some pretty enticing gourmet chocolates and cheeses.
The elderberry balsamic vinegar featured in this recipe is one of the newer products available from the Wayland’s three shops. You may have heard of elderberry for its antioxidative powers and immune-boosting properties, but its bright, tangy sweetness also pairs perfectly with barbecue. Pairing flavors just so happens to be one of Laura’s specialties; she has a background in wine and her stores carry a wide selection of bottles from all over the world.
While beer is often the obvious beverage of choice to serve with ribs (and the Nags Head Outer Banks Olive Oil shop has an entire wall of amazing craft beers to choose from), Laura says this recipe begs for a full-bodied red wine. She recommends trying a Michael David 6th Sense Syrah and, honestly, the pairing is right on point. The jammy notes of the wine elevates the complex flavors of the elderberry-glazed ribs and truly enhances the smokiness.
In all, this meal epitomizes the beauty of fall on the Outer Banks. The time it takes to cook the ribs is your opportunity to kick back, take a breath, and relax into the crisp autumn air. It might just be the perfect chance to enjoy a cigar from Outer Bank’s Olive Oil’s humidor if that’s your style, too. Bottom line, this quiet moment outdoors is a must-do and this recipe is a must-try this season.
Smoked Elderberry Pork Ribs
2 small racks of pork ribs
Fresh ground black pepper
½ cup of Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons of Honey-Ginger Balsamic
¼ cup of beef or chicken broth or stock (your choice)
1 tablespoon Butter Infused Olive Oil
- Season the ribs with salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate them overnight.
- The following day smoke the ribs at 225 F for three hours, uncovered. Then, wrap the ribs in foil and smoke them for another 2 hours, or until they reach an internal temperature of 200-208 F. The meat should shrink back from the thin end of the bone about an inch and the whole rack should bend at the center when you pick it up.
- While the ribs are smoking, prepare the sauce. To a saucepan over medium heat, add the Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar, Honey-Ginger Balsamic Vinegar, and broth or stock. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, then add the Butter Infused Olive Oil. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and emulsified. Set aside.
- Once the ribs are cooked, brush them with the sauce until thoroughly coated and return them to the smoker for a few more minutes until the glaze is sticky. Slice the ribs between the bones, into individual sections, and brush with more sauce if desired. Serve and enjoy!
If you don’t have a smoker or are in a hurry, don’t worry — there’s a workaround. Just wrap the salted and peppered ribs in foil and bake them in the oven at 350 F for a 1 ½-2 hours, until tender. Then, throw them on the grill for a minute or two to impart a bit of charred smokiness. Baste the ribs with the sauce and return them to the oven or the grill for a few minutes until the sauce is sticky. The intense, fruity flavor of that sauce is going to win your heart either way, so don’t get too hung up in the cooking method.
Megan Scott is co-owner of The Spice & Tea Exchange in Duck. You can check out her food blog at www.servingtonight.com.
Outer Banks Olive Oil Co.
What: Premium extra virgin olive oils and vinegars, gourmet foods, wine, beer and cigars
Where: Outer Banks Olive Oil Company, Duck, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. Visit www.outerbanksolive.com for details.