Note: We recently had one of our developers throw the beat down on some serious meat making for a fabulous office party. We twisted his arm and got Nolan to share his secrets with us so we can repeat the meat on our own beat. These are some serious deets, so enjoy!
When it comes to BBQ – really good BBQ – there are few things better than a perfect rack of pork ribs. The bones just enhance the flavors of the pork naturally. Ribs are also generally a thinner cut of meat, which allows different rubs and sauces to penetrate deep into the meat which just isn’t possible with thicker cuts.
So, when it comes down to it, what do you need to create the perfect rack of ribs?
1) A Smoker
Or as we like to call it in Texas…a pit. I’m not talking about your standard backyard BBQ grill either. The right kind of smoker needs the capability to cook using indirect heat. This means that the meat is placed next to, rather than directly over, the flames.
We need to fuel the fire. Apple, cherry, maple, mesquite, and hickory are just a few of the many types of wood you can choose from. However, we’re in central Texas so keep it local. I would stick with oak or pecan; not only because of availability, but it just tastes better.
Since we’re sticking with pork, this narrows our search a bit; however, there are still a few cuts to choose from: spare ribs, St. Louis style, rib tips, and my personal favorite baby back ribs.
4) Rib Rub
The best ribs made from the best pit masters all have one thing in common, a great rib rub. If you don’t have one, try mixing up the following:
Rib Rub Recipe
- 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup paprika
- 2 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1 – 2 tsp cayenne pepper.
5) BBQ Sauce
The sauce is the final piece to the puzzle. It acts as the glaze that will really get your taste buds going. Pick your favorite BBQ sauce to coat the ribs.
BBQ requires time. You cannot rush this or you’ll regret it. In fact, the best thing about cooking good BBQ is that it forces us to slow down.
The day before the cooking is to begin, mix your chosen rub and apply it evenly to the ribs. After the rub is applied, wrap the ribs in butcher paper or tin foil, and set them in the fridge to rest overnight.
On the day of cooking, start your fire in the smoker and get the temperature inside up to 225 degrees. Once the pit is fired up, remove the ribs from the butcher paper or tin foil and throw ’em on the fire.
Now, this is the most critical part of the process. When barbecuing any kind of meat, the most important thing is to keep the temperature inside the smoker as constant as possible. Try to keep the temperature between 225 and 250 degrees at all times.
The ribs will cook inside the smoker for around 3.5 hours total. Halfway through the cook, it’s nice to give the ribs a good smothering of BBQ sauce. Also at this point, if they are starting to look nice and charred, you’ll want to wrap them in tin foil or butcher paper for the remainder of the time in the smoker so they don’t get too charred from the smoke.
This next step may be the hardest thing to abide by in the entire cooking process.
When you remove the ribs from the fire after 3.5 hours, you’ll really want to start eating them immediately; but you can’t just yet. Letting the meat rest is the next most important thing after keeping a constant temperature. Take them out of the smoker, and if you didn’t wrap them at the halfway point, do that now. Then take the wrapped ribs and store them in a cooler for at least 30 minutes, but preferably for an hour.
Then after the meat has rested, it’s finally time to chow down!