Sweet & Sticky Pork Riblets
This recipe was a first for me. I’ve seen the pork loin riblets in the grocery store but I’ve never actually bought any to try. I don’t know what took me so long to try them because I was shocked by how good they actually were!
Riblets are cross cut sections of pork loin ribs.The ribs are cut into thin strips about 2” wide and they make the perfect appetizer portion of ribs. I basically treated them like they were mini slabs of loin ribs.
Each piece was seasoned with a little Kosher Salt and for the bbq seasoning I went with Butcher’s BBQ Honey Rub. You could use any rub on these riblets but I was going for a sweet flavor and the honey rub was just right.
Once all of the riblets were seasoned I let them hang out at room temp for about 20 minutes to sweat. The seasonings melt into the meat and it creates a dry marinade. You could even place them in the refrigerator for a couple hours if you want.
While the rub and salt worked on the meat I fired up my Gateway Drum Smoker. Before placing the cooking grate on the grill I threw in a couple small chunks of cherry wood for some sweet smoke.
Keep the drum at 275 for this cook and you could also use any smoker or grill for this recipe just keep the temp steady at 275.
The riblets went on the cooking grate as soon as the temperature stabilized and I smoked them for 1 hour then flipped each piece over for even cooking.
After 1 1/2 hours in the smoke I placed them in a half size aluminum pan. To create the sweet and sticky element of this recipe I added brown sugar, butter, honey and Killer Hogs Vinegar Sauce to the pan and covered it with aluminum foil to lock in the heat.
The pan is placed back on the drum and I let it roll for another hour keeping the temp steady at 275. At this point the riblets felt tender and the bones had beautiful draw back, but I wanted to get a little char on the outside. I carefully dipped each riblet section in the pan sauce and placed them back on the cooking grate.
Keeping the lid open on the drum allowed the flames to kick up a little helping the char-glaze the outside. This step doesn’t take long about 2-3 minutes on each side, so don’t walk far away. Once the outside looked right it was time to eat!
I let the riblets rest for about 5 minutes on the cutting board and then sliced them into 2 bone pieces. Piled high on the cutting board they looked amazing and the flavor was incredible. Think of the perfect slab of ribs but in appetizer form.
I served them along with a little extra vinegar sauce for dipping but I could see doing several kinds of flavors with these. I highly recommend giving them a try the next time you want to create some bbq appetizers.Print
- Preheat drum smoker to 275 degrees using lump charcoal for fuel. Add a couple chunks of cherry wood to the hot coals for smoke flavor.
- Season the strips of pork loin riblets with Kosher salt and Butcher’s BBQ Honey Rub. Let the seasoning sit on the riblets for about 20 minutes before placing on the pit.
- Arrange the strips of riblets on the cooking grate and smoke for 1 1/2 hours.
- Place all of the riblets in a half size aluminum pan and add brown sugar, pats of butter, Vinegar Sauce and drizzle everything with the honey.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place the pan back on the pit for 1 hour.
- After an hour remove the foil and carefully dredge the riblets in the pan juice and place directly on the cooking rack. Leave the lid to the drum open so the fire flares up and char grill each piece for 2-3 minutes on each side.
- Remove the riblets from the smoker and place on a cutting board. To serve cut each section into 2 bone pieces and pile high on the board or serving platter. Serve the riblets with your favorite BBQ sauce for dipping.