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Carolina style ribs w/ jalapeno cornbread and tomatillo avocado salsa

Carolina style ribs w/ jalapeno cornbread and tomatillo avocado salsa

Carolina style ribs w/ jalapeno cornbread and tomatillo avocado salsa

These ribs are super moist, and the jalapeno cornbread is a recipe that I have been using for over twenty years. It is not dry like a lot of cornbreads, as it has good amounts of cheese and buttermilk in it. Tomatillos are in the market from mid summer onwards. They are a relation of the tomato as the name would suggest, and also the cape gooseberry, hence their lantern style husk that this green fruit grows in. You treat them like a tomato and they can be used cooked or raw. I really enjoy their savoury and slightly sour flavour.

Serves 6


Step 1: Carolina Rib Rub

Mix the spices together in a small bowl to make the rub. Sprinkle a liberal amount over the ribs, massage in, and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least a day.


Step 2: First Cook of the Carolina Ribs

Pre heat oven to 150 degrees.

Place the marinated ribs in a suitable sized roasting or braising dish. Pour all the rest of the ingredients into a suitable sized saucepan. Place on a medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved, then pour over the ribs. Cover the ribs with tin foil and place them on a high heat for 5 minutes, before carefully placing in the oven. Cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes, then check at 20 minute intervals after that. Remove when the ribs are soft but not falling off the bone. Cool the ribs to room temperature in the braising liquid, then remove from the liquid and refrigerate until required.

Take the braising liquid and puree until smooth. Pour back into a saucepan and place on a medium low heat, simmer for 10minutes to reduce. Remove from heat, let cool and refrigerate until required.


Step 3: Jalapeno Cornbread

Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees

Line a large skillet, or two loaf tins, with greased tin foil or baking paper.

Place a sauté pan on medium low heat. Add the olive oil, chopped onion and jalapeno. Sweat for 15 minutes until the onion is transparent and soft. Place in a large mixing bowl along with the corn, cornmeal, buttermilk, grated cheddar and salt. Hold aside.

Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until creamy. Place the whites into another clean bowl and whisk to soft peaks. Fold the egg yolks into the whites to create a light airy egg mix. Fold this into the corn and onion mix until fully combined then pour into the skillet or loaf tins.

Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the cornbread is golden and firm to touch (make sure it's cooked right to the centre). Remove from the oven and let the corn bread cool a little before turning it out.


Step 4: Tomatillo and Avocado Salsa

Add all the ingredients to a bowl, except the salt and pepper. Mix to combine and then season to taste. Refrigerate until required.


Step 5: Cooking and Serving

Heat your chargrill or flat top to high heat. Lightly oil the ribs then place on the heat. Brush the ribs regularly with the braising liquid as you heat them through. Remove the ribs once they are golden and nicely charred. 

Cut the cornbread into thick slices and brush with a little cooking oil. Cook the slices on the flat top for a couple of minutes on each side until golden and slightly crunchy.

Place the ribs on a platter, with the cornbread, salsa and sour cream on the side. Let everyone help themselves. A bucket of  ice cold Coronas on the side would be a nice touch too!




  • 2 Tbl Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbl Paprika
  • 2 Tbl Salt
  • 2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tsp Cayenne Pepper



  • Marinated Ribs
  • 2 Cup Onion (medium dice)
  • 2 Cup Carrot (medium dice)
  • 2 Cup Celery  (medium dice)
  • 8 Cloves Fresh Garlic (roughly chopped)
  • ½ Cup Ballpark Mustard
  • ½ Cup Cider Vinegar
  • 4 Tbl Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbl Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Tbl Tomato Paste
  • 2 Cup Water
  • 2 tsp Tabasco



  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ Cup Onion (finely chopped)
  • ¼ Cup Tinned Jalapeno Peppers (finely chopped)
  • 4 Cup Corn Kernels (roughly chopped)
  • 3 Cups Cornmeal (fine grain)
  • 250ml Buttermilk
  • 2 ½ Cup Cheddar Cheese (grated)
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 9 Eggs



  • 2 Roasted Red Capsicums (skins, pips removed, medium dice)
  • 2 Cup Tomatillo (medium dice)
  • 1 Avocado  (medium dice)
  •  1/3 Cup Red Onion (finely diced)
  • 1 Clove Fresh Garlic (finely diced)
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Coriander (roughly chopped)
  • ½ Tbl Cumin Seeds (freshly ground)
  • 1 tsp Sweet Smoked Spanish Paprika (dulce)
  • 1 Lime (juice only)
  • 1/3 Cup Olive Oil
  • 12 drops Smoked Chipotle Tabasco (or regular)
  •  ½ Tbl Sugar



  • Cooked Carolina Ribs
  • Cooking Oil
  • Reduced Braising Marinade
  • Jalapeno Corn Bread
  • Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
  • 250gm Sour Cream


Photography by Kieran Scott

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