My parents came to DC this weekend and my father loves to barbecue. So I decided to go to restaurant depot and grab some ribs. The ribs at the depot are amazing. They are cheap, they are untrimmed, and they are meaty. Remember to ask your butcher at your local supermarket for untrimmed meat when you barbecue. The fat protects, seasons, and keeps the meat moist. Since my fingers were quite messy from the rub at the beginning of cooking and quite saucy at the end of cooking I am limited on pics. But I cleaned up at times to get some delicious pictures.
- Ribs – baby back or spare ribs (I like spare ribs as you get more meat to work with)
- Rub – use your favorite or try the general one from my pulled pork post.
- Apple Juice
- Barbecue Sauce
- Case of Beer
Ribs can be done many ways but smoked over hickory and apple takes the cake. First things first start your fire. For a quick reference to starting a fire click here.
Next open your ribs up from their package and wash them. I like to rinse them under cold water and clean the blood from them. Next I remove the silver skin. If you ask around, every single barbecuer has a different take on the silver skin. I have found that the ribs are more tender and get a better smoke ring if you remove the silver skin. To remove the silver skin use a pairing knife to get under one end and slowly pull. If you are as lucky as I was it will all come off in one piece. Since my hands were all slimy from rinsing the ribs I failed to take a photo of removing the silver skin. But I have an illustration and photo below of spare ribs with the silver skin removed.
Next dry the ribs with a towel or heavy duty paper towels. The cheap paper towels stick to the ribs and just make it plain ole hard to remove. Then dust with your favorite rub. I use a pizza shaker to apply my rub, but you can use an old spice bottle. My father helped me out. As you can see from the pictures, he is good at applying rub.
Let the meat sit for 15-20 minutes before you add it to the smoker. This allows the rub to set for a bit so that it does not fall off when you transfer it to the smoker.
Once you have your fire going, adjust your airflow in your smoker so that it hovers around 250 degrees. Once you have a steady temperature add your ribs. Let cook for 2-3 hours or approximately 5-7 beers.
After having 5-7 beers you should be ready to flip the ribs. The rub should be set so you don’t have to worry about it falling off. Once you have flipped the ribs baste with the apple juice using a mop or a clean spray bottle.
I usually baste the ribs every 30 minutes until they are done. This should take approximately 2.5-3 hours from this point, or 4-6 beers.
Once they are cooked you can glaze them with sauce or serve them dry with sauce on the side. I like my ribs glazed with sauce. To do this remove the ribs from the grill and start a fire in the main compartment of the cooker. To properly glaze the ribs you need direct heat. Once you have the fire going in the main compartment allow the grates to heat up and then place the ribs bone side down over the heat. Sauce the top with your favorite barbecue sauce and cook for 2-3 minutes. The sauce is sweet so it carmelizes very quickly. Flip the ribs and sauce the bottom. Grill for 2-3 minutes more. Then flip one last time, sauce the top and close the lid. Wait 2 more minutes and remove from the grill and wrap in aluminum foil as you bring them to the table.
I prefer to cut the ribs before placing them on the table, that way they are easy to serve. I also like to serve this with potato salad, baked beans and coleslaw (I need to write a post on coleslaw, if anyone has a good recipe let me know).
I failed to take a picture of the ribs plated as they didn’t last that long, sorry. They pulled right off the bone and were amazing. Nothing beats a perfectly cooked rack of ribs.