Barbecue has become somewhat of a foodie thing of late, and the craze has affected my culinary tastes and spending habits. Our new house has a new offset smoker out back instead of a gas grill, and my basement has smoke wood by the back door at all times. Chris-O and I made ribs and brisket for a New Year's party, spending the afternoon darting out into the snow to tend the fire and the meat.
Some would say that Quizro's recipe above is capital-W Wrong. The heat's too high! You shouldn't marinate the ribs beforehand! There's no rub! You've broken all our commandments! Well, fuck those people. There are so many contradictions in the world of barbecue, so many commandments and edicts from different schools that there is no agreement possible. (and they all taste good anyway) Anyway, Uncle Chubby's Barbecue Sauce is what one might call a mop sauce: devoid of sugar which can burn when left over heat for too long. You use these to baste your meat instead of spreading it on at the end.
My personal belief in barbecuing anything (ribs, pork, brisket, chicken, whatever) is that barbecue rewards the lazy! I don't touch my meat more than absolutely necessary; I spice it, maybe turn it ONCE in the cooker, and I don't mop anything.
As a lesson, take this recipe. Note that instead of mucking about with the ribs, I was able to make chicken broth and gravy at the same time, while popping across the street to meet the new neighbors.
- Four half slabs of pork spare ribs (St. Louis-style, preferably) or loin back ribs*
- Paprika, Onion powder, black pepper, sea salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and chili powder (subtract as your wimpy mouths require)
- Enough charcoal to fill three chimneys
- Chimney starter
- Two logs each of cherry and maple wood.
- Smoker (I have a Char Griller offset smoker with the side firebox)
- Two aluminum roasting pans
- Two cans Miller High Life
- Salt Lick BBQ sauce (or Stubb's or other respectable pork-appropriate BBQ sauce)
- Dump one chimney of unlit charcoal into firebox, add one cherry and one maple log.
- Empty beer into roasting pans and place under cooking grates.
- Light second chimney and add to firebox.
- Go inside to get ribs ready.
- Wash ribs in cold water, remove membrane, pat dry, and sprinkle with all 7 above spices on both sides. (minus whichever spices your pansy mouth has omitted)
- Put in smoker meat side up.
- Adjust fire vent to reach target temp of 225°, adding first charcoal, then logs when the first two logs have burnt.
- After two hours, move ribs around to ensure even cooking. My smoker has two racks, so I moved the ribs from the upper level to the lower level and vice versa, swapped them from left to right relative to the fire, and rotated them 180°. I did NOT flip them. Keep the meat side up!
- After about two more hours, baste with BBQ sauce.
- After an additional half hour, check ribs with the "pull test". If done, remove and wrap in plastic wrap, then foil. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- Refrigerate overnight
- Put in cooler for transport
- Place in over at 300° for 30-45 minutes.
- Let cool, then slice into 1-2 rib sections for serving.
*What's the difference between loin back ribs and spare ribs? Loin back ribs are the section of the rib between the loin and approximately the midpoint of the actual rib bone. Spare ribs are the opposite: the begin the the midpoint of the rib and continue to about the sternum. There are slight differences in flavor and tenderness. I prefer loin back ribs, as spare ribs need to be trimmed carefully to remove the irritating breastbone and cartilage at the bottom. You may find St. Louis-style pork ribs. These are spare ribs that have undergone this trimming.