26 Aug Best BBQ Ribs – What’s the Story?
How to make the Best BBQ or Smoked Ribs in your neighborhood. This is not a step by step barbeque recipe or a “how to make bbq ribs in an hour guide” but rather some simple tips to help you improve the taste of your barbeque and smoked ribs.
Cooking and smoking BBQ ribs is an all day affair that takes planning and patience which is well worth the time as you will learn as you enjoy the results. Barbeque ribs are prepared by millions of people every year and mastered by only a few. All backyard cooks claim to have the best recipes, secrets and techniques for cooking barbeque ribs. When these backyard cooks put on their cooking aprons and are armed with off the shelf bbq sauces and cooking utensils, it’s time for everyone else in the family to get out of their way.
These “Weekend BBQ Warriors” make concoctions of sauces, dry rubs, spices and any ingredient imaginable to signature their recipes to continue the family tradition of “Barbeque Gone Bad”. Little do these once a month cooks know about bbq ribs and understanding the correct way of releasing the flavor from the combination of smoke and meat.
Basically there are two styles of pork ribs – baby back ribs and spare ribs. The baby back ribs are cut closer to the spine, are shorter and more curved than spare ribs which are wider, flat and cut from the stomach area. Baby back ribs do cook faster and have less meat than the larger spare rib. The first thing to do to the ribs is remove the thin membrane on the back side of the ribs, this will allow the seasoning and smoke get into the meat. From this point on the next step depends upon how you are going to season the ribs. If you are going to use a dry rub now is the time to do apply, if you are going to marinate that can also be done now. If you use a dry rub apply it all over the ribs totally covering and this should be done the night before. If you marinate this can be done the night before also or just a few hours prior to cooking.
Some old legends about barbequing should be left behind and some new methods applied to better your barbequing. Many people believe that boiling the ribs before barbequing is the correct way. Wrong. Think of what you are doing, you are essentially making pork soup stock and draining the meat of all of its flavor.
Would you boil a chicken before barbequing it? Absolutely not. Others believe the secret is to bathe or smother the ribs in BBQ sauce in the refrigerator for hours or a day ahead of cooking, Wrong.
BBQ sauces should be brushed on during the last 15 – 30 minutes of cooking and if you are using a smoker, brush on the sauce after the smoking. As with barbequing all meats and fish, the sauces absorb the best while the meat is cooking. Marinating is not the same as applying bbq sauce. Marinates are usually much thinner consistency usually containing vinegar and spices which will penetrate the meat to give additional flavor. Another old legend – the ribs must be burnt to be good, Wrong.
The only way to get the meat tender enough to fall off the bone is by slow cooking or smoking at a low temperature of 200 to220 degrees. When smoking pork be careful not to cook at too low a temperature or leave the meat out in room temperature for more than 2 hours as this can cause bacteria to grow very fast.
If you are using a gas grill you may only need to use one burner on low as to maintain 220 cooking temperature. If you want to flavor the meat by smoking use the wood of your choice, hickory and mesquite are the most popular and available at most stores that sell charcoal.
Before you start to cook take the pieces of wood and soak in water for about one hour before hand. Some people just take the dry wood chips and put them into the fire and this is the wrong way to smoke. Take the wet pieces of wood and wrap in tin foil and place it in the burner area below the grates. The wood needs to smolder and smoke not be in the direct flames to catch fire and burn. When using a regular grill for smoking it is harder to contain the smoke inside and there is no place to put the liquids pan as in a true smoker grill. Lift the lid as little as possible and use a thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
There are many different methods for cooking this way and the cook time will vary, plan on cooking time to be 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours at a minimum.