This is a clever way to cook ribs in two hours on a gas grill.
If, however, you have a few hours, you can cook them better without the Ribalyzer (it does not take eight hours to make great ribs on a smoker as the inventor claims – here’s how to cook Last Meal Ribs the proper way). Essentially the Ribalyzer is a device for smoking then steaming.
Here’s how it works. Start by putting a spice rub on the meat. It works best with the straight bones of St. Louis cut ribs rather than baby backs. You throw a lot of wood chips or chunks on the flavorizor bars of your grill, or in a perforated pan under the cooking grate. Then you place the bottom half of the Ribalyzer on top of the grates and pour in liquid. The inventor likes to use soft drinks and beer, but I could not taste a difference between beer and water in the pan. The dominant flavors are the rub and the sauce.
In goes the rib rack, then the ribs, which sit just above the liquid but below the lip of the pan. Fire up the grill, and drop the lid. Let it smoke for 45 minutes with the liquid simmering but not boiling hard. This gives the ribs decent smoke flavor, but it is more pronounced on the upper half that is not in the pan. Then you add more water and put the cover on the pan which seals the meat in a steamy environment, like an extended Texas Crutch for another hour and 15 minutes.
The results are very soft meat, I find them a bit mushy, and not quite as rich in flavor as if they had been dry roasted. The biggest drawback: No bark. Bark is the dry crunchy crust that you get with dry smoke roasting and I think one of the best reasons to smoke ribs low and slow. And you can do it on a gas grill if you follow my instructions without wasting a lot of aluminum pans and cleaning a rib rack. Bottom line: Ribalyzer makes good but not great ribs in about half the time.
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Meathead, BBQ Hall of Famer - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.