A Barbecue Page

The contents of this page are from a forum on the web. I have reproduced them here unattributed because it was not possible to determine the actual identity of the contributors. I do not necessarily agree with everything said here, but these guys know a lot more about it than I do.

Baby-back Ribs!

We realize most folks will have burgers and dogs for Memorial Day, but we want you to push the envelope just a little and try something different, but still on everyone's agenda. Please keep in mind what we said earlier, plan early, shop early and relax on the big day!

Today, let's go with pork spare or loinback (aka "babyback") ribs. They will be the hit of the day and you'll enjoy the process as well. We would recommend preparing 2-3 "slabs" and using a different finishing sauce on each for a unique taste experience. Again, this will make you look great, and not be too much work.

With pork ribs, we are going to make them tender, not by marinades or mechanical tenderizing units, but with low (temps) and slow (time).

    yellow table mustard
  1/3 cup salt
  ¼ cup paprika
  3 tbsp chili powder
  3 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  1 tbsp ground cumin
  2 tsp garlic powder
  1 tsp ground cinnamon
  1 tsp cayenne (optional)

Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly. Remove the membrane from the inside (curved) side of the ribs. Take the yellow mustard and, using a pastry brush, coat the meat lightly. Sure, it looks strange, but trust us. It sets up a nice finish and helps hold on the spices. Next, rub the dry ingredients thoroughly into meat and allow to sit for 2 hours. Cook on pit using indirect heat (heat on one side of the grill and the meat on the other). Cook at 225į until done. Depending upon the cut of meat, generally: loinback ribs 3-5 hours, spare ribs 5-8 hours [properly cooked ribs should ALMOST release from the bone when twisted or bent. If it easily breaks loose from the bone, then you have probably overcooked them]. Store remainder of the dry ingredients in air tight jar and keep in freezer.

Now for some finishing sauces. Finishing sauces are the sauces you place on the meat just before you remove the meat from the grill. They are usually either sweet, tomato based or both. Each will burn if allowed to get too hot. Wait until the temperatures are lower and you are about to take the meat off the pit before applying.

You might also want to try Smokey's Scratch Finishing Sauce, your favorite barbecue sauce or maybe something simple like the following:

  1 stick butter (not margarine)
  2 tbsp molasses
  3 tbsp honey
  1 tsp lime juice

Gently heat (not burn!) and mix thoroughly. Allow to cool slightly and apply to ribs about 20 minutes before removing them from the pit (after the heat in the pit has been reduced to 150° or less).

Tips and Techniques of the Barbecue Guru

Kevin Taylor is know as the BBQ Guru on the RecipeGoldmine website for his expertise in the art of the barbecue and smoking. Over the last twenty years barbecuing has caught on fast in the UK but for most of us it is still an unexplored form of cuisine—a few chops and some sausages.

With the help of Kevin, Hub-UK is hoping to bring to you a series of articles and recipes over the summer which will change your way of life and bring great pleasure to you, your family and friends as you enjoy the long summer evenings.

How Competition Cooks Prepare Ribs

First of all understand, we use "smokers" when we compete, but I will give directions for cooking ribs in the oven. The only thing missing will be that nice smokey flavor that can be added by simply putting a small amount of liquid smoke into your sauce.

The secret to great ribs is to cook them at low temps for long periods of time. In competition, we cook all of our meats at 225°F and it takes 6 hours for ribs, 10-12 hours for pork butts and up to 18 hours for brisket. Not to worry, I will show you how to do it in around 3 hours!

First letís explode a few myths about ribs:

Myth Number 1

The secret to great ribs is to boil them first!

Wrong!!!! Never, ever boil your ribs!!!! I don't care what your mother taught you or what a famous chef on FoodTV did. Never, ever boil !!

OK, let me explain what water does to meat. There is a certain degree of osmosis that takes place when you boil meat in water. This is accelerated if you use even a little bit of salt in the water or on the meat. In essence, what happens is . . . the water goes in and the flavor of the meat goes out. If you doubt this, taste the water after you have boiled something in it. This is the whole concept behind making soup. So, when you boil your ribs, all that wonderful pork flavor comes out (notice how greasy the water is?)

Now, I do agree you will get a tender cut of meat. But, what does that meat taste like without any rub or sauce. Does it look good? Would you even eat it? If you were blindfolded, could you identify what type of meat it is? (Most people have failed this test).

Next, a simple question: would you boil your steaks or burgers or chops? I will gladly share the secret to making tender and flavorful ribs. By the way, a truly great rib can be tested by using simply salt and pepper—what is called a "dry" rib (a "wet" rib has sauce on it)! I suggest everyone try their ribs this way first, then start experimenting with various rubs and sauces.

Myth Number 2

Boiling or steaming gets all the fat out.


Yes, it will get rid of some of the fat. But very rarely will it get rid of all the fat. This is the single biggest problem that folks still have with ribs: even after boiling, there are still pockets of fat.

A quick technical lesson (for cocktail party banter!)

Fat can only be rendered in a dry cooking environment over a long period of time and at low temperatures. Here is what happens... The meat must attain a temperature of 160° - 170° to start the fat rendering process. At these temps, the meat temperature will "plateau," that is, it will stay at these temps for up to 2 hours on ribs and 4 and 5 hours on butts and briskets. What is happening is, the collagen (connective tissue) starts to break down, this process releases water, which in turn causes a cooling of the meat. So the temps stay steady. This collagen breakdown is what makes meat so tender.

Once this collagen completely breaks down, the temps will start to rise. It is this process that allows all of the fat to be rendered from a rib.

OK, on with the lesson. The night before, you should choose your favorite rub—a combination of spices—and apply it to the ribs. Then wrap them in Saran Wrap™ and refrigerate overnight. Here is a very good rub I will share...

  1 tbsp garlic powder
  1 tbsp onion powder
  1 tbsp salt
  1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  1 tbsp black pepper
  1 tbsp white pepper
  1 cup brown sugar
  ½ cup paprika

Simply mix all the ingredients together. This may be a little hot for some folks, so simply cut down on the cayenne.

The day you are to cook, take the ribs out about 1 hour prior to cooking.

It will take about 4 hours to do.

Place a cake pan of hot water on the lowest rack. You may need to add water to this near the end.

Place the ribs in the oven bone side down. You will not turn these over (this allows the fat to 'travel' through the meat and leave all that flavor behind)!! Place them on a wire rack directly above the water pan and going in the same direction—you want to catch any drippings in this water pan.

After 1½ hours of cooking (not before!), spritz or mop the ribs with a mixture of 3 parts apple juice and 1 part oil. Do this every ½-¾ hour until done.

To test for doneness, you can look at the bones and watch for the meat to pull back from the ends or you can use the toothpick test . . . insert a toothpick between the bones and if it goes through easily they are done.

Finally... Always apply any sauces 20 minutes prior to eating. This will avoid the sugars burning and turning black, and believe me, there's loads of sugar in every barbecue sauce!

That's it! You're done! Like I said, this whole process will take around 3-4 hours depending what temp you cook at. It may take a little practice to get to your desired doneness but, hey, that's half the fun!!