After last week’s video blog, I thought it would be a good idea to cover the 4 steps to creating fantastic ribs. This post will tell you how to cook amazing ribs on the BBQ, no matter what rub or BBQ sauce recipe you are using.
Steps to creating fantastic ribs:
1. Choose your ribs
2. Remove silver skin
3. Tenderize your ribs
4. Finish them off
Step 1: Choose your ribs
Back and Side Ribs are the most popular rib cuts. Back ribs generally have more meat and are more tender than side ribs, thus, they are often more expensive as well. The bones (ribs) on back ribs are small and more rounded in cross-section than those of side ribs. Side ribs have a great flavour, but are generally less tender, and so need a longer cooking time.
Step 2: Remove silver skin
On the concave surface (bone side) of all ribs is a thin, translucent membrane. This membrane is tough and will prevent any flavouring to get to the rib meat, and should be removed. To remove this membrane, insert a metal spoon handle under the membrane at one end of the rib rack and detach a corner. Then grab the detached flap and gently tear it away from the ribs. It should come off in one clean pull. Once the membrane is off, you can use a rub to add flavour to your ribs right away.
Step 3: Tenderize your ribs
Many people still think that boiling ribs is the best method for tenderizing ribs; however, this is not the case at all. Boiling your ribs strips the pork of its natural flavour. Better methods include:
a) Pre-cooked in the oven: On a cookie sheet or in a shallow roasting pan, add about 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) of water. Add a few slices of lemon or orange to the pan. Place the ribs, meaty side up, on the pan in a single layer. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in oven at 325°F (160°C). Cook back ribs between 1 and 1 and a half hours, or until meat is easily pierced with a metal skewer. Cook side ribs between 1 and a half and 2 hours, or until meat is easily pierced with a metal skewer.
b) All on the BBQ: Back ribs can be grilled without prior cooking, i.e. from raw using indirect cooking on the barbecue. To do this, heat the barbecue to about 250°F (120°C), turn off one side, and place ribs on the “off” side. If using barbecue sauce, start basting after thirty minutes, and continue until ribs are cooked and tender, between 1 and a half and 2 and a half hours total. Turn ribs every 20 minutes or so. If using a rub, apply before you start grilling. If using charcoal, wait until coals have died down, bank the coals to one side, and grill on the other side. Keep the lid of the barbecue down, and try to maintain a temperature of 250°F (120°C) throughout the cooking process. Once again, Cook back ribs between one and one and a half hours. For side ribs, between 1 and a half and 2 hours, or until meat is easily pierced with a metal skewer.
Step 4: Finish them off
We already got into this a little bit, but once your ribs are tender from either pre-cooking in the oven or using the indirect cooking method on the BBQ, you want to add that nice crust to the outside of your ribs using BBQ sauce. The sugars in the BBQ sauce caramelize when they are exposed to heat, and this is what is going to give you that delicious coating on your ribs. If your ribs have already been pre-cooked, all you have to do is heat up your ribs, so place them on the grill at medium high heat and baste them every 10 minutes, with 3 to 5 coats of the BBQ sauce in total. Make sure to keep some of your BBQ sauce to the side for extra if you like gooey ribs.