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Yucatan ribs ... salsa plenty.

The barbecue does double duty when you prepare these succulent pork ribs from Merida, Yucatan.

First you char tomatoes and mild chilies over the hot coals to make a piquant salsa. Then, as the ribs grill, you coat them with some of the salsa. Extra salsa accompanies the meat when you serve it. The robust smoky overtones are characteristic of foods in this eastern Mexican state. Merida-style Spareribs 2 racks pork spareribs (3-1/2 to 4 lb. each) Roasted salsa (directions follow) About 1 cup sour cream 3 or 4 limes, cut into wedges or halves

Overlap rib racks in a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake in a 350[deg.] oven until ribs are very tender when pierced, 1-3/4 to 2 hours. If made ahead, drain and let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours, or cover and chill overnight.

Make a solid, single layer of charcoal briquets on the barbecue fire grate. Then stack charcoal in a mound and ignite. When well covered with gray ash, about 40 minutes, spread, coals out evenly. Place cooking grill 4 to 6 inches above coals. Make roasted salsa and set aside. Lay ribs bony side down on grill 4 to 6 inches above coals and cook until well browned, about 5 minutes; watch closely to avoid flareups. Turn ribs over; spoon 1/2 cup of salsa evenly over each rack. Cook until ribs are well browned and hot, 5 to 10 minutes.

Cut racks into individual ribs and serve. Offer remaining salsa and sour cream with ribs, and have lime halves or wedges to squeeze over them. Serves 6 to 8.

Roasted salsa. Set 6 large ripe tomatoes on grill 4 to 6 inches above hot coals (see fire-building directions above). Cook 5 minutes: turn tomatoes as skin splits.

Lay 8 large mild fresh green or red chilies such as Anaheim, pasilla, or poblano next to tomatoes. Cook vegetables, turning as needed, until chili skins are charred on all sides and tomatoes are hot; allow about 15 minutes for tomatoes, 7 to 10 minutes for chilies. Discard chili stems.

On a board, chop tomatoes and chilies coarsely. In a bowl, combine chopped vegetables, juices, 1/4 cup wine vinegar, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (coriander), 3 cloves minced or pressed garlic, and salt to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature. If made ahead, let stand at room temperature as long as 4 hours, or cover and chill overnigh. Makes about 5 cups.
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Title Annotation:recipe
Date:Apr 1, 1985
Previous Article:April menus: country-style Portuguese pork barbecue, Italian-Chinese pasta for supper, and a quick English trifle for breakfast.
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