Secrets to Great BBQ Ribs Recipes
* Use quality meat
* Remove membrane & trim
* Use a great rub, baste and sauce
* Apply rub then refrigerate 2-12 hours
* Be patient, low-slow cooking 3-6 hours
* Use spray to keep them moist
* Apply sauce at the end - on the side
BBQ Pork Ribs
There are a lot of ways to prepare barbecue pork ribs. Traditionally real BBQ style ribs are rubbed then cooked in a BBQ smoker "low & slow" using indirect heat for 3-6 hours. Boiling, baking, broiling and even grilling won't give you ribs with the same high quality as "low & slow" barbecue.
Selecting Pork Ribs
There are 2 main cuts of of pork ribs:
1. Spareribs, side ribs or "St. Louis Style" ribs come from the rib section of the pig. "St. Louis Style" spare ribs are what you typically find in restaurants, long & thin with a good amount of meat. Generally most pit masters recommend the "St. Louis" cut because they are easier to work with and you get more meat per bone.
2. Back ribs, also called Canadian or Baby Back Ribs come from the loin portion or back of the pig and are just as good as spare ribs when rubbed then smoked for 3-6 hours.
Prepping (Membrane and Trimming)
To prepare your rack of ribs you should start by removing the membrane from the inside or bottom of the ribs. This is a tough skin like material that blocks flavors from getting into the meat. To remove the membrane, lay the rack down so the ribs curve up on the ends. With a sharp knife gently cut under the membrane on one corner until you have enough to grab. Now take a paper towel and grab hold of the membrane. Gently pull it back. With any luck you should be able to get most of it off in a single shot. Otherwise continue until the membrane is gone. Now you can trim off any loose pieces from the rack and you are ready to apply your rub.
Most rib rubs usually start with a paprika base. This gives a nice color and tends to make up the bulk of most rubs. From here you should decide if you want a sweet, hot, or savory flavor. If you want sweet, add brown sugar or cinnamon. If you want hot use more cayenne, chili flakes or black pepper. Other ingredients can be garlic, onion, sage, seasoned salt, and any other herb you enjoy. Spice List
Remember that the rub should be an addition to the flavor of the ribs and not overpowering.
Tip: Use the same basic flavors of your rub in any mop or sauce you intend to add later.
BBQ Rub Recipes
Let the Rub Marinate the Ribs
Allow the ribs to absorb the rub for 2-14 hours in the refrigerator. An hour or two will be enough for the flavors to start to sink in - overnight would be the best.
Getting Ready to Cook
In the meanwhile you can prepare your smoker for cooking.
Cooking - Heat
Aim for a BBQ-smoking temperature between 225 - 240° F for 3-6 hours.
The finished (internal) temperature of your ribs should be between 165-175° F.
Check the meat between the bones with a good thermometer for doneness.
The rib meat should easily tug off the bone and have a firm but tender consistency.
Contrary to what is believed rib meat should not fall off the bone or be soft and mushy.
When the ribs are removed from the smoker wrap in aluminum foil, place in a brown paper bag and let rest for 10-20 minutes. This helps the ribs become even more tender.
Cooking - Moisture
During the time the ribs are cooking-smoking you will want to baste or spray the ribs every hour with some liquid to help keep the moisture in the ribs.
Recipe: The best way to make this baste-spray is to take some of the same rub you used earlier and mix it with a little vinegar and enough water to make it thin. BBQ Baste & Spray Recipes
When smoking ribs you will want to turn them every hour for proper smoke and heat distribution. This is a good time to baste or spray the ribs so the liquid can remain on the top side. Baste lightly so as not to disturb too much of the rub. If you hold the right smoker temperature your ribs should be cooked through in 2-4 hours. The additional time the ribs are left in the smoker will allow the fats and connective tissues in the ribs to break down and tenderize the ribs. In some restaurants ribs are mopped with a sauce and finished off on the grill before serving.
Cooking - Smoking
Select a smoke wood that has flavor but doesn't overpower. For instance, if you want to use mesquite, use it in very small amounts. If you want a sweeter flavor to your ribs choose a fruit wood like apple or cherry, otherwise pick something that gives a classic taste like oak or hickory.
Most barbecue is not coated with sauce. Sauce is served on the table with ribs. However if you enjoy barbecue sauces then you can brush it over the ribs shortly before you remove them from the smoker. People will warn you that sugary sauces burn, but at these low temperatures that won't be a problem. Giving time for the sauce to cook on the surface of the ribs will allow it to caramelize a little and cook into the ribs. When serving on the side warm it first so you won't be dipping your hot ribs in cold sauce.
BBQ Sauce Recipes
BBQ Beef Ribs
Beef spare ribs are taken from the belly side of the cattle's rib cage above the sternum (breast bone). Beef spare ribs tend to be longer, wider, and sometimes more curved than their pork counterparts, and are cut from the prime rib rump, of which the thicker boneless part becomes the ribeye steak, and the upper tips of the ribs are then cut off and become short ribs.
Beef Ribs are great for barbecue. Prepare and cook beef ribs like pork ribs. Smoke low and slow to get a tender and tasty treat. Use a sweet or savory (beef brisket) rub, and complimentary sauce. Beef ribs are easy to prepare and delicious to eat. The biggest challenge with beef ribs is smoking them long enough to melt away all the connective tissues. Beef Ribs can take longer, but for the amount of meat and taste you get its well worth the effort.
BBQ Beef Ribs Recipe
Pork Ribs Recipe
BBQ Pulled Pork
BBQ Dry Rub Recipes
The 10 Secrets of Championship BBQ
How-To-BBQ - Watch videos on how to prepare meat & BBQ recipes.
BBQ Restaurant Tour - Watch video tours of BBQ Restaurants across North America.