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Cooking BBQ Ribs

Secrets, Tips and Suggestions for Slow-Smoking Barbecue Ribs

Rib Membranes...

Always, always, ALWAYS pull the membrane off of the slab of ribs.  The last thing you want is a judge to take a bite of your rib and have a tough piece of membrane attached to the bone. 

The membrane prevents you from getting flavor on the back side of the rack as well. You want to season and sauce both sides of the slab not just the top side.

Prevent Ribs From Burning...

The first dry rub that goes on the ribs should have a very low sugar content. 

If you start out with a rub that contains sugar, the ribs will turn black on you.  Sugar burns fairly fast and you don't want that.  It will create a bitter, unpleasant taste. 

Seasoning Your Ribs...

Put your rub on liberally and let the slab sit for about 20-30 minutes before going on the smoker.  Doing so will allow the fibers in the meat to "open up" and allow the seasonings and smoke to penetrate the meat.

trimming ribs

ribs on grill

Smoking Your Ribs...

After two hours at 225 ribs won't take any more smoke.  The meat will have reached an internal temp of around 160 degrees.  

Adding smoke after this point is not a good idea.  Have you ever tasted BBQ that had too strong of a smoke taste?  It's because the fibers in the meat close around 160 internal. Using smoke at after this temperature will create a foul tasting rib.  Stick with a good clean charcoal after 160 internal and all of your pork will turn out great.

ribs on grill pretty

ribs with a wow factor

Perfectly Tender Ribs...

The trick to getting perfectly tender ribs is to wrap the slabs in Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil.  

Add a little apple juice, margarine, or whatever baste you like to use to the slab once placed on the aluminum foil.  Wrap it up real good not allowing the bones to puncture the pouch. 

This will create the perfect environment for tenderizing the ribs. 

I wrap my ribs for 2 hours at 225; be sure to check them at 1:45 minutes.  You want to unwrap a slab and gentle tug on a few of the middle bones.If they feel like they will pull out with little or know effort, you have them right where you want them. 

Carefully remove the slabs from the smoker and vent each.  You have to be careful not to move the ribs to much or they can fall apart. 

After about 10 minutes they will "lock up" and you can transfer them back to the smoker for glazing.

WOW Factor Ribs...

To get that "Wow" factor on your ribs use a finishing rub.  One rub to try is Smoking Guns Hot rub. This is a pretty famous rub on the KCBS circuit; many teams use it today and judges love it. 

You can experiment with your own version of a finishing rub.  This is where you can use a "Sweet Rub" The ribs shouldn't be in the smoker long enough for the sugar to caramelize and turn dark.

Here is a video we shot at Memphis In May this year of the ribs cooking on our smoker. Check it out...

The BBQ Rub - a barbecue dry rub developed by The Killer Hogs

ChefAlarm Meat Thermometer
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Thermapens For Internal Meat Probe for Competition BBQ Cooks