Monday, August 30, 2010
With Labor Day weekend coming up and the summers last hurrah, I couldn't think of a better item to put on the grill than a meaty slab of BBQ ribs! Here's a little rib trivia for you..... Back Ribs or Baby Backs are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, below the loin muscle. The designation "baby" indicates the cuts are from market weight hogs, rather than sows. What ever type of ribs you choose is up to you, but my favorite is the St. Louis Style rib. Cut from the spare rib and usually from bigger hogs, they are meatier and with a little more fat, I like the way they cook up on my smoker. Just warning you, this might seem like a pain the the ass but it really is not and SO worth the effort.
I will share the way I smoke my ribs and finish them before they are served. First things first, place your ribs on a cutting board meat side down showing the inside of the ribs. The membrane on the ribs needs to be removed. Take a pairing knife and cut up under the membrane on the corner to start removing it. When you get enough to hold on to, grab it with a paper towel or rag and pull it off the ribs and with any luck it will all come off in one piece, if not repeat the process until it is peeled off. Now the ribs are ready to be rubbed. There are many different rubs on the market or you can make your own. Here are some common ingredients in rubs for pork. Usually the base spice is paprika and if you like your ribs a little spicy you can add a little cayenne pepper. I like brown sugar in my rub as well as salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, ect..... The list goes on and on. After the ribs are rubbed I refrigerate them at least 4 hours, I prefer overnight. Don't forget to soak your wood chips that night as well.
The next day prepare your coals and I use a Weber grill and it works awesome. Pile your coals on one side of the grill and place a pan on the other side for water to go in and to catch the fat drippings. Try to keep you fire temperature between 225 and 250 degrees. Place your ribs on the grill over indirect heat, throw a few wood chips on the coals (I prefer hickory wood) and place the lid on you grill. I keep a spray bottle with apple cider to spray on the ribs 4 or 5 times through out the smoking process for flavor and to help keep them moist. Smoke the ribs 3 1/2 to 4 hours (making sure to keep water in your drip pan to keep a moist heat in your grill and remember to add charcoal as well or your fire will go out) or until you can easily pull the ribs apart with your fingers, they should be tender.
To finish your ribs, remove them from your grill to a sheet tray, lift your grate, remove your drip pan and spread your coals out evenly. Place your ribs back on the grill over direct heat and baste with your favorite BBQ sauce then flip them and baste the other side. Let the ribs cook until the sauce caramelizes and flip back to the other side and let that side do the same repeating the process several times. When caramelized and sticky brown they are done. Remove from grill and cut into pieces and serve at once with your favorite sides. Enjoy............
P.S. I can smoke about 300 racks of ribs a day with my smoker at the restaurant so I know you can smoke a couple..... :-)
Posted by Chef Michael Braddock at 9:59 PM