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Heidi Noble
June 16, 2021 | Recipes | Heidi Noble

Father’s Day Tangy Pomegranate, Pink Peppercorn & Zaatar Ribs

This delicious, tangy and exotic rib recipe is perfect for chill’in and grill’in on Father’s Day weekend.  

A perfect pairing for our savoury and tangy PTG, Pinot Noir or quaffable Picnique Rouge!  The zaatar & cumin brings out the earthy & spicy notes in the gamay and the Pinot Noir provides the tangy pairing to the lip-smacking pomegranate glaze. Serve these ribs with lime wedges, toasted pine nuts, a side of saffron rice and a fresh salad for a delicious middle eastern inspired BBQ.

When it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine, many dishes wouldn't be complete without the spice mix called za'atar. Typically, za'atar is a blend of dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and salt, but as with any spice blend that is ancient there are many variations—and plenty of opinions about which is the right proportion for each ingredient. While you can purchase premade za'atar, you can also easily make your own at home. You may be amazed at how such a simple mixture is packed with big flavors: the sumac brings a citrus taste, oregano a slight bitterness, and marjoram a hint of sweetness. Overall, za'atar has a tangy and toasty essence. 

Rib dry rub:

  • ½ cup salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp zaatar
  • 1 Tbsp sumac
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp mustard power
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp onion power


  • ½ cup Ketchup or red pepper spread
  • ½ cup Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cup Pomegranate molasses
  • 2 Tbsp Maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
  • Juice and zest of one lime

Rib Topper:

  • 2 Tbsp crushed pink peppercorns
  • 2 Tbsp zaatar
  • Zest of one lime


1. Prepare the ribs and rub: Remove the thin, papery skin from the back of each rack of ribs by pulling it off in a sheet with your fingers, using the corner of a kitchen towel to gain a secure grip, or with pliers.

2. Combine the rub spices in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle and finely grind. Whisk the mix in a small bowl. Rub two thirds of this mixture over the ribs on both sides, then transfer the ribs to a roasting pan. Cover and let cure, in the refrigerator, for 4 to 8 hours.

3. Prepare the glaze. Mix together all ingredients and set aside.

4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and place a large drip pan in the center, to finish the ribs.  If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium or when ready to cook the ribs, pre-heat bbq grill to 275 C and wrap ribs tightly in foil to make a steam-packet.   Let ribs cook slowly for 3-4 hours until almost falling off of the bone.  This is the first cook.  (This process can also be done in the oven at low heat 275 C for 3-4 hours in the same foil pack.)

5. When ribs are cooked, unwrap the foil pack or take off of the bbq. Brush the ribs with the first coat of glaze and put ribs on the top rack of the bbq to finish cooking at a medium-high heat. Turn off one side of the bbq to create indirect convection heat.  

6. After 15 min re-glaze the ribs. The glaze will slowly start to lacquer. Check ribs frequently to make certain the glaze is not burning, rather, getting tacky and sticky and then eventually will form a delicious “bark” and will get smoky if using charcoal.

6. Fifteen minutes before the ribs are done, season them with the zaatar and pink peppercorn mix , sprinkling it on.  Leaving a little to garnish the serving platter.

7. To serve, cut the racks in half or, for effect, just leave them whole.  Sprinkle with remaining zaatar mix and lime wedges.


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