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Vermont Pig Candy
(a technique)

Qty Size Ingredient
1 slab Pork Ribs
1 cup Real Organic Apple Juice
¼ cup Real Vermont or Canadian Maple Syrup
(a darker grade B syrup is best)
3 tbls Olive Oil
4 tbls Your Favorite Dry Rub
2 tsp Your Favorite Hot Sauce

Skin and trim your ribs.

Coat with the olive oil and rub thoroughly with your favorite dry rub.  (see also Seven Spice BBQ Rub  We will be packing on a little more rub that usual because some of it is gong to find it's way into the glaze that we will make later.  Wrap in cling-wrap or a vacuum bag and refrigerate overnight.  We need to give the rub time to soak in so that when we braise them later we won't wash away ALL the rub flavor.

Smoke, grill or roast your ribs at 225º to within one hour (for babyback), or one and a half hours (for spareribs), of finishing.  Remove from the heat, wrap them (individually if you are doing more than one rack of ribs) in a double layer (we can't have any leaks) of heavy duty foil.  Pour in half of the apple juice and seal the foil as tight as you can.  We want to keep as much moisture and steam inside as possible.  And return them to the heat for 30 minutes (for babyback) or one hour (for spareribs).  This is what's referred to as the "Texas Crutch".  You can look it up on line if you want to know all the particulars.

Remove from heat and carefully remove the ribs from the foil.  Pour the resulting juices from the foil into a small sauce pan and return the ribs to the heat.  Meanwhile, add the remaining half cup of apple juice to the sauce pan and boil until reduced to one third.  Still under high heat, add the maple syrup and bring back to a boil.  As the mixture boils, small bubble will form on the surface.  When the bubbles cover the surface completely, it's ready*.  Kill the heat and add your hot sauce and a pinch of salt, mix thoroughly and transfer to a bowl for basting.

One half hour before the ribs are done, start basting them with the glaze.  Voilà - Vermont Pig Candy!


* When the apple juice/maple syrup bubbles/boils, it's releasing it's moisture/water, leaving the sugar behind.  If you continue, you will be left with hard candy.  Which of course is impossible to spread on the ribs.

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