I can’t believe another week on lockdown has passed. As I look back, all I see are the things I didn’t get done. How can I be home all day and not finish everything on my to-do list? I think part of my problem is that any one task seems to take me twice as long. I spend too much time worrying about small things like having to potentially leave the house to shop for food and whether or not I have laundry detergent. I just don’t have the focus I normally do.

But since it’s Friday, it’s time for another installment of The Hungry {Romance} Writer. Today we’re continuing with Iron Rack’s Whiskey Challenge, the game Zack Tremaine (the hero of IN SEARCH OF TRUTH) came up for his friends who all work at Iron Rack’s Gym. The point of the game was to take their minds off of their enemies and their worry about what’s coming next. And today Ty Briggs (also an ex-Green Beret and one of Kells Torridan’s men) is sharing his recipe for Bourbon Ribs.

Ty Briggs ~ “I can’t believe I agreed to participate in Zack’s stupid contest. Seriously, I must have been either exhausted or drunk. But since none of us have any money for booze, it’s probably the former. I spend every waking hour working in Iron Rack’s (the run-down, pirate-themed gym in a terrible neighborhood), clearing out tunnels (Savannah’s 18th century tunnels that are filled with trash and rats. Tunnels that, for some reason, my men and I are expected to clean out), and working as bouncers at Rage of Angels (the most violent strip club in the city). None of which leaves a lot of free time.

So, yeah. My excuse for joining this challenge is the fact that I haven’t slept in months. Oh. There’s also the truth that Zack, despite being a good guy, becomes insufferable when it comes to cooking. On the nights we’re assigned to make dinner for everyone in the unit, it’s never good enough for Zack. It’s burned. Or too cold. Or not spicy enough. Zack is the original grumpy old man when it comes to anything culinary, and I’m tired of his whining.

Annnnnnd, I have a secret. Although I’m known as the Hamburger Helper King (because that’s all I make on my assigned dinner nights), I’m actually a decent cook. Not great, but I can barbecue. And my signature dish? Bourbon Ribs. Think slow-braised ribs soaked in an awesome sauce of bourbon, coffee, brown sugar, mustard, bacon--yes, bacon–and a few other ingredients that are then put into the slow cooker. Once they’ve cooked there, I take them outside and grill them to perfection.

I do have one concern, though. The judges. All of the judges are women (a girlfriend, three wives, one fiancee, one-maybe-two sisters, and a Nana) who are devoted to my buddies. Unfortunately, none of them are mine and I need to somehow get these women on my side. I was thinking about making a great dessert like Alex did last week, except none of the women ate his Boston Cream Pie. Although the pie was fabulous (I’d never admit that to Alex), the women were all worried about calories. Annoyed doesn’t even come close to describing Alex’s mood. 🙂

Thank goodness Sarah, Nate’s wife, has taken pity on me and offered to help me set up tables with tablecloths and flowers and candles. But I’m going to need more than that if I want to beat Zack, Alex, and Cain. I’m going to need something great–something that won’t cost too much or have too many calories–to sway these judges in my favor and make Allison (Zack’s fiancee) and Charlotte (Cain’s wife) forget how much they love their men. And I have just the thing–Karaoke!

I’ll ask Ivers (Calum’s butler) to borrow the karaoke machine I used during one of our Iron Rack’s movie nights. I’m sure, with at little persuasion (like an extra plate of ribs) that Ivers will hook me up with whatever I need. I know for a fact that Charlotte (Cain’s wife) adores karaoke. From what I remember, I think Juliet (Rafe’s wife) does too. Now that I have a plan, I might actually have a chance to win this thing. And beating Alex, Zack, and Cain? That’s the best (calorie-free) dessert of all.”

Bourbon Ribs

Course Main Course
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 4 hours
Resting Time 10 minutes


Dry Rub

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 2 Tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 4 racks baby back ribs 2 1/2 pounds each, membranes removed

BBQ sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Vidalia onion minced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce optional
  • 3 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons unsulfured molasses


  1. In a small bowl, stir together all the rub ingredients Set aside.

    Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with tin foil. Once the membranes are pulled off the bottoms of the rib racks, place the meat on the baking sheets. Then rub the spice mix all over the ribs, patting it all into the crevices of the meat. Cover the meat with foil and put in the refrigerator overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 275℉ and remove the baking trays from the refrigerator while the oven heats up. Pour off any extra liquid that accumulated on the baking sheets overnight. Bake the ribs (still covered with foil) for 4 hours. The meat should be tender, but not falling off the bone. Remove from the oven and pour off any excess liquid.

  3. While the ribs are cooking, make the sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the onion for 10 minutes. Then stir in the garlic and thyme and sauté for another 2 minutes. Slowly stir in the ketchup, vinegar, beef broth, hot sauce (if using and you like things spicier), bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, and molasses. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Then simmer, stirring intermittently, for 30 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

  4. Preheat the broiler and place a rack in the top of the oven, about 12" from the broiler. Brush the sauce all over the ribs and then broil for 10 minutes, stopping to brush more sauce as the meat broils. It's done with the meat is browned and bubbly.

    Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Serve immediately and you can use extra barbecue sauce on the side.

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