Thursday, September 5, 2013

Luscious Launa's Big Racks BBQ: Best Ribs Ever

 Ribs are the holy grail. Mastering them marks the difference between a meat burner and a pitmaster.  There are sooooo many recipes for ribs around the country. In Memphis, all you need is a dry rub. They skip the sauce. In parts of South Carolina the sauce is mostly mustard and in Kansas City they come with sweet heat and candy sauces.  
This recipe features the 2-2-1 method (2 hours of smoke, 2 hours in foil, and 1 hour setting the glaze)

Yield: 2 racks of St. Louis Style Ribs
Preparation Time: 1 hour 30 min
Cooking Time: 5 hours

The Rib Dry Rub:
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup paprika
2 tbsp. cumin powder
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and set aside in air tight container

Preparing the Ribs:

1) Rinse. Rinse the ribs in cool water to remove any bone bits. Pat dry with paper towels.

2) Skin and trim. Remove the membrane or sliver skin from the back side, do it yourself. It gets leathery and hard to chew, it keeps fat in, and it keeps smoke and sauce out. Insert a butter knife under the membrane, then your fingers, work a section loose, and peel it off. Finally, trim the extra fat from both sides. If you can't get the skin off, with a sharp knife, cut slashes through it every inch so some of the fat will render out during the cooking. 

3) Rub. Coat the meat with a thin layer of vegetable oil because most of the flavorings in the rub are oil soluble, not water soluble. The oil will help the flavor get beyond the surface and help make the bark, the desired crust on the top.

4) Rest.  Let the ribs sit for an hour.

Setting up the Smoker or Grill

Set up your cooker for 2-zone or indirect cooking click here to learn more

Preheat your cooker to about 250-275°F and try to keep it there throughout the cook. 

This is crucial: You can absolutely positively not rely on l dial thermometers that your grill came with. you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Smoking the Ribs:

The ribs go into the cooker bone side down at a temperature between 225 at the least and 275 at the highest with some a combination of hickory and cherry wood providing the smoke.  About every thirty minutes the ribs get spritzed with apple juice while they cook for 2 hours.
After two hours the ribs are removed from the grill, placed on foil and coated with  squeeze butter, honey and sugar.  The ribs are wrapped up and put back on the smoker, bone side down, for another two hours.  After two hours the ribs are removed from the foil and cooked directly on the grate.  After thirty minutes start brushing with sauce.  After about another thirty minutes the glaze has set and the ribs are done.
If you've done all this right, you will notice that there is a thin pink layer beneath the surface of the meat. This does not mean it is undercooked! It is the smoke ring! It is a sign of a Good Pitmaster. Now be ready to take a bow when the applause swells from your hungry crowd.