Quick Recipes and Easy

Cooking Competition Quality Ribs in your Backyard

Prepping your grill…

Just about everybody has a Weber kettle charcoal grill in their back yard. You
can smoke some pretty excellent ribs on these things. Here’s how to set it up so that
you are “offset smoking” and not grilling… I simply start it up by making two
piles of charcoal briquettes on opposite sides of the grill (away from the
center). Make sure your vents on the bottom of the grill are open and not clogged
with ashes. I then squirt my lighter fluid on the briquettes and light them.

Start soaking your wood chips at least an hour before you will need them. I make
sure the charcoal is white before I start smoking so that all the lighter fluid
has burnt up and does not give your meat a lighter fluid taste. If you want to
use a charcoal chimney to start your charcoal, that’s OK too – some people despise
using lighter fluid. Just dump your “white” charcoal from the chimney on opposite
sides of the grill when they are ready. You can place a disposable aluminum pan
between your charcoal piles and fill it with about an inch of warm water or beer
if you want.

Prepping your ribs…

You can either buy spareribs or what is called loin back ribs. Spareribs are much cheaper than the loin backs. If you buy the huge spareribs, cut the brisket end off the ribs at the
joint. This will give you what is called the St Louis style of ribs. Then trim the skirt meat off. Don’t throw this away – you can cook it
separately and eat it too. You also want to pull the membrane off the back side
of the ribs. If you want, you can place your favorite dry rub on both sides of your
ribs at this time. I prefer the more natural taste of the smoked meat with a
small BBQ sauce, so I do not apply any rub or any other seasonings before
smoking.

Let’s start smoking…

When you are ready to start smoking, place your grate on the grill so that the
holes near the handles are over your charcoal piles. This way, you can add
charcoal as needed to maintain your heat. Some newer models have hinged grates
for this purpose.

Now all you do is place your meat in the center of the grate – away from the
charcoal piles. When I smoke ribs, I use a rib rack on top of the grate. Weber
makes a excellent rib rack and you can get one at any excellent store that sells Weber
grills. Place your trimmed pieces anywhere not directly over the coals. Throw
some soaked mesquite chips directly on the charcoal and close the lid (don’t
overdo the mesquite chips – mesquite imparts a strong smoke taste so a small
goes a long way). Feel free to used soaked hickory, pecan, oak, apple, or any
other “flavor” of wood chips that suits your taste buds. I personally like
mesquite as I feel it is the only smoke flavor that will not get covered up by
your sauce. If done right, it’s not overpowering, but you can still taste that
tasty smoke flavor.

Open the vents on the lid all the way and insert a thermometer through one of the
vent holes. This is vital! I use one of those confection/deep fry style
thermometers with the clip and long stem on it. It’s vital to measure the
temperature as close to the meat as possible. Smoke your ribs at 230 – 240 deg F.
If the temperature is too high (around 300 deg) for the first 30 minutes, don’t
worry about it too much. If it gets any hotter than 300 deg then crack the lid a
small to let some heat escape. When the temperature gets too low, just open the
lid and toss in a few new briquettes and/or soaked wood chips. Try to stay “ahead
of the game” as far as heat is concerned because it’s simpler to cool down a hot
smoker than it is to get it back up to temperature if your fire goes out.

Cook the ribs for 3 hours. Don’t open the lid unless absolutely necessary –
remember, “if you’re looking, you ain’t cooking”. While you are adding charcoal,
you can also spray the ribs with apple juice to keep them moist. After 3 hours,
take your ribs off and wrap tightly in foil and return to the grill for one more
hour.

Ready for glazing…

After one hour in the foil, take your ribs out of the foil and place back on the
grill. You’ll know your ribs are getting done when the meat is pulling away from
the bone – this is a sure sign that your ribs are getting done. Maybe gently tug
on one of the bones to see if it is “loose”. Also… if you pick up one end of a
slab with a pair of tongs and your slab bends down 90°, then that is another sign
that your ribs are getting done.

After removing from the foil, apply your favorite BBQ sauce and glaze the ribs
for one more hour. You can cut your BBQ Sauce with honey to make a sweet glaze if
that is what you like. Apply your glaze to both sides and flip after 15 minutes
and reapply glaze after each 15 minutes. After one hour of glazing, let your ribs
rest for at least 15 minutes and then slice between each bone. You are now ready
to sink your teeth into some of the best ribs you have ever tasted! Mouth
watering, tender, and falling off the bone excellent!

Hope you delight in them!
Bill Anderson
The Chatham Artillery BBQ Team
co-author of “Competition BBQ Secrets”
bbq-book.com www.bbq-book.com

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