Barbecuing Baby Back Ribs
I have 2 racks of baby back ribs for barbecuing tonight. I also bought some dry rub. Does anyone have recommendations for how to barbecue these on a Webber gas grill that has 3 heating elements? Direct vs indirect? Temperature? Wrap in foil or no foil?
I always use baby backs for barbecueing, and also have a Weber 3-burner grill, so you can trust that this will work for you:
Dry rub the ribs and let them sit a few hours. Soak your wood chips (I use hickory), then drain them and fill 2 or 3 chip trays. Position the trays directly above the front burner, below the grill surface, on the triangular burner covers.
If you have a rib rack (the kind that holds three or four racks upright on edge), it simplifies things as you will not need to turn them during cooking, but if not, two will fit flat on the grill. Place them as far toward the back as you can.
Turn on the front burner only, to about medium. Watch the temperature closely and adjust the gas level slightly up or down until you get it holding at a steady 250° (this may take a half-hour or more to stabilize). If you're using a rack, then just leave it alone until the ribs have been in there about five hours total, checking every so often to make sure the temp is stable. If you don't have a rack, turn the ribs once or twice an hour.
After five hours they will be nicely crusted on the outside, and almost (but not quite) falling off the bone tender.
One caution: this works like a charm for standard supermarket (Swift's Premium, e.g.) baby backs. I tried it once with Niman Ranch ribs, and they had so little fat they basically petrified and had to be tossed out - an expensive lesson indeed!
I apologize in advance because this advice is not going to help you at all! That being said, to get the finest ribs you've ever eaten you should smoke them in a Weber Smokey Mountain smoker. Takes a long time but the result is stellar. A great resource for learning the technique is: www.wiviott.com Follow the "Professor's" five step program and you will not regret it. By the way, I make Stephen Pyle's Ranch Bar-B-Que sauce to go with them.
I have a weber 3-burner as well and have the dry rub method on the calender for the upcoming season. Never done that.
My method has been to bring the three burners to about 300. The i use a wet method versus dry. It is much more hands on as the wet sauce will burn much more quickly and ruin everything. I brush it on and turn every 5-10 minutes. By the end of the 8th or 9th turn i have a pretty good thick tomato based coating on the ribs. They are not fall off the bone tender from a dry, long and low method, but they are pretty darn good for some ribs in CT.
I just made the absolute best ribs to date the other night. I made my own dry rub and then I just baked them long and slow in my oven (275 for about 7 hours... We didnot even have to cut them apart they fell off the bones like butter on corn on the cob... can't wait to do them again. I like them grilled but this beat that 100%.
I used to do the whole process on the grill. I now have a smoker so the only thing I do the same is the rub I use
However, when I had a gass grill I used the indirect method, and cooked them at around 220-degrees for approx. 3 hours on the "cool" side of the grill, I put a drip pan under the ribs to catch the juices.. I used a dry rub(I apply the rub 3-12 hours before cooking), and put a roasting pan filled with soaked wood chips(from Jack Daniels, they sell bags of their chopped up casks) on the hot side of the grill, to get a somewhat smokey flavor.
A couple of comments:
If you buy your ribs at a good butcher they should remove the membrane on the back for you. Also I do not wrap the ribs in foil, or a covered roasting pan. To me that steams the meat instead of cooking it how I like.
I use a similar approach to CindyJ's. You can use your Webber for the same effect by palcing the ribs in a foil covered roasting pan and have the grill on low (or use the indirect method). I use the indirect method and place a piece of water soaked mesquite on the elements for a smoky flavor. I finish my ribs on the grill with very little BBQ sauce (extra on the table for those that like it).
I use the grill to finish the ribs, but not for the main cooking. A few years ago I saved a recipe for grilled ribs from Cuisine at Home Magazine. It's become my no-fail, go-to recipe for ribs.
1. Remove the sinewy membrane from the rack by grabbing the corner with a paper towel and slowly pulling it away from the bones
2. "Dock" the meat between the bones by piercing the meet with a fork. This allows more of the flavor of the rub to penetrate the meat
3. Apply your favorite rub
4. Place ribs in a roasting pan and cover the pan snugly with foil. Let them sit for about an hour to absorb the flavor of the rub
5. Slow-roast the ribs in a 250-degree oven for about 1.5 to 2 hours, until the meat begins to pull away from the bones.
6. Coat your grill with a nonstick spray or with an oil-soaked paper towel; preheat it to medium-high.
7. Brush both sides of the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce and place them on the preheated grill. When they begin to develop a little black char on them, flip and brush again with more sauce. Repeat this process at least twice so that the ribs become well glazed but not burnt.