BBQ Baby Back Ribs are a personal favorite of mine. I would do these year-round if time permitted me to do so. Over the years, I have learned so much about BBQ (not just grilling alone). So many different ways to cook them so I decided to post how I like to do them.
First is the plainly obvious- the ribs themselves. Aside from baby back ribs, there are spare ribs and country style ribs as well. There are also beef ribs but my taste lean towards pork. I guess that's more a regional thing as I am from the Midwest and pork ribs seem to be the most popular. I have also enjoyed venison and buffalo ribs but they tend to be more expensive (and more difficult) to buy. Lamb ribs work well too, especially if you like garlic. So below are the ribs- clean & rubbed dry.
Now here's where the fun starts. My desire is not to sound like I'm being negative but I will address two of many no-no's as it relates to BBQ ribs. First, DO NOT BOIL THEM AND PUT THEM ON THE GRILL!! If you want back back rib stock or you're making a German dish (German-style boiled ribs), go ahead and boil to your hearts desire. You lose all the flavor by doing boiling.
The second no-no will be addressed in the two pictures below. Remove the membrane from the ribs. The membrane is the film you see on the back of the ribs. To remove it is not that difficult at all. You take a utility knife and cut between the meat (ribs) and the membrane (as seen on the left below). My suggestion is to start at one end and get the membrane loose enough where it will pull right off. Do this before you do any marinating or seasoning. Removing the membrane will help the meats be flavored (with marinade or seasoning) and will help it cook properly. Unlike the casing with a sausage, it does not provide a compliment the rib's taste or flavor (let alone edibility). On the right (below), you will see one slab with the membrane removed (lower rib in the picture which is more white-colored) and the one without (top of the picture).
When making ribs, I prefer using indirect heat (placing the coals away from the meat, letting the heat circulate inside the grill. If you use a kettle style grill or a dual chamber grill like I use here, you know I'll give another no-no. Don't cook the meat over the fire but just away from it. Also, just because you don't see fire, doesn't mean the fire isn't hot. The grill I used had a temperature gauge when I can see what temperature I'm cooking at. If not, look for the coals to be more red/ash like color. I took more non-ready start coals and line the grill's bottom left half (as seen below on the lower left side of the picture). Then I took some presoaked wood chips (use the flavor that you like) and placed them on top of the unlit coals. Once my coals were ready, I poured them over the unlit coals and wood. The goal is to keep the temperature in the indirect zone (right side of the picture below) between 225-240 degrees and cook for 3 1/2 hours. I created a "mopping sauce" of my own- 30% cider vinegar, 20% one part wocheshire sauce, 5% olive oil, 5% tomato paste, 5% water, and the remainder Dijon mustard along with about 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper. I will add the mop sauce ever 40-60 minutes. On the side where I cooked the meat, there are no coals and the zones were not divided. While cooking, I used a rack so there is some debate if the ribs should be flipped or not. The last no-no- do not use a fork when you flip the ribs but use tongs. By using a fork, you will pierce holes in the meat and the ribs WILL dry out. I don't add any sauce until the last 20 minutes at the earliest.
Pay dirt!!!!!! I also did a pork shoulder the same day and I will blog about that next.