Ribs, Ribs and More Ribs!
When I hear the expression “the meat just falls off the bone” I start walking the other way…what it says to me is that the ribs are way over done…and, while I still have my own teeth, I do enjoy gnawing on the bones and sucking the juices from the little tiny morsels still clinging on, trying to stay away from my rapidly encroaching incisors ..…I like my ribs moist with some shrinkage from the bone, where the juices drip from the meat if you were to gently squeeze it between your fingers…
Select the type of ribs you prefer, either Baby Back or St. Louis style…I am a St Louie guy personally. Just old-fashioned I guess, but have never turned down a baby back either as long as the meat wasn’t falling of the bone!!!
Prep the ribs…rinse and pat dry, remove the silver skin from the backside and trim off any excess fat…..
Choose your favorite rub…if you don’t have one, use the Big Green Eggs recipe -http://www.biggreenegg.com/bigtime.html - then select your mopping sauce or BBQ sauce. If you are going to use a rub, be sure to let the ribs sit overnight in a large gallon sized freezer bag… the really ginormous ones. They are great for a number of racks with no problem. If you are electing to use a mopping sauce, then same would apply, allowing the meat to absorb all those great flavors…..
Prep the Green Egg or your barbi, and give it a thorough cleaning…With the Green Egg, clean out the ashes, removing bowl and collar. It is extremely important that this be done on a regular basis to maximize the cooking effectiveness and venting/air flow of the Green Egg, Weber or similar charcoal grill. Ribs cook directly, so you will need the place setter for the Green Egg or offset your smoking area away from the charcoal on other charcoal grills…. Add enough lump hardwood to fill bowl at least 2/3-rds full with a smoke chip mix of your choice. On Weber style grills, I add several lumps at a time, keeping the coals low during the cooking process.
Choose your smoke chips…apple, hickory, maple, mesquite, alder…whatever smoke you are trying to achieve. With ribs, I prefer the combo of hickory and apple…I will add maple at times. Alder is great with fish and apple with poultry. Personally, my wife (Jennifer) and I can’t stand mesquite…Jennifer refers to it as sheep dip…a good likeness in my opinion…Its right up there with fennel, yet another flavor we don’t enjoy…. Remember to soak the chips in water for at least 30 minutes prior to putting in the Green Egg, mix well with charcoal so you generate an even flow of smoke throughout the smoking process…
Always smoke with some liquid in a pan under your meats… It produces a moist smoke especially when smoking over long periods of time, so the meat will not dry out. With ribs or most pork products, I use apple juice concentrate and water, putting a good amount on the bottom – roughly 2″, add water or juice as necessary. Put pan on place setter followed by grilling grate, as shown. Get yourself a pan that you can dedicate as your drip pan… This process will take its toll and you don’t want ruin a nice one, as I have discovered the hard way.
the trick is a great rub and/or sauce cooking with smoke, at a temp low and slow, slow, slow…..
Whether you’re cooking just two racks,
or multiple racks, requiring flipping every 30 minutes or so…for even cooking/smoking and a bit more cooking time:
When desired meat tenderness is reached, take off the grill, cover and let rest for 20 minutes, then slice them up, baste and enjoy!
…cooking with passion and reaching out of the box….