Backyard BBQ: How Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse chef Danny McCallum makes his Korean-style Miami ribs
Now that it’s officially barbecue season, we’re asking Toronto chefs to show us what they’re grilling in their own backyards
Like many of us, chef Danny McCallum is confined to his home. Now that it’s barbecue season, we asked the social-distancing chef to show us what he’s grilling in his own backyard. His recipe: saucy, Korean-style Miami ribs.
For Jacobs & Co. chef Danny McCallum, nothing says summer like barbecue—and thinly sliced Miami ribs are his go-to for instant gratification. “These are always the first thing to hit the grill,” says McCallum. “The ribs are fast and easy to prep and make, which means they’re a perfect appetizer when you’re waiting on items that take longer to cook.”
The flavour-formula of this dish just hits all the right notes for McCallum. “This recipe was inspired by Adam Foley, an old chef friend of mine. I love it because the sweet, earthy and tangy flavours all combine to create this magical synergy of deliciousness,” he says. Even more importantly, his nine-month-pregnant wife, Kat, absolutely loves them. “They’re her favourite starter, and they’re followed-up by more meat—and pretty much everything else under the sun.” In the before times, McCallum would regularly host full-day barbecue extravaganzas for friends and family, grilling up hamburgers, chicken wings, shrimp, steak, pork ribs, veggies and for dessert, s’mores.” Naturally, they’ve scaled back given that McCallum’s only cooking for two now (well, baby makes three) but he looks forward to more backyard feasts when group gatherings are allowed again.
1 443mL bottle of Hoisin sauce
5 tbsp peeled and grated ginger
1 can frozen orange juice concentrate
20 thinly sliced Miami-style short ribs
1 ½ cups water
1 bunch green onions, sliced (optional)
Put everything except the ribs and green onions in a bowl. Stir until the juice has thawed and all the ingredients are combined.
Place some marinade in the bottom of a casserole-type dish and add a layer of ribs.
Repeat the above step until you’re all out of ribs and sauce.
Refrigerate for at least three hours but, ideally, overnight.
Now let’s get grilling. McCallum likes wood charcoal more than briquettes. “I find the heat to be the most consistent and it burns very hot. The higher the heat you can get, the more control you have over a higher range of temperature.” How much you use depends on how big your barbecue is, but you should use enough to fill half of it. (See below for gas barbecue and stove-top instructions.)
A chimney makes charcoal grilling easy-peasy. “I prefer to use one because you simply add paper at the bottom and charcoal on top. Then, all you have to do is light the paper.
“Wait for the coals to glow red then pour them out over half of your barbecue, adding a few more pieces of charcoal to increase the heat. Put the chimney aside, you no longer need it. Having the charcoal off to one side is like creating two burners in your barbecue. Think of it like having your stove on high heat for one burner and low for another. This is important because you can’t just always sear on high heat, sometimes you need to let things simmer away. The hot side—the one with more charcoal—will be for charring and searing, and the low side for things that need a little more time, like chicken.”
(If you don’t have a chimney, however, just roll some newspaper into balls, about eight or so, and lay them in your barbecue, off to one side. Pile some charcoal over top of the paper, then light the paper from multiple sides to create an even burn.)
The best time to start cooking is when the coals have all turned white. “This means the heat is even now, as opposed to some coals burning and some not. Never grill when the coals are still red and black—that signifies the heat is not consistent, which leads to uneven cooking.”
Place the ribs on the side with fewer coals to render some of the fat. Cook each rib for about two-and-a-half minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the rib) on the cool side of the grill. Then finish them on the hot side for about 30 seconds so that they get a bit charred.
“If you’re grilling for a long time, you may want to add more charcoal. The initial round will give you about an hour’s worth of heat and cooking time. If the heat dips down, add a four to five pieces to the hot side. As a visual aid, divide an imaginary boundary where heat is the hottest on the right side and coolest on the left. If you want it to stay that way, add new charcoal in on the right and move a couple of the old ones to the left to maintain your temperatures. If you can hold your hand over the hot side for more than three seconds, it’s time for more charcoal,”
Pile on a plate and garnish with sliced green onions.
Chef’s note: For gas barbecues, set to high heat and cook for two to three minutes on each side. If you don’t have an outdoor BBQ, you can still make these ribs on the stove-top in your kitchen. “These ribs are great fried on medium-high heat with a little oil in a heavy gauge frying pan or cast-iron skillet. They’ll take about two-and-a-half minutes on each side. I recommend finishing them under the broiler on a tray for about two to three minutes, until charred and golden.”