BBQ Ribs Post

Stater Bros. markets have baby back ribs on sale again this week for $2.79/lb. (1.94 E/0.5 kg). This is a pretty darn good price, depending on how meaty they are. Meanwhile, Von's has "extra meaty" baby back ribs on sale for $3.47 (2.42 E). Needless to say I'm contemplating purchasing a slab. Only problem is that it means I'll have to prepare food. After two weeks of salads and little sandwiches, I'd like something else. Maybe I'll just freeze them till I'm ready to light up the grill.

It's just too hot for anything other than cool foods, even though I'd really like a change. When I get around to cooking them, I'll be using the method that I discovered over 15 years ago. Prior the this revelation, I used to just put the ribs on the grill with barbeque sauce and cook. The results were less than perfect...usually dry with burnt BBQ crust. A few years ago, after much research I put together my own recipe for a rub. It really adds so much to the final taste outcome.

To begin, remove the silver skin from the back of the ribs. This is something I'd never done 15 years ago. Fine Cooking has an easy explanation and photos describing how to do it. There are also several video versions such as: You Tube and You Tube. I usually rise the slab and dry it, placing it on 2-3 layers of paper towels on the counter. See the links above for how to pull off the membrane or silver skin. Using a dry paper towel is key to this working easily. Then using heavy duty foil lay your slab in the center and work your rub into the bottom of the ribs, flip over and rub the top so the whole slab is evenly coated.

Then fold the long sides of the foil up and fold together kind of like this video showing how to cook fish in parchment. You're not using parchment, but the technique is the same. Ignore all the info in the video  except for how to fold the packet (unless you want to make fish). Also note that the meat should be laid on the dull side of the foil, shiny side out. This helps with the slow cooking. Finish by closing the ends. Every now and then a rib will poke through the heavy foil, in that case, I wind up wrapping it all in another piece of heavy duty foil. Place packet on jelly roll pan or cookie sheet with raised edges and pop it into a 200F (92.2C) oven for several hours. If I'm making just one slab for me, I slow cook the ribs for about 3 hours, sometimes 4.

Once the time is up, remove the tray and let sit for 5 minutes, turn the oven to 400F (204.4C). Then open the packet, lift out the ribs with care (see notes below for steps used when removing after grilling) and place on another cookie sheet with a lip (kind of like a jelly roll pan). Brush with BBQ sauce and bake in  400F oven for 5-10 minutes taking care to remove if the sauce starts to burn. Remove from oven, tent with foil for 5 minutes. Place on a cutting board and with a sharp knife, cut into individual ribs and serve.

If you prefer the grill, this is what I do and it was worked out by trial and error. Set the grill on the lowest setting and put the foil-wrapped slab onto the upper warming shelf in the grill. My grill has 3 burners so I only turn one on to very low. If you have no warming shelf on your gas grill, then set up a cool zone by leaving for example, 2 out of 3 burners off and put your packet as far from the heat as possible. Sorry, I have no idea what to tell you for a charcoal grill. Possibly Google "slow cooking ribs on a Weber grill" or "slow cooking ribs on a charcoal grill".

After about 20 min. on low heat, I turn the grill off and set a timer for 20 minutes. Then I turn the single burner back on. I've found this works for my grill by trial and error. When the temperature gauge rises to 300F (148.8C) I turn the grill off. When it drops below 100F (37.7C) I turn the burner back on. A grill (at least mine) just doesn't have as much control as an oven. But when it's 90+F (32.2C) out, it beats having to heat up the house and I've found the process of slow cooking ribs like this is very forgiving. This process goes on for about 2 hours at which point I turn the grill off letting the ribs sit in the cooling grill for half an hour.

At this point I take the packet off the grill using a cookie sheet with sides in case some juice escapes. I turn two of the burners back on to medium-high. In the house I carefully open the packet while it sits on the cookie sheet using pot holders and tongs. The slab is left on the sheet and brought back outside to the hot grill. Using tongs I carefully lift it off the sheet and place on the grill over the two burners. At this point, using a silicone brush I apply the BBQ sauce, close the grill and set the timer for 5 minutes.

At the end of 5 minutes, I move the slab to the unlit burner and turn off all but one burner. After five more minutes, I bring the slab inside on the same cookie sheet, tent with foil for 5 minutes to rest. Next the ribs are moved to a cutting board, cut into individual ribs with a sharp knife and served. They are always juicy, the meat falls off the bone and the sauce on top is cooked just right, not burned. These really are melt-in-your-mouth delights.

Since this is really "finger" food, I usually serve with fresh corn on the cob and skip utensils altogether.

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