My Favorite BBQ Ribs

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
Now I like to think of home improvement in the broadest sense of the word, and at least in my opinion, very few things improve a home more than good cooking, especially good grilling. Now I learned most of my grilling techniques from my dad and I've been honing them over the years, but I'm getting pretty close to perfection in the way that I fix ribs.

So I thought I'd share my technique with you. Now there are plenty of beef folks out there who will give me an argument on this, but I prefer pork for my ribs. Either baby back or St. Louis cuts.  I make sure to take the membrane off the inside. This makes for more tender meat and allows flavors to penetrate more deeply.

A table knife and a bit of pulling does the job. Now the flavor in really good ribs comes from three places. The smoke, the sauce and the dry rub that goes on the meat before it even goes onto the grill. Now this recipe for dry rub comes from my good friend Ray Lamp, better known as Dr. Barbecue.

In a mixing bowl, I'm combining one half cup salt, one half cup turbinado sugar, one quarter cup brown sugar, a tablespoon ground garlic, tablespoon of ground onion, two tablespoons paprika, two tablespoons chili powder, two tablespoons ground pepper, two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, one tablespoon of thyme, a tablespoon of cumin, and finally, one teaspoon of nutmeg.

Now, I'm just going to take a spoon and stir all these dry ingredients together. Okay, now I'm going to just spoon some of this onto the ribs - and now and this is why they call it a rub, I'm going to rub this into the meat.

Okay, the meat's ready. Now I'm going to prepare the fire. For smoke, I use hardwood. I really prefer cherry or hickory, but last year I had take down an ash tree in the front yard and I'm bound and determined to use that wood any way I can.

So first of all, I'm going to cut these round pieces here into halves and then again, into quarters. And then drop them in water to soak. Now in my book, the only way to cook really good ribs is with charcoal. And I use something called an indirect method.

You notice I put all of my coals over here on one side of the grill. Now to that, I'm going to add some of the wet wood, just lay this right up on the coals here.  The idea behind wetting this is that we really want, I really want that wood to smoke and not burn. So I like to get it good and wet.

Now good ribs have to be cooked slowly and they have to be kept moist. So the slow part comes by using the indirect method, keeping them from being directly over the coals. And one thing that will help keep them moist is this.

I set a pan over on this side and to that, I'm going to add a little bit of apple juice. I could use wine or water or some other kind of fruit juice - I think apple juice imparts a really nice flavor. Now I'm ready to put the ribs on, then lay these on, bone side down. One there and one here.

The top goes on - now I'm going to close the air vents down, this one on top and this one on the bottom. Want to get the temperature down to about 325 degrees in here and let these guys cook for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

Okay, that looks great. I'd say this part of the cooking process is complete. Now I'm going to remove these from the grill over here to a carving board. And my next step is to brush on some honey. You know, the hardest part about grilling ribs for me at least, is waiting until they're done, because you just keep smelling them and getting hungrier and hungrier and good ribs take a while to do. They need to be slow cooked to be really tender.

Now the next part of the cooking process is what is going to make these fall off the bone tender. I'm going to do is take a foil pan, put about an inch of apple juice in the bottom. Now just to make these fit a little bit better, I'm going to cut them in half and then I'm going to put them in the pan.

And it's okay if they sort of lay up on edge a little bit here. Before I put them back in, I'm going to cover them with some aluminum foil.  Now by this point, the ribs have picked up a lot of smoke flavor. So what I'm kind of doing here is almost baking them. That apple juice is going to provide a lot of moisture. Again, I want to keep the temperature here at about 325 and I'll put this in here and let it go for probably about one more hour.

Well, now these should be really tender. Let's pull the - see, this is the process, that steam coming up from that apple juice is what really finishes these off. Okay, so I'm just going to bring these now over to the cutting board one last time here.

I'm going to brush on some sauce. I like to make my own sauce but I tell you, there are some very good prepared sauces out there. So either way. And when you prepare ribs like this, that smoke flavor is in the ribs. It's not in the sauce. It's just in the meat.

Going to pop these back on the grill just for a few minutes. Let that sauce cook in a little bit and I'll put a little bit more sauce on the rib side of these. Now you can see by removing that membrane on the back, how the meat is just really separating from the -from the ribs. That's really good.

All right, I pronounce these ribs done. Now you can serve these - these are half slabs now, can serve them as half slabs. I like to cut them up into individual ribs. Just makes it easier for folks to eat them.
[MUSIC]
Well I'd say there's only one thing left to do with these babies and that's, enjoy.

How to make delicious barbequed ribs.

Make the most tender and moist ribs you have ever eaten by using a combination of methods including a dry rub, indirect cooking, smoking, apple juice and the sauce of your choice.

This recipe comes from Ray Lampe's book Dr. BBQ's Big-Time Barbeque Cookbook.

For a downloadable PDF file of this recipe click here.

Remove the membrane
Step 1

Remove the membrane

Using either baby back or St. Louis cuts, take the membrane off the inside using a table knife and pulling the membrane off. This makes for more tender meat and allows flavors to penetrate more deeply.

Mix the spices together
Step 2

Mix the spices together

In a mixing bowl, combine one half cup salt, one half cup turbinado sugar, one quarter cup brown sugar, a tablespoon ground garlic, tablespoon of ground onion, two tablespoons paprika, two tablespoons chili powder, two tablespoons ground pepper, two teaspoons of cayenne pepper, one tablespoon of thyme, a tablespoon of cumin, and one teaspoon of nutmeg. Take a spoon and stir all these dry ingredients together.

Rub the spices into the meat
Step 3

Rub the spices into the meat

Spoon some of the spice mix onto the ribs and rub into the meat. Rub spices into both sides of ribs.

Prepare the fire
Step 4

Prepare the fire

Prepare the wood by cutting it into smaller pieces and placing them into water to soak. Then place the charcoal coals on one side of the grill (the indirect method of cooking ribs) and add some of the wet wood on top. The idea behind wetting the wood is that you want the wood to smoke and not burn.

Keep the ribs moist
Step 5

Keep the ribs moist

To keep the ribs moist, set a pan on the side of the grill and add a little bit of apple juice. You can also use wine or water or other kinds of fruit juice but apple juice imparts a particularly nice flavor.

Place the ribs on grill
Step 6

Place the ribs on grill

Lay the ribs on the grill, bone side down and place the top on the grill. Close any grill vents (try to get the temperature down to about 325 degrees) and cook for about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

Brush honey on the ribs
Step 7

Brush honey on the ribs

Remove the ribs from the grill and brush on some honey.

Place the ribs in a foil pan
Step 8

Place the ribs in a foil pan

Take a foil pan and put about an inch of apple juice in the bottom. Cut the ribs in half if necessary, and put them in the pan. Cover with aluminum foil.

Brush the ribs with sauce
Step 9

Brush the ribs with sauce

Keeping the temperature at about 325 degrees, place the foil pan on the grill, put the top on the grill and cook for one more hour. Place the ribs on the cutting board and brush on some sauce - either home-made or prepared.

Place ribs back on grill
Step 10

Place ribs back on grill

Place ribs back on on the grill, put a little more sauce on the rib side and cook for just a few more minutes then remove. Serve the ribs as slabs or cut into individual ribs.