Best Grilling Recipes ever
Summary. This is the recipe for making the best barbecue ribs you ever tasted. They are marinated in a dry rub, then smoked low and slow, the sauce is added near the end and sizzled on. Just like the champion pitmasters and the best ribjoints do it. Recipe Type. Entree. Tags. bbq, barbecue, ribs, smoking, grilling, bbq ribs.
Pork ribs are the holy grail. Mastering them marks the difference between the tyro, pyro, and pitmaster.
If you boil ribs the terrorists win
"Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire." Exodus 12:9
A lot of folks boil their ribs before grilling them and slathering on the sauce. The concept comes from Eastern Europe where Poles and Czechs prepare ribs by simmering them in water with cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and caraway seed, making a very nice pork stew.
But water is a solvent. It pulls much of the flavor out of the meat, and it can make the meat mushy. When you boil meat and bones, you make a rich flavorful soup. All that color in the pot is flavor that you can never get back into the meat. Boil meat too much and water can even dry it out by causing the proteins to contract and squeeze the moisture out of the muscle fibers.
People talk wistfully about meat that falls off the bone, but if it does, it has probably been boiled and denuded of its best flavors. What they're really loving is the unctuous barbecue sauce. That's why McRibs are so popular. They're just ground pork swimming in sweetened ketchup mixed with liquid smoke and some other flavors. Classic Southern ribs have the same mouthfeel and bite as a tender juicy steak and most important, they taste like pork, not just sauce. They tug off the bone rather than fall off the bone.
If you are really really in a hurry, you are better off steaming or microwaving them and then finishing them on the grill or under the broiler.
Know your ribs
The jargon butchers use to name different rib cuts can be confusing. Baby backs lie near the spine. Spareribs attach to them and run all the way down to the chest. St. Louis Cut ribs are spareribs that have had the rib tips removed. Country ribs are really not ribs at all, they are chops and should be cooked very differently. Click here for a complete description of all rib cuts.
1) Don't skip the rub.
2) Don't skip the wood.
3) Don't cook over direct heat and don't cook hotter than 275°F.
4) Don't take them off until they're ready.
5) Don't eat too many!
Beware of double salt jeopardy!
(for the cook, not the meat)
1 good book and plenty of tunes
. That's 1/2 slab per adult. If you use baby back ribs, get a whole slab per adult. You'll probably have leftovers, but what's wrong with that? SLCs are the meatiest and most flavorful ribs. They are spareribs with the tips removed so they form a nice rectangular rack. You can use baby back ribs if you prefer. They are smaller and cook faster. Country ribs come from the shoulder and are not really ribs, so don't use them for this recipe. Get fresh, not frozen meat if possible. Fresh meat has the best pork flavor and the most moisture. Ever notice the pink liquid when you defrost meat? You can't get that back into the meat, so buy fresh meat whenever possible. Ask the butcher to remove the membrane on the back side.
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of meat
1 cup of your signature homemade barbecue sauce or a good commercial barbecue sauce
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
1) Rinse. Rinse the ribs in cool water to remove any bone bits from the butchering and any bacterial film that grew in the package (don't worry, cooking will sterilize the meat).
2) Skin 'n' trim. If the butcher has not removed the membrane from the under side, do it yourself. It gets leathery and hard to chew, it keeps fat in, and it keeps sauce out. Insert a butter knife under the membrane, then your fingers, work a section loose, grip it with a paper towel, and peel it off. Finally, trim the excess fat from both sides. If you can't get the skin off, with a sharp knife, cut slashes through it every inch so some of the fat will render out during the cooking. Click here to see more photos of how to skin 'n' trim.
3) Salt. Salt is important. Even if you are watching your salt intake, a little salt really helps. It penetrates deep and amplifies flavor. It helps proteins retain moisture. And it helps with bark, the desired crust on the top formation. If you can, give the salt 1 to 2 hours to be absorbed. The process of salting in advance is called dry brining. The rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound of meat, but ribs are about 50% meat, so use about 1/4 teaspoon per pound. You can simply eyeball it by sprinkling on the same amount of salt you would sprinkle on the ribs if they were served to you unsalted. If time permits, get the salt on about 1 to 2 hours before cooking.
4) Rub. Then coat the meat with a thin layer of water. The water helps dissolve the spices. Sprinkle enough Meathead's Memphis Dust to coat all surfaces but not so much that the meat doesn't show through. That is about 2 tablespoons per side depending on the size of the slab. Spread the Memphis Dust on the meat and rub it in. Some folks insist on putting the rub on the night before, but it isn't necessary.
6) Adjust the temp. Preheat your cooker to about 225°F and try to keep it there throughout the cook. This is crucial: You can absolutely positively noway nohow rely on bi-metal dial thermometers. Even if you spent a fortune on your grill they mount unreliable thermometers on them. If you are not monitoring your cooker with a good digital oven thermometer, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Using a dial thermometer is like trying to send email with a typewriter. Click here to read my buyer's guide to thermometers.