Ribs are the holy grail of barbequing and if you can get those right you can barbeque anything, or so they say. Make sure you buy good quality ribs. The best way to ensure you get these is to make friends with your butcher. Buying spareribs is easy because you get all the meat on the pig, but baby back ribs are cut from the loin meat by your butcher who can leave a lot of meat on or substantially less, which is why you should be very nice to your new friend!
Perhaps he is willing to custom-cut the baby back ribs off a bone-in rib roast and leave extra meat on them. You might have to pay more, especially if he is extending the cut another inch out, but it is worth it. Something else you can do is buy the whole bone-in rib roast and get your friendly butcher to take off the baby backs with half an inch of meat on them. The loin meat you are left with can be roasted some other time.
In Eastern Europe it is common to simmer ribs in water with potatoes, carrots, cabbage and caraway seed, to make a stew. There is a problem with this though – water is a solvent. It pulls the flavor out of the meat and gives it a mushy temperature. Boiling meat is fine if you are planning to make soup but if you do not want the proteins to contract and squeeze the muscle fibers free of moisture, do not simmer or boil them first. If you are in a rush you can microwave or steam your ribs then finish them off under the broiler or on the barbeque.
Pork ribs require long, slow, indirect grilling, if you wish to create that rich barbeque flavor. You can choose between St Louis cut ribs and baby back ribs for the following recipe. St Louis cut ribs are tastier and have more meat on them which baby backs cook faster because they are smaller. Both kinds are capable of barbequing to the meat-falling-off-the-bone standard and they will be juicy and richly flavored because of the rub, smokiness of the barbeque and added juice and sauce. There is a bit of work that goes into this recipe but the results will be well worth it. First you need to clean the ribs and take off the membrane if it is not already off, then you should apply a rub and let the ribs sit in the refrigerator for a while to soak in the flavors. Overnight is great if you are planning this ahead, else give them a few hours. If you are short on time then omit this step.
Cook the ribs for a while indirectly and then add apple juice to the foil packets, but do not pour it over the ribs because it will wash the rub off. The ribs are finished off with BBQ sauce, and you can use any brand or variety you prefer, and allowed to crisp up over the hottest part of the barbeque for that crispy outside which is so good on ribs. Serve these with potato salad, onion rings, corn on the cob, or anything else you happen to like with your ribs. This recipe would probably stretch to four people but the ribs are so good it makes a real feast for two and you will definitely finish them all and lick the bones clean!
- 2 slabs fresh baby back ribs or 1 slab fresh St Louis cut pork ribs
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 4 tablespoons dry BBQ rub
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Rinse the ribs under cold running water and pat dry.
- Remove the membrane from the ribs, if it is still attached.
- Do this by slipping a knife under then working your fingers under there and pulling it off with a paper towel.
- Trim the ribs of any excess fat.
- Coat the meat with oil and sprinkle a couple tablespoons of dry rub on them before rubbing it in.
- Wrap the ribs in a piece of foil and refrigerate for several hours or overnight if you have time.
- Prepare the barbeque for indirect cooking with an indirect and a direct area (a fire build on one side only).
- Try to keep the heat about 225 degrees F, or anywhere between 200 and 250 degrees F.
- Bring the ribs to room temperature.
- Add 4 oz of wood to get some smoke.
- Add the ribs on the cooler part of the barbeque, meatier side upwards and close the lid.
- After 20 minutes, or when the smoking stops, add another 2 oz of wood. Repeat another 2 times.
- If you are cooking more than one slab of ribs, rotate them so the ones closest to the heat are now furthest away.
- You do not need to flip them.
- After 2 hours of cooking (for baby back ribs) or 3 hours (for St Louis cut ones) fold 6 feet of heavy duty foil in half.
- Put the ribs on the foil, meatier side up, and fold the foil up to make a boat.
- Pour in the apple juice but not directly on to the meat.
- Foil the foil around the meat and seal it tight.
- Put the packet on the barbeque for about 45 minutes, then brush the BBQ sauce on the ribs and discard the foil.
- Let the ribs crisp up directly over the hot coals, flipping them halfway through. Have the lid open.
- When they are crispy and cooked to perfection, serve with your preferred side dishes.
- Have some napkins handy.
Just look at the color of these. These ribs are so flavorful and moist you will want to cook ribs this way in the future. This recipe might also make you critical of anyone else’s ribs since you cannot get moister or tastier than this, so expect to be spoiled for life by this excellent recipe. Knowing how to make juicy pork ribs separates the barbeque wannabes from the barbeque masters, and once you are comfortable making ribs you can expect all your barbequed food to taste exquisite. Plan this the day beforehand if you can, so the ribs can sit in the dry rub overnight, then get busy making tasty side dishes to serve with the ribs.
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