This post isn’t going to be my usual recipe post. I know I need to do more recipes but sometimes I just don’t have the time, sorry about that. Today though I am doing things a bit different. You see I just bought a new Weber grill. Now before I go on about that, I have a little back story for you. Truth is I had never bought a grill until now. After my wife and I got married my Dad found a fixer upper. It was great. A gas grill that was very adequate for my needs at the time. I had that grill for 6 or 7 years. That is until someone gave me my current gas grill, a Char Broil. It is much larger than my previous one and I do a ton of grilling on it. The point I want to make is that I have never actually done my research and bought a grill until now. I went with the 22 1/2″ Weber One Touch Gold Kettle Grill
I got this grill for many reasons but the main reason was that it is versatile. It can not only be used as a grill but as a smoker as well. Smoking, as some say, is the real BBQ. Low and slow. Another reason is the grill grate has 2 hinged areas on opposite sides so you can add coals or wood chunks without having to take the whole grate off. My first try at smoking was pork spare ribs. I feel this is the best meat to start with since its a relatively small cut of meat. Now that said, I have been going BBQ crazy, watching so many YouTube videos, and reading BBQ books, that I have gleaned some techniques and tips for smoking some tasty ribs. I figure there are people out there just like me that have no idea where to start so I have made a list that should lead myself and others to make some awesome ribs. Now this is not a perfect list by any means, so feel free to give advice where you see fit. This list is also in a semi chronological order to help me and others get things right:
- Take ribs out 30-60 mins before cooking so they aren’t cold when they go into the smoker/grill.
- If you are using wood chips instead of wood chunks you will want to soak them.
- Remove the membrane from back of ribs and any of the meat flap that remains there. The membrane is a tough piece on the back of the ribs. Take a butter knife to loosen it up and use a paper towel to get a good grip on it and rip it off.
- Slather ribs all over with a light coating of yellow mustard so there is something for the rub to adhere to the meat with. (The taste won’t be there after cooking.)
- Liberally sprinkle your rub on. NO RUBBING! Just sprinkle then gently pat it in.
- Start the charcoal going. I have a charcoal chimney which makes this very quick.
- Get a spray bottle and fill it with apple juice or something else if you prefer.
- Once the charcoal is white and ashy, put it in the grill on one side for 2 zone cooking method. I use one of these Weber Charcoal Briquet Holders and put it on one side. I would also recommend if you buy a kettle grill to also buy a thermometer like this one so you know what temperature it is in the kettle. You will need to drill a hole to accommodate one but its worth it You want the temp to be between 225° to 275° for low and slow smoking. On a kettle grill you have adjustable air vents that will help you get that sweet spot.
- Get a disposable 13×9 aluminum pan and fill with water or apple juice and put it opposite of the coals below where the meat will go. This will help stabilize the temperature in the grill, catch the drippings from the meat so no flareups occur, and help keep the meat moist.
- Put the ribs on the grill grate above the drip pan and add a couple of chunks of wood onto the coals. I found and awesome place in Phoenix that sells all sorts of BBQ stuff including different woods, they also ship stuff from their website – BBQ Island. I used 75% apple wood and 25% hickory, I even used some cherry chips as well.
- Keep an eye on the the temp so you don’t lose or gain heat and make sure there is smoke coming out the top of the vents, if not just add another chunk or handful of chips onto the coals.
- After about 45 minutes of smoking start spraying the ribs about every 30 minutes with the apple juice. Some other people use a mop sauce, I didn’t use one this time but there are some good ones out there that can take the place of the apple juice spraying.
- Smoke for 3 hours rotating once so both sides get evenly done. This time frame is for St. Louis style ribs. For Baby Backs go 2 hours.
- You can skip this step and just keep them smoking but I did it and the ribs came out awesome: Get some large sheets of tin foil and wrap each rack, with some apple juice, in one sheet of tin foil and put the ribs back on the grill for 2 hours. Even though they are in the foil, keep the smoke going and the temp even.
- For the last hour take the ribs out of the foil and put them back on the grill for indirect heat. We are looking for retraction of the meat off the bone.
- If you like BBQ sauce on your ribs, you want to add that the last 15 minutes or so, this is so the sugar in the BBQ sauce doesn’t burn. Pour the sauce on and brush it evenly over the ribs, and if you want put them over the coals and let the BBQ sauce caramelize.
- Let ribs rest for a little bit then cut them up and serve with some awesome potato salad or any other sides you want.
I found a rub recipe that I thought was similar to what I thought a good rib rub should be. I liked it but I would make some tweaks to it the next time, maybe more brown sugar, less smoky paprika.
Adapted from Elizabeth Karmel
- 2 T. smoky Spanish paprika
- 2 T. kosher salt
- 3 T. sugar
- 2 T. brown sugar
- 1 T. cumin (I didn’t put this much in my rub, a couple of dashes.)
- 1 T. chile powder
- 1 T. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 T. cayenne pepper
- 1 T. onion powder
- 1 T. garlic powder
- 1 T. celery salt
- 1 t.oregano, crushed
- Mix all spices, sugars, and salt in a bowl, making sure to break up any brown sugar clumps. Can be stored in an air tight container for 6 mos.
My Dad’s Super Simple and Tasty Homemade BBQ Sauce
- 1 C. Heinz Heinze Ketchup
- 1/2 C. Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
- 1/4 t. Cayenne Pepper
- 2 T. Mustard
- 1/2 t. Salt
- 1/2 C. “Colgin” Liquid Smoke Natural Hickory (Mesquite works as well)
- 1/2 C. Brown Sugar
- 1 T. Molasses
- Mix all ingredients well and enjoy.
So I call on all of you backyard pit masters who read my blog to give me any tips, recipes, advice, or anything having to do with low and slow BBQ.