Sweet and Spicy Ribs

3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more
2 St. Louis-style pork ribs (3–4 pounds each)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
Vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and 3 tablespoons salt in a small bowl; set aside 1/4 cup spice mixture.

Pat ribs dry with paper towels and rub with remaining spice mixture, massaging into crevices. Wrap each rack in a double layer of foil, crimping edges to seal tightly. Place each foil packet on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until meat is fork-tender at the thickest part but not falling off the bone, 2–3 hours. Let cool.

Tear open a corner of each foil packet and carefully pour juices from ribs into a large heatproof measuring cup. Let juices settle, then spoon fat from surface and discard.

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium, stirring often, until it foams, then browns (do not burn), 5–8 minutes. Add juices from ribs and 1/4 cup reserved spice mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by one-third, 15–20 minutes. Remove sauce from heat, add vinegar, and season with salt.

Prepare grill for medium-high heat; oil grate. Remove ribs from foil and grill, basting with sauce and turning occasionally, until charred in spots, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Slice between ribs and serve with remaining sauce.

Do Ahead
Ribs can be baked 1 day ahead; let cool in foil, then chill. Bring to room temperature before grilling. Sauce can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill. Reheat over low.

Miss Verbina’s Pimento Cheese

1 pound sharp yellow cheddar
1/4 pound cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1/2 cup homemade mayonnaise or best-quality commercial mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
Splash of hot sauce, such as Tabasco or Cholulu
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
Instructions

Grind the cheddar in a food processor fitted with the grating disk, or grate it on the small-holed side of a hand grater.

Transfer the grated cheese to a bowl, add the cream cheese, white pepper, bell peppers, mayonnaise, sugar, hot sauce, and cayenne, if using, and blend all together thoroughly.

Refrigerate and serve chilled.

Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Smoked Ham and Toasted Pecans

2 pounds brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked ham (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
2/3 cup low-salt chicken broth
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup pecans, toasted, chopped

Trim root ends from brussels sprouts. Using sharp knife or processor fitted with coarse shredding disk, thinly slice brussels sprouts into shreds.

DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.

Melt butter with olive oil in large deep skillet over medium heat. Add ham; sauté until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds.

Add brussels sprouts and broth; sauté until crisp-tender but still bright green, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with coarse salt and black pepper.

Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with pecans.

Seared Scallops with Mint, Peas and Bacon

12 large sea scallops (preferably dry-packed), side muscle removed (about 1 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups shelled fresh peas (from about 1 1/2 pounds pods) or frozen peas

3 ounces bacon (about 3 slices), cut crosswise into 1/3–inch strips

1 medium shallot, cut crosswise into thin rings

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon (or more) olive oil

3 tablespoons mint leaves, coarsely chopped, divided

Place scallops on a paper towel-lined plate and pat very dry with additional paper towels. Season both sides with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper total.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil, covered, in a small pot. Add peas and 1/2 tsp. salt; cook until peas are bright green and tender, about 2 minutes for fresh and 4 minutes for frozen. Drain peas through a strainer set over a bowl; reserve cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, add bacon to a large skillet and heat over medium-high. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until fat starts to render, about 3 minutes. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened and lightly browned and bacon is crisp, about 3 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon and shallot to a small bowl, reserving fat in skillet. Add 1/2 cup cooked peas to bacon mixture.

Purée lemon juice, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. pepper, the remaining 1 1/2 cups peas, and 1/2 cup reserved pea cooking liquid in a blender. Add oil and pureé until smooth. Add 2 Tbsp. mint leaves and pureé until just combined but pieces of mint are still visible. Divide pea purée among 4 plates.

Heat skillet with reserved fat over high until just barely smoking. Working in batches and adding more oil if necessary, sear scallops until a golden brown crust has formed and scallop releases from skillet, about 3 minutes per side. Top pea purée with scallops and bacon-pea mixture, then sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. mint.