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Ribs 101

So I've never made ribs...well I've made short ribs but that's different. I would like to try to make them this weekend, but I really have no idea what I'm doing. I have a few recipes from some books but it's always nice to get actual opinions. What kind should I buy? I would like to grill them (gas grill) if it all possible.

I perused some other threads but wanted to ask you fine folks, what is YOUR way of making ribs? Any other helpful hints, tips, tricks, etc?

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  1. it depends what you like. Pork, right? For country style, I usually simmer them in a liquid, like beer or water with onion, bay leaf, peppercorns. I finish them on the grill.
    For a rack of ribs, I usually bake them, or cook low, slow, on indirect heat on our Weber. I rub them with seasonings, first. I like dry ribs, with sauce on the side, or added at the very last minute so as not to burn.
    I don't do bone-in beef ribs (other than short ribs).

    1 Reply
    1. re: wyogal

      Pork is preferably since it's more affordable :)

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        Nope, nor do I have the ability to build one before this weekend. Would be a fun project sometime though.

        1. re: juliejulez

          you can soak wood chips, wrap them in tinfoil and make a smoker

      2. I like to season with a dry rub overnight. You can remove the silverskin first if you like, but it doesn't ruin them if you don't. For Gas, I like to cook indirect. This means the center burner(s) is off. The outside ones are on medium or medium-low. Looking for a temperature of 225- 275 degrees. I stack the slabs one on top of the other overn the unlit burner (no more than 3 slabs). Every 30 minutes I rotate them. Bottom slab goes to the top, the rest move down one. The ribs are done when the meat starts to pull away from the ends of the bones and there is still some flex if you pickup a slab. If they don't bend a bit, you've probably over coooked them.

        5 Replies
        1. re: mike0989

          I'd probably just do one slab since it'll likely just be the two of us. Roughly how long do yours take to do?

          1. re: juliejulez

            Sorry, it's hard for me to give timing. I cook largely by the sensses, not a timer. It will depend on how hot your grill is and how meaty the ribs are. The besthelp I can stress is the two visual aides I mentioned. The meat is just starting to pull back from the end oif the bones, and the slaps are still pliable.

            1. re: mike0989

              Well I just meant like... around 30 min, an hour, two hours? More for planning purposes than when I actually go to start cooking them.

              1. re: juliejulez

                Using Mike's basic process, I cooked mine for 3.5 hours and they could have gone a bit longer. BBQ is done when it's done, of course, but I would allow yourself 4 hours or so and have your sides ready so that if the ribs are done early, you can eat early!

                1. re: juliejulez

                  Depending on ambient temp and wind, I usually figure on 4 hrs. More if I'm doing volume and need to stack them up. Temp is 225 - 250

            1. Dry rub ribs of your choice (I prefer spare ribs and Alton Brown's rub recipe), bag and seal them and let sit overnight, slow cook them in a sealed oven bag or sealed foil packet in an oven on 250-degrees for 5-7 hours until tender. Won't have a smoke ring or smoke flavor of a barbecue, but it will be great rib eating.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Rigmaster

                I do exactly this. Then I finish them on the grill to get the crust some folks like, or I finish in a smoker (stovetop is fine -- I used to use a foil lined wok with the ribs on the circular rack and wood dust in the bottom). If you keep the temp around 250 as Rigmaster suggested, your ribs will be wonderfully tender. Alton Brown unseals the foil (so ribs don't steam) and adds liquid so they braise. I do the same. I use white wine and apple cider vinegar as the liquid.

                Most of the taste is from the rub. If you smoke use mesquite or a fruit wood if you can. Don't smoke for too long, particularly if you use hickory or the ribs may become bitter. Check out Alton's recipe or video "Who Loves Ya Babyback?"

                1. re: travelerjjm

                  That's very similar to what I do. I brush the ribs with bbq sauce and put them into a Reynolds cooking bag with a few holes pierced through the top side. They get slow roasted in the oven until they are tender and then I finish them over a low flame on the gas grill just enough to give them a bit of char on the outside surface. I did this yesterday. They turned out perfect and everyone was pleased.