You can make it happen. Here’s the real smoked BBQ ribs recipe, good enough to bring home a trophy in a cook-off. In fact, many readers have done exactly that with this ribs recipe. There may be a few more steps in this process than you like, but it’s not hard and we’re talking restaurant grade here. Better. You don’t need a special smoker, although it helps. Once you’ve mastered the basic concepts, you can cook killer authentic smoked BBQ ribs on most charcoal and gas grills!
1 smoker or grill with a lid. You can use a dedicated smoker or any charcoal grill or gas grill as long as it has a lid. A tight fitting lid with adjustable vents like those on the Weber Kettle is best.
1 (18 pound) bag of charcoal for charcoal grills or smokers. You won’t use all that charcoal, but because you will need more on cold, windy, or wet days than on sunny and warm days, have a full bag on hand. I prefer briquets (read my article on charcoal to see why). Absolutely do not use the instant igniting stuff that has solvent in it. Chimney starters are by far the best way to start charcoal, especially for long slow cooking where the smell of the solvent in charcoal starter fluid can ruin the taste of the meat. Read my article on how to start a charcoal fire.
A lot of folks boil their ribs before grilling them and slathering on the sauce. The concept comes from Eastern Europe where Poles and Czechs prepare ribs by simmering them in water with cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and caraway seed, making a very nice pork stew.
But water is a solvent. It pulls much of the flavor out of the meat, and it can make the meat mushy. When you boil meat and bones, you make a rich flavorful soup. All that color in the pot is flavor that you can never get back into the meat. Boil meat too much and water can even dry it out by causing the proteins to contract and squeeze the moisture out of the muscle fibers.
People talk wistfully about meat that falls off the bone, but if it does, it has probably been boiled and denuded of its best flavors. What they’re really loving is the unctuous barbecue sauce. That’s why McRibs are so popular. They’re just ground pork swimming in sweetened ketchup mixed with liquid smoke and some other flavors. Classic Southern ribs have the same mouthfeel and bite as a tender juicy steak and most important, they taste like pork, not just sauce. An authentic smoked BBQ ribs recipe results in meat that tugs off the bone rather than fall off the bone.
If you are really really in a hurry, you are better off steaming or microwaving them and then finishing them on the grill or under the broiler.
Just don’t boil ’em!
Click here for my complete definition of Amazing BBQ Ribs, what I look for when I judge barbecue ribs in competitions.
This easy low-and-slow barbecue ribs recipe needed a name when I first published it, and Doug and Trudy Calvin of Palm Springs, CA provided it. He wrote “I fixed ribs yesterday by following your recipe. My girlfriend made me promise that for her last meal on this planet I would fix the same ribs.”
There are several very good recipes for dorm dwellers, folks with no grills, and for blizzard days.
The best advice I will ever give you: Develop a relationship with your butcher.
Baby back ribs are cut from the loin so the amount of meat on the baby backs is determined by your butcher.
Most grocers and butcher shops get their baby backs pre-cut in boxes, and the amount of meat on the ribs is determined by the price the store feels it can charge, and what the competition forces them to charge.
Even if they get their baby backs pre-cut, many butchers also get whole bone-in rib roasts.
If you ask nicely, your butcher may be willing to custom cut the baby back ribs off the rib roast leaving extra meat on them. Want baby backs with 1/2″ of meat on top? No problem? Want a whole inch? No problem. Expect to pay more for these extra meaty ribs, but the result is worth it.
A better option: Just buy the whole bone-in rib roast and then ask the butcher to remove the baby backs leaving about 1/2″ of meat on them. Then keep the de-boned loin meat for roasting separately. Yummmmmm!
Hungry for more ribs recipes, tips, and techniques? Click here to download our ebook “Amazing Ribs Made Easy” $3.99 on Amazon (free Kindle app runs on all computers and devices). Or, get this book and others FREE as a member of the AmazingRibs.com Pitmaster Club. Click here to join.
Serve with: Hefeweizen or pale ale.
Published On: 11/26/2015 Last Modified: 4/21/2021
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The Slow ‘N’ Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.
Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool
A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!
Click here to read our complete review
The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.
Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography
With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review
Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.
Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.
The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone’s Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all!