Have you ever wondered what it takes to make smoked barbecue ribs? Better yet, how to make delicious ribs at home? If so, then wonder no more. Cooking smoked barbecued ribs sounds like a very daunting task to undertake, but with a little time and patience, making great ribs is easier to achieve; wood chips must be prepared, ribs bought and prepared, the grill fired up for smoking, and then the smoking commences. Go down to the local hardware store to purchase the wood chips and wood for smoking. It is also necessary to purchase a two-gallon white plastic paint pail with a handle. This is for the wood chips, later on in this process.
There are many different types of woods to choose from to smoke ribs: apple, cherry, maple, oak, and pecan. All work very well for the task, and each adds a unique taste to the ribs. Only two woods give the unique flavor that most are looking for, mesquite and hickory. They are the most commonly used woods. When that the right wood has been selected, buy a small bag of wood chips to match the one wood selected. The reason for this is simple; no one wants to have competing flavors on the ribs. If too much hickory or mesquite gets used, it can overpower the meat flavor of the ribs.
Therefore, to combat this, purchase some apple juice. Empty the wood chips into the painter’s pail, and add the apple juice to soak. Leave them alone until later on in the process. The next important step is to decide what type of ribs to purchase. Head down to the local grocery store with a butcher on duty, or to the local butcher shop. The butchers are there to help so do not be afraid to ask questions. Consider the number of guests. If necessary ribs come by the case, which can hold about eight to twelve slabs of ribs, depending on the weight. With so many different kinds of ribs to choose from, narrow it down o the main ones everyone loves.
They are spare ribs and loin back ribs. The spare ribs come from the pig’s belly, have little more fat (which adds to the flavor), and are cheaper than the next type. Loin back ribs are from the pigs’ loin. (Just above the pelvis and below the rib cage) They have a lot less fat on them, and they are a little tenderer to eat. This makes them cost a lot more than the first type of ribs. Baby back ribs are not a type of ribs, so do not get confused.
This is a term used to describe the size and weight of a loin back ribs. St. Louis Style is also just a term used to describe the way the meat’s been cut. This is why the butcher is important; he can help answer many of the questions one might have. He can also cut ribs any way needed. This will help save time in later steps. With the right ribs selected, it is time to prepare the ribs for marinating. Open the package of ribs and place the first one on a cutting board. Trim away the excess fat from the edges, and throw the fat away. However, fat equals flavor; do not cut off all of the flavor. The next step is a little tricky. Flip the ribs over, bone side up.
Starting on the left side, work the knife under the membrane (the membrane is a lining on the belly side, from the bottom to the top of the spinal column) and cut it all off. This will take some time, but with practice, it will get easier. The membrane will cause the ribs to not cook on one side. Therefore, it is very important to remove it. Next, wash the ribs off thoroughly under cold water, and place them on a large pan until the next step. Make the marinade; it consists of 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/2 cup water, 4 Tbsp. prepared yellow mustard, 3 Tbsp. olive, or peanut oil, 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. chili powder, and 1 Tbsp. ayenne pepper, for that kick.
Double or triple the ingredients for more slabs of ribs. For this recipe only works for two slabs of ribs. This marinade is great to use as a mop for the ribs while they are on the smoker, to keep them from drying out while they cook. The mop is a four-inch long wooden mop that looks like the big one in the kitchen. It is used to spread the marinade on the ribs evenly. Now it is time to apply the rub. Some like to make it from scratch, but I prefer to use Stubb’s Rub from the grocery store. There are many different ones to choose, try some of them out to see which one works best.
Squeeze yellow mustard directly onto each slab of ribs, and then rub it all over them until there is a thin layer. Don’t worry the mustard will cook off. Now rub the Stubb’s all over, covering every inch, front, and back. Now get a new kitchen trash bag and place the ribs inside, then add the marinade. Close the bag and place it in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. The longer the ribs marinate the better. Start the fire. There are two types of fires one cooks with, direct fire, which is a flame that comes through grill and heats the meat. Or indirect, which means the fire never touches the meat just the smoke.
The latter of the two is the one we will use for this process. Start it the same way anyone would start a grill up for any barbecue, add charcoal to the bottom of the smoker, and spread the briquettes evenly across. Then apply lighter fluid, not to much, then light and stand back! It may take some more charcoal and lighter fluid to get the fire just right. Once the bed of coals continues to burn evenly, now it is time to add the apple juice soaked wood chips. To do this, just drain all of the juice out of the bucket. Just add the soaked apple wood chips by hand.
A white smoke will start to rise, then continue to add chips until to bottom of the grill is all the way covered. Close the lid to the grill and wait until it gets to the right temperature. The goal is to get the temperature any where between 250 degrees and 300 degrees. All that is needed is to maintain that temperature throughout the cooking process. Last, but not least is to cook the ribs. Now this is the most time consuming steps of the whole process. Take the ribs from the refrigerator while the fire is prepared. This will help the ribs come down to room temperature.
If the meat placed on to the grill to soon, it can take longer to cook. The best way to place the meat on the grill using rib racks, they are stainless steel holders that stands the ribs on edge. They are sold online or at a place, that sells outdoor cooking equipment. Each rack holds about 3 to 4 slabs depending on the size of the racks. They are perfect for keeping the ribs away from flames. This will also cut down the meat from charring. The first 30 minuets are essential to keeping the ribs from drying out; this is when you apply your marinade with the mop. You must keep this up until the ribs form a crust that will seal in the juices.
Now just keep cooking the ribs low and slow. On one should rush perfection. The whole process can take any where form 4 to 6 hours, or more depending on the number of slabs. The fire may flare up from time to time. Just be ready to add more soaked wood chip, or beat back the flames with a spray water bottle. After cooking for more than five hours, now it is time to check if the ribs are ready. To do this, use the thongs to pick the ribs up in the middle of the slab, if the ribs start to bend down they are ready. If the ribs do not bend down then they need more time.
Also, use a thermometer to check the temperature of the ribs. To check this, stick the thermometer between the ribs of the slab. This will help ensure that the ribs were cooked all the way. Once complete the ribs should fall off the bone. Now just add barbecue sauce and serve. Enjoy! Just sit back and watch everyone devourer the tasty creation that was made out of hard labor. If these five steps are followed one can enjoy one of the summers favorite food Ribs! No one likes to make them, but everyone love to eat. If time and patience was a part of the process, they will come back for more.
Courtney from Study Moose
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