Here I'm taking a kind of nontraditional approach to these ribs. First I coat them with my dry adaptation of the Latin American adobo sauce, flavored with cumin, chili, oregano, and sour orange. Next I go the "cheater's route," putting the ribs in a low oven for 3 hours to cook them through, then laying them on the grill over a very low charcoal fire to give them a nice crust and some good smoke flavor. To finish it all off, there's a sweet-sour-hot barbecue sauce for drizzling or dunking.
For the Sauce:
2. In a food processor or blender, combine the paste ingredients and blend until smooth. Dry the ribs with paper towels, then rub them thoroughly with the paste. Place the ribs on two baking sheets and slow-roast for 3 hours, or until no red juice comes out when you poke the meat with a fork and the meat is tender and pulls easily from the bone. Remove the ribs from the oven. They can go right onto the grill, stand out for a while, or be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days.
3. While the ribs are roasting, combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well; set aside.
4. Light a fire in your grill. You want a very low charcoal fire with the rack set as high as possible.
5. Put the ribs on the grill and let them stay there as long as your patience allows. A light crust on the outside is the goal, and, depending on your fire, it can be achieved in 5 minutes per side or take up to 30 minutes per side, if you're into prolonging your guests' agony. Of course, the longer the ribs cook, the better. Brush them with the sauce during the last minute on the grill.
6. Cut the ribs apart between the bones and serve with the remaining barbecue sauce on the side.
Andrea Reusing is the creator of the restaurant Lantern in Chapel Hill, N.C., and author of the book Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes. In this installment of The Key 3, she shares with Lynne Rossetto Kasper the techniques behind three of her favorite recipes: Turnip Soup, Overnight Braised Short Ribs and Tomato Salad.