These ribs feature date molasses, a flavorful sweet syrup you can pick up at Kalustyan's, and mesquite smoke powder, which you can order from Auntie Arwen's Spices (a really wonderful resource, where we also love to stock up on Two Knives Special Curry Blend and Thief in a Jug Garam Masala).
We feel like cheaters using smoke powder, but with our tiny apartment, we only like to go through the hassle of setting up the smoker for truly serious endeavors, like homemade bacon. For ribs like this, mesquite smoke powder is incredibly tasty without all the fuss.
Smoky Date Beef Ribs
4 lbs beef spare ribs or 6 lbs beef short ribs (if they're very fatty, get even more)
3/8 C date molasses
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp ground ginger
3/8 tsp mesquite smoke powder
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
Beef stock to taste (optional)
Trim as much of the fat off the ribs as you care to. I prefer my meat fairly lean, so I tend to do a lot of dissection, but your mileage may vary.
Mix together all the other ingredients (except for the beef stock) in a bowl - this will be used as both marinade and sauce later on.
Remove 1/3 of the marinade to another bowl, and thin it with beef stock to taste, then set it aside. This will be the sauce.
Rub the rest of the marinade all over the ribs. If you are patient, let them sit in it in the fridge overnight. If not, just go ahead and roast them right away.
Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Set up a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Wrap the marinade-covered ribs with more aluminum foil in a nice tight package, then roast them until tender and done. Spare ribs take about 2 hours, while short ribs take closer to 2-3 hours.