Let's talk Ribs

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Sep 16, 2010.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    How do you like your ribs?  Pork or beef?  Do you rub them, steam them, smoke them, grill them, roast them, mop them or braise them?

    My favorite cut is the spare rib.  I know they're less meaty than the baby backs but they're also more flavorful by leaps and bounds.  I don't remove the tough membrane on the back of the bone, I know it doesn't let seasoning and flavors penetrate through that side but somehow I think it keeps the ribs moist.  I don't like sauces or sweetness either so I rub them with olive oil, lemon, oregano, and salt/pepper.  Chargrill them to begin with and then put the cover on, low and slow for about 45-60 minutes.  I baste occasionally with lemon.  The meat still clings to the bone and it's a feast!
     
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    For me it's mostly pork---spare ribs rather than baby backs.

    I always remove the membrane, and sometimes that flap of meat (forget what it's called) as well. The rack is liberally rubbed with my dry rub mix, and allowed to rest at room temp for at least an hour.

    Ribs are then slow smoked: 225-250F for 2-2 1/2 hours, depending on thickness. Time isn't as important as their "retreat from the bone" state. They then get brushed with barbecue sauce and cooked another half hour.

    Once off the grill they are allowed to rest, wrapped in foil.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  3. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    KY do you like them to fall off the bone?  A lot of people seem to want that.

    A friend swears by boiling first and then smoking.  I don't like them so much, they taste... boiled.

    Have you ever tried making beef ribs like pork ribs?  I mean the really long flintstone looking ribs.
     
  4. buckeye_hunter

    buckeye_hunter

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    Love ribs!

    They have been the subject of some unscientific testing this summer on my backyard patio.

    I just bought a case of STL cut ribs, which can have a little less meat than bb's, but more flavor.  STL's don't have the flap of meat and tendons that accompany full-cut spare ribs which I never know quite what to do with.  It generally becomes a treat for  the dog.  I think I prefer STL over bb's, although, when cut right, bb's can have just the right amount of meat.  My kids prefer bb's.  I think they like the flavor of the BBQ sauce as much the pork...

    I do remove the membrane.

    When I really want to "wow", I smoke rubbed ribs in my Big Green Egg for no more than an hour.  I don't want to risk drying them out and I don't think ribs absorb much more smoke after an hour.  I prefer applewood for ribs.

    Then I slather them in Mississippi BBQ sauce (made in my hometown) and wrap them in foil to cook for another hour or so on my Holland Grill, which is little more than an outside oven, a steady 350 indirect heat.  (I then use the BGE to grill veggies.)  This is similar to a Texas Crutch many use to BBQ pulled pork.  After an hour I check to see if the meat has "retreated from the bone" (nice description KYH).  If so, I place on the grill for just a couple minutes to dry the moisture off the surface of the meat, then reslather with BBQ until it blisters a bit and they are nearly "fall off the bone."

    I made 16 racks of ribs over Labor Day weekend.  Delivered them to freinds and the guys in blue at the PD.  Lots of great compliments made the long day worthwhile.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2010
  5. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    If you were a true friend you would not let that happen.
     
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  6. buckeye_hunter

    buckeye_hunter

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif"Friends Don't Let Friends Boil Ribs"/img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif
     
     
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  7. maryb

    maryb

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    Spares, untrimmed (I like to pick the meat on the ends). Remove membrane, rub, and onto the smoker at 225-275 until they start to bend easy. Ribs falling off the bone are overdone in my book. I never foil either. For beef I order a really meaty cut from the local grocery store. 3-4 bones and 2-3 inches of meat on them. Peel membrane, heavy coat of rub, onto the pit at the same temps as spares. These are done when the internal temp hits 195. One bone per person of the beef ribs is usually enough!
     
  8. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    KY do you like them to fall off the bone?  A lot of people seem to want that.

    Yes, a lot of people seem to want them falling off the bone. Or say they do. I prefer a little tooth to mine; that is, the meat should stay in place until you bite into it, and then it sort of peels off. To me, maffling off the bone connotes ribs that are overcooked.

    If you look at a cooked rib you'll notice, at the end of the bone, that the meat has pulled away. What I call retreating from the bone. When the meat has retreated about 1/4 inch or so it's usually done.

    A friend swears by boiling first

    My folks made them that way. The idea is that they take less time to cook. If you're talking about two-step cooking (that is, boil them, say, today, pop them on the grill or under the broiler tomorrow) that might be true---at least for the final cooking. But total time, I believe, remains close enough to being the same. However, boiling leaches away most of the flavor, in my opinion. So I haven't boiled a rib in more than 45 years.
     
  9. bhtoad

    bhtoad

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    I've always done pork, but will probably try beef soon.  I like standard spare ribs.  Usually leave them untrimmed, but I cut the rack in half so it fits on the grill easier.  I use a home made dry rub and let it sit overnight in the fridge.  Let them come up to room temperature and smoke over apple chips soaked in cider at 275 for about 2 hours, or until they are flexible and pulled back from the bone.  I usually mop.  All kinds of stuff in the mop, depending on my mood and ingredients at hand. 

    Never tried foil, but a friend of mine who grills and smokes almost everything he eats, swears by it.  (No salads at his house!)

    I've usually fallen back on some commercial sauce for the last 15 minutes of cooking and more on the side, but the last time I smoked ribs I made a home made bbq sauce I saw in a Steve R. book.  Came out so much better.  Got me thinking of coming up with a couple of sauce recipes, but that's another thread... 

    I love the way they come out tasting, but the real compliment is how often friends and family request them for birthday parties and get togethers.
     
  10. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I am guilty of steaming the ribs first. I do believe that they lose some flavor in the process, however it affords me knowing that they are then almost idiot proof. They also shed a lot of grease. I then put on grill for a short time so they do not overcook, but get that grilled taste.

    I like a sauce called Sweet Baby Ray and have never had a complaint with it. I used to make my own but Rays is good if not better, and price wise is real close to the sauce I made. 
     
  11. keithocanada

    keithocanada

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    Hi Folks,

     No boil ribs...I just don't have the stones to try to cook 'em on my gas BBQ only. I usually rub 'em the night before, foil 'n boil ( 1/2 C water, minced garlic whole peppercorns) for 1 1/2 hrs. @ 325, then throw them on medium heat on my 'Q'...slopping often. They really are yummy, not fallin' off the bone so much but I like to see the bite mark.

     So - here's the thing, last weekend I took my rubbed ribs to my Sister's place and her hubby just got a beauty coal BBQ, with adjustable rack for coals...this is the first time I have finished them on real coals and they were the best by far. Now that the germ has been planted, I'm determined to get either a smoker or a real 'Q'...don't really have the space for both. I'm kinda leaning towards the smoker 'cause I've seen ( through my 4 years in Louisiana) what loveliness they can produce. Any thoughts out there?
     
  12. leeniek

    leeniek

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    I have one recipe for ribs that is completely baked and it is falling off the bone delicious. 

    This recipe calls for baby back ribs (to the amount you will need) about half a jar of sauerkraut, caraway seeds and one small can or bottle of beer. (not the tallboy size)  So you set the oven to 250F and without any pretreating place the ribs in a single layer in roasting pan.  Sprinkle a good amount of caraway seeds on the ribs.  Top with sauerkraut and then pour the beer over all.  Cover tightly and cook in the very slow ovenfor at least two hours until meat is fully cooked and falling off the bone.  MMMM.. ribs....

    As for your BBQ.. I have only ever used charcoal at home and I recommend  you get a charcoal smoker that you can also use as a charcoal bbq.  They're relatively inexpensive compared to gas bbq's and the taste of the food is far superior to that of propane.  While propane or gas is handy, coals do require some planning and if you can do that you are all set. 
     
  13. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Couple of thoughts.

    First, what's your problem with using a gas grill to make ribs? I have both kinds of grills, and wouldn't hesitate to use one over the other as a cooking tool. Now, the fact is, the finished products do not taste the same. Could be something as simple as a hot dog, when you cook over coals there are certain flavors added that aren't available, or not so strongly available, from gas. But from a mechanical standpoint, a gas grill will do anything a charcoal grill will do. Indeed, there are some applications, especially temperature-sensitive ones, where the gas grill actually is a better choice.

    Next, if you've got room for a grill at all you should have room for one with a side-burner. That's the best of both worlds, because you can either grill on it or use it as a smoker, as you choose. That is, at base, how I make most of my Que.

    However, if you can only get one, I'd recommend a grill. Why? Because it's more versatile. By using the indirect-cooking method, any grill can become a smoker. Indeed, if you're going to cook low and slow on it, you have to use indirect anyway, with or without smoke.
     
  14. keithocanada

    keithocanada

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    KY- I don't really have a prob with a gas grill...it's just that I've never tasted my ribs done on a charcoal BBQ and they were outstanding! Perhaps it was just an exceptional rub or something different in the sauce 'cause I don't really follow a set recipe for them. Having said that, how would having a side burner double as a smoker? I thought a smoker was a big ol' drum, cut in half with a side container for the coals? Have I got my terminology messed up?
     
  15. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Sorry, Keith. Maybe I misunderstood, but I took this: I just don't have the stones to try to cook 'em on my gas BBQ only to mean you had some reason for thinking the gas grill wouldn't work. It certainly will. The ribs won't taste the same (most people would say "as good," but who am I to judge) as with a charcoal or wood fire. But they'll still be better than if you boiled them, first, and then finished on the grill.

    Have I got my terminology messed up?

    Only so far as it applies to orientation.

    Because you're used to a gas grill, I can see the confusion. You're thinking of a side-burner as a burner external to the main grill box, on which you'd cook something in a pot.

    Once we move over to wood or charcoal fueled cookers we get into a slightly different class of things. There are grills, there are smokers, and there are combination units.  Such grills and smokers come in a diversity of configurations. Let's stick with the one you describe: a horizontal tubular cooking chamber, with a smaller chamber mounted to the side.

    On one hand, you can have really humongous ones, the kind you see at the competitions. Or you can make one from a 55 or 30 gallon steel drum. Or you can buy a backyard-sized one from several companies, such as Char-Grill.

    In smoker mode, you light your fire in the side cooker, but put the food in the main chamber. No difference there between the big commercial jobbies and the little backyard ones. However, the main box on the backyard versions (and on some of the big ones, too) is also a grill, with a firebox below an adjustible grate (or, more usually, grates).

    So, let's look at the possibilities. You can run a fire in the side cooker, and use the rig as a smoker. You can set a fire in the main box, and use it as a direct-cooking grill. You can set a fire in the main box, and use it for indirect cooking. Or you can set fires in both the main box and the side cooker---which then functions as a mini-grill---and do all sorts of cooking, direct and indirect, simultaneously.

    But the fact is, either a charcoal or a gas grill, by themselves, can be rigged as smokers. The key there is simply to use the indirect method, and add wood chips as necessary.
     
  16. maryb

    maryb

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    I have done low and slow on my gas grill,  weber kettle, over an open pit with an old grate from an oven, on a Brinkmann Smoke-n-pit offset, my Klose, and now I use a Traeger wood pellet grill/smoker. All can produce good food. The key as mentioned is to cook indirect (that includes high up off the coals in an open pit or on a Weber Smokey Mountain), using all wood is better as far as flavor but all are way better than anything you will find in a typical restauraunt. Work with what you have, experiment, eat the mistakes (I have had my share of failures, way over done ribs are great simmered in kraut).
     
  17. gonefishin

    gonefishin

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         How do I like my ribs?  uh huh, I do like all ribs /img/vbsmilies/smilies/thumb.gif

        I like both pork and beef ribs.  They're really two completely different animals that can't (nor shouldn't) be directly compared (says me).  I could really appreciate both spares and baby back.  Though I may prefer spare ribs, some baby backs from a good breed of hog is really a tasty treat that speaks PORK!  

        When I cook my regular ol' ribs I smoke'em.  I'll pull the membrane and rub with some sort of a traditional(ish) bbq rub and let sit for a bit.  I cook them in the smoker until done (a nice U), I use a dual thermometer with the meat probe set to 190f (which tells me to start watchin'em a little closer).  Most times I don't sauce my traditional(ish) ribs, but that's just my tastes. I like my bbq pork with a little acid on the side, usually in the form cole slaw and some variety of cornbread.  

       Aside from smoking my ribs I occasionally cook them using other methods as well.  While I did have boiled ribs a lot growing up, I haven't boiled any ribs and don't foresee it in the future.  I will occasionally cook them in the oven.  

       I'll cook them on the gas grill as well.  It's not uncommon for me to prefer my gas grill when I'm trying a specific meat for the first time.  If I've just sourced some really good beef...or a breed of pig I haven't tried yet, I want to taste the meat as simple as can be.  I love a good lump...but gas stands behind the food.  I'll also use the gas grill when I've got some flavors that I want to stand in the forefront.  Again...I do love my lump and wood.  In fact I like it much better than gas.  But sometimes you want the fuel to sit silently on a plate, especially with big vibrant flavors.

       Weber charcoal?  If you ask me the biggest downfall to a Weber Kettle is that the things literally last forever.  I've got my smoker so I don't use the Kettle for indirect slow cooking, there's just no point.  However, this year I have started dabbling cooking ribs with high heat lump fuel and wood.  I pull the membrane, heavily season and sometimes inject.  You know...I cook them with lump and wood at a scorching hot level and use a mixture of high heat direct and high heat indirect.  I tend to the ribs constantly until tender.  Surprisingly they've been cooking quite nicely.  Finished to a good U and left with plenty of fat in the broken down pork meat.  I may try to get some flavors in there by brining.  I haven't brined ribs before and I'm not convinced it will be something that I do often (I'm not a big briner), but I'm thinking it's worth investigating.  

       Ribs?  oh yeah...ribs and sauerkraut

       dan
     
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  18. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I know what I'm making this weekend!  I really like the flap on the spare ribs.  It's a little chewy for sure, but it's mighty tasty.  Will serve with a potato salad, some kind of green leafy salad with ranch dressing and will attempt to make a corn bread.  I've never made one, better start another thread.
     
    keithocanada, maybe I suggest that you pick up a book by Steve Raichlen.  He is a master at grilling and bbq.  He uses his kettle grill to cook everything and I mean everything from ribs, to steaks to baking bread and making dessert!!  Last week I watched an episode where he spit roasted a pineapple and then sliced it like a roast beef dinner.  Check your local listings on public television.  His books also have marinades, rubs, and most importantly step by step techniques on how to grill.
     
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010
  19. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Oh and by the way, has anyone ever heard of brining ribs?  I have a friend who brines everything he grills for 3 days, including ribs and brisket.
     
  20. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Brined brisket is corned beef or one of the first steps towards pastrami.  A short brine doesn't do much for a brisket, and a long one substantially changes the product.   In theory, brining brisket for regular barbecued brisket is a sign of not knowing how to make brisket; and in my expereince injecting works much better for everything you'd want brining to do.  Wrapping is a huge help -- especially for people whose pits aren't really tight or who have trouble with fire management.  

    Cooking is a practical art.  If your friend makes great brisket by brining, good for him.  Reality beats theory everytime -- except in politics and religion.   If he's interested, have him take a look at this: Barbecue Brisket - An XI Step Program.

    Brining is especially useful for proteins in danger of drying out.  For 'Q, it's practically mandatory for fish, and a very good idea for poultry breasts and leaner cuts of pork which can go tough and dry -- like loin, especially if they're thin like chops.  I fooled around with brining quite a bit a few years ago -- and was brining nearly everything.  I used to brine pork ribs a lot, but do it less often now. 

    If I were cooking ribs in a contest, or catering, or cooking for some sort of restaurant -- I'd seriously think about it.  That little bit of extra moisture and sweetness in the meat might be worth the risk of dueling with the salt.  Might. 

    If you're a backyard cooker (and who isn't?). why not play with both methods?   What could it hurt? 

    As to the original question, I like ribs of so many sorts in so many ways.  My two favorites are usually whatever I had last, and whatever I'm having next.  In addition to everything we've talked about already there are plenty of "exotic" ethnic ribs -- Mexican, Chinese, Cambodian, Armenian, and on and on.  I love 'em all.

    For smoked pork ribs, I preach and teach 3,1,1 and 2,1,1 -- without brining.  IIRC, Dan's tried my pork rib Guide for the Beginning Genius with pretty good success.  Sometimes I like to cook them without wrapping.  Linda likes them on the softer, wetter side, so I usually wrap. 

    Unfortunately I've been beaten down by competition standards to the point where I automatically equate "fall of the bone" with "mush;" but I've had some good rib mush, so wotthehell woththehell

    One thing we haven't talked about is pork ribs as an ingredient.  When they're on deep sale, you can buy a couple of racks, smoke, portion and freeze.  Then use the way you'd use ham hocks or bacon to flavor long cooked vegetables or braises. 

    I love barbecued beef ribs.  Not just the rib ribs, but the short ribs too.  But oh those Flinstone ribs.  My mother loved them too.  I have very fond memories of her holding court at the tables of several rib joints waving her rib like a scepter as she talked. 

    Miss you Mom,

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2010