BBQ Ribs – Beef and Pork
One of my favorite meals is BBQ ribs. I don’t get to have them as often as I like due to the fact that my wife doesn’t eat pork. This time, however, I came up was offered a solution. The BBQ gods, in their infinite wisdom, decided that beef rib and pork ribs should be on sale at the same time. Now I haven’t an opportunity to do beef ribs on the BBQ before but I figured the process shouldn’t be any different. Beef ribs, by the way, are the bones that are attached to a prime rib so they were nice and meaty.
The first step was to brine the meat. This step helps to ensure that the meat stays moist and flavorful. While there are a lot of brine recipes out there I chose to keep it simple. I brought 1 cup of Kosher salt, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 gallon of water to a boil the night before. Considering the ingredients I wasn’t concerned about any type of spoilage so I just left the pot (covered) on the stove to cool overnight. I also took the opportunity to remove the membrane from the back side of the ribs. Without this step the membrane would make the ribs tough. The next morning I placed my ribs in the brine and put the pot in the refrigerator for 4 1/2 hours.
The second step was to cover my ribs with a rib rub. There are many brands on the market but the fact is the all the ingredients are probably in your spice cabinet already. A good basic rub is:
After removing your ribs from the brine pat them dry with a paper towel. Then rub both sides of your ribs and allow to sit (refrigerated) for at least 1 hour.
While your ribs are resting you can be soaking your wood chips. There are several types of wood that can be used. I like hickory the best but many people will use oak,apple cherry or pecan. I will use mesquite when I am grilling (as opposed to BBQing). Mesquite burns at a very high heat and as such is great for steaks and chicken or anything you want to sear and cook quickly.
The rule about BBQ is to cook low and slow. I build my fire on one side of my grill and put a drip pan full of water on the other side. I also make sure to always have a thermometer inside the grill so I can monitor the temperature. Ideally I like to cook between 225 and 250 degrees. I control the temperature by using the vents on the top and bottom of the grill (I am currently using a Weber Kettle), as well as, partially opening the lid if necessary.
Having taken all these steps I am now ready to put my ribs on. I place the as far away as I can from the flame (over the drip pan) and sprinkle the moist chips on the fire. It takes approximately 4 to 4 1/2 hours for the ribs to finish. One additional step I take to keep them moist is to have a squirt bottle filled with apple juice which I use to make sure the top of the ribs stay moist. When the bones just start to pull away from the meat the ribs are done.
The final step before feasting is to sauce the ribs. While some BBQ experts will tell you that good BBQ need no sauce I prefer it. I do find that a simple homemade sauce is often far superior to a store bought sauce. I think that too many ingredients are added when a less is more approach should be used. ketchup,cider vinegar and brown sugar are all you need although this time I had some maple syrup in the house and used it to replace some of the brown sugar I would normally use. This was a great decision as the sauce was spectacular. It should be noted that , due to the sugar in BBQ sauce it should be added only at the end of the BBQing process.
A couple of notes:
I like to use a baby back rib. I find it more meaty (and less fatty) than a St. Louis rib.
While you can find inexpensive ribs remember that you get what you pay for so if the deal seems too good to be true it probably is. You could end up paying for all fat.
The beef ribs worked exactly as expected and were very meaty and moist.
I didn’t add a sauce recipe here due to the fact that my sauce only has 3 ingredients (4 with maple syrup but that’s optional). Just mix the three ingredients together until you get the balance of tart and sweet you are looking for and remember it’s not necessary to add every spice in the cupboard!
Wood chips can be purchased at Lowes,Home Depot, K-Mart etc. Watch the pricing. You shouldn’t have to pay more than 4 or 5 buck for a bag that will last you most of the summer!