SMOKED RIB & BEAN SOUP
There are multiple ways to flavor the base of a bean soup. A leftover holiday ham bone, purchased smoked ham hocks, or a savory stock from a wild or store-bought turkey are just a few favorites. But if looking for an economical way to add richness and smoke flavor, try smoking up a small batch of ribs and a generous amount of onions and garlic to begin a hearty bean soup. Have your butcher cut up ribs into small portions to make them easier to serve. St. Louis style ribs are part of the spareribs and usually fattier and more flavorful which will make a tastier broth but any ribs can be substituted. Once a few of the ingredients are smoked, the soup can be put together quickly and slow cooked in a crock pot, finished in an hour in a pressure cooker, or simmered over the stove for a few hours.
1 pound pre-cut St. Louis style ribs
2 large onions
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups dried beans
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
1 - 10 ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes & green chilies
4 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, optional
Salt & black pepper to taste
Soak dried beans in water 6-12 hours changing water at least one time.
Salt and pepper the ribs and let sit at room temperature 30-60 minutes. For more flavor, ribs can be seasoned with your favorite rub and refrigerated overnight.
Place ribs on smoker racks leaving space between to allow for proper smoke flow. Smoke 2 hours before adding onions and garlic to the smoker.
Thickly slice onion into rounds and cut peeled garlic cloves in half. Place onions and garlic on teflon screens atop smoker racks. Fill smoker pan with fresh chips and smoke an additional hour with ribs.
Remove ingredients from smoker. Chop smoked onions and garlic and set aside for cooking. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium-high heat. Brown ribs and set aside.
Leave pan drippings in the pan and add smoked onions, smoked garlic, chopped carrot and celery and saute until onions begin to caramelize. Add diced tomatoes and saute an additional 5 minutes.
Rinse beans and place in a slow cooker, pressure cooker or stock pot. Add ribs, sauteed vegetables, broth, bay leaves, thyme and rosemary. Stir to combine ingredients.
Slow cooker - cook on high 4-6 hours or until beans reach desired tenderness.
Pressure cooker or Instant Pot - cook on high pressure 35-40 minutes, let pressure release naturally.
Stovetop - Bring soup to a boil then lower to a simmer cooking 1-2 hours or until beans reach desired tenderness.
Recipe by: Tiffany Haugen