Let’s be honest: no matter how much you like barbecue, the time that it takes to make it means you have to be willing to invest a good chunk of your day.
This past weekend, I could see by the home schedule that I would be tied to the house with work both days, with Sunday being open for multi-tasking. So, seeing that I hadn’t made ribs in a while, I decided to give it a run.
First, I made a foray to the grocery store Saturday morning, and found a couple of racks of St. Louis style ribs that were rather short on expiration date, and, thus, on sale. Win.
Next I decided to try Alton Brown’s rub recipe -
- 8 parts brown sugar
- 3 parts kosher salt
- 1 part chili powder
- 1 part other stuff
For this set, the “other stuff” was a mix of garlic powder, cumin, basil, and more chili powder. I rubbed both racks well, and wrapped them in foil, and put them in the refrigerator overnight.
Now, in the recent past, the last 25 years or so, I’ve made ribs in my smoker. However, Sunday, the weather turned out to be rather iffy, and rather than put up the tent or an awning as I have done in the past, I used the small grill on the back porch. I still wanted to smoke the ribs, as much as I could, but rather than use a lot of chips as I would in the smoker, I decided to go with a smaller amount of mesquite wrapped in aluminum foil.
Being a wet ribs man, I also made up some sauce to mop it with, which I will say included a mix of commercially available sauces, plus some worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, and a generous pour of Jack Daniel’s. How much Jack? Well, when the sauce ran into the fire, it flared up pretty well.
I ended up cooking them for about 3-1/2 hours, basting for the last 2 hours.
In the end, these have to be the best ribs I’ve ever made. So much so that I don’t think I’m ever again going to break out the smoker just for ribs. Low and slow with the grill, with a good amount of smoke, did just fine. The only time I will make ribs in the smoker will be when I already have it going for something else, like a brisket.
The ribs were tender, falling off the bone, with the right mix of flavors and textures. The mesquite, which is normally such a powerful flavor that I don’t use it for much except brisket, was just right for the small amount I used. Alton’s rub made for a sweet flavor, with the right mix of spices, and cooked itself into a rather interesting texture.
I think I’ve found my new rib technique. And I think the verdict of the family concurs: