If I had my way, I’d skip the candy on Halloween and instead greet costumed kids with a true “treat” – a sandwich baggie filled to the brim with rib tips.
For the uninitiated, the rib tip (a.k.a. brisket, costal cartilage, or break) is the triangular, cartilage-dotted slab of meat attached to the lower end of the sparerib. When preparing St. Louis cut ribs (a.k.a. center cut ribs), this section of meat is removed in order to square up the slab of ribs.
While many see the slab of ribs as the star of the two cuts, the rib tip takes flavor to a whole other level by combining the meaty goodness of spareribs with the fatty richness of pork belly, which sits nearby. Many butchers grind the rib tips for sausage or pork burgers, but if you call a few days in advance of your cookout, butchers will often set aside the rib tips for you. Alternatively, you can simply purchase two full slabs of spare ribs and trim off the rib tips at home.
Some recipes call for rib tips to be cut into long, wide strips prior to smoking, but I find that keeping the slab of tips intact helps keeps the meat from drying out during the long cooking process. After 2 1/2 hours, I wrap the meat in foil to ensure maximum juiciness and tenderness, though this step is completely optional.
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Once they come off of the smoker or grill, I cut the slab into bite-sized pieces that make the perfect snack, appetizer, or main course. Note that rib tips often contain small pieces of cartilage: navigating your way around them as you nibble is part of the overall rib tip experience!
Serve with: Pilsner beer or bourbon-based cocktail.
Published On: 12/18/2017 Last Modified: 4/13/2021
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