Ribs with Beer and BBQ by Chef Eileen Clarke
This recipe is from the cookbook by Chef Eileen Clarke: Slice of the Wild that is now available in soft cover for $25 online at www.riflesandrecipes.com or by calling 406-521-0273.
Eileen, who is the author of numerous game cookbooks, lives in Montana with her husband, John Barsness. She is currently working on a new book that will be available for Christmas 2016 titled: Marinades, Brines and Rubs: Tenderizing the Wild.
From The Chef: You know what’s the hardest part of this recipe? As usual, it’s convincing the elk, moose or big fat deer to jump into the back of the pickup truck. I had a mallard try to dive into my goose blind last week, but big game animals rarely do that, and you will need a large animal to have enough meat on the ribs to make rib-cooking worthwhile. Moose and elk are best, but a big buck—either whitetail or muley—will do if you leave all the flank meat on the ribs instead of tossing it into the grinding pile.
The next hardest thing is choosing just one beer and just one barbecue sauce to make this with. Choose a tomato-based barbecue sauce, but one with little, if any, smoke flavor. (The smoke will only intensify in the roasting and may get too strong.) As for the beer, choose a light colored beer—a pilsener or a lager: Coors Banquet, Miller Genuine Draft, Budweiser, anything like that will work. The rest is easy, just sit back and let the roaster do its stuff. And if you don’t have a large roaster, the best alternative is a turkey roasting-sized oven cooking bag.
Finally, since prepared barbecue sauces vary in salt and pepper content, it’s best to not add any salt and pepper before you put the ribs in the oven. Taste the ribs when they’re done, and then you can add salt and pepper to taste at the table.
2 tablespoons oil
2-3 pounds game meat ribs (moose, elk, or venison) in sections
1-2 pounds country style pork ribs
2 12-ounce cans of beer
12 ounces of your favorite tomato-based barbecue sauce
1. Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Separate the ribs (elk, moose, or venison) and dry with paper towels. Arrange them in the roasting pan, so they make one even layer.
2. In a large skillet, brown the pork ribs in the oil over medium heat until they’re just golden. (They don’t need to be completely cooked at this point.) Transfer them to the roasting pan, covering the game ribs.
3. In a large bowl, combine the beer and barbecue sauce; two 12-ounce beer bottles (Totaling 24 ounces), with 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) barbecue sauce. Pour over the ribs. (If you need more liquid to cover the ribs, mix more beer and barbecue sauce at that 2:1 ratio.)
4. Cover the roasting pan and roast the ribs 2-3 hours or until fall-apart tender.
Tips for Meaty Ribs
Moose and Elk have lots of rib meat, and a thick brisket.]
A trophy deer–whitetail or mule deer—are great especially if you live and hunt in a Northern state like Minnesota, Pennsylvania, or Montana, where winters are cold and big bucks pack on more padding. In this picture we’re removing the brisket to make into corned meat later, but there’s no rule that says you can’t leave what brisket there is on a big deer to make a satisfying rib dinner. However, Does and young Fork horn deer simply don’t have enough padding to make a good rib dinner.
Tips for Butchering
Once the tenderloin and hanging tenderloins have been removed, saw though the spine just to get the carcass into pieces you can work with in the kitchen. From there, cut the back bone away from the ribs, then cut the ribs apart. You’ll be able to cut through the meat on the lower ribs with a knife to separate them, but higher up where they attach to the sternum you’ll need the saw again. (A hand saw won’t strew as much bone dust around as a power saw and, aside from blood, guts and hair, nothing makes meat gamier than bone dust. So saw them carefully, then rinse the dust off and wipe the ribs down before wrapping or cooking them. Once you have the ribs from the carcass saw them into a length that will fit in your roaster or oven bag.