My first attempt at becoming a grill-master had me emailing my brother for advice. He suggested spare ribs over baby back ribs or “country” ribs.
I went to Publix and found these two slabs.
My brother also suggested how I could cut the membrane from the back of the ribs and remove the skirt. Not having a sharp knife in my house, I chose to ask the butcher at Publix to do this for me and was pleasantly surprised that they’d un-package the ribs, and cut it as I asked with no extra charge.
My brother emailed me a couple of rub recipes that he and his son like. I also had a rub recipe from a friend. I reviewed all three, checked my cupboard and pantry for ingredients, and chose to use what I had (picture below).
Now my brother and my friends’ recipes were clearly marked out “Tbs of this, Tsp of that, cup of this, ½ cup of that”. Well, that simply isn’t how I roll. I put a splash of this and a splash of that until I felt that it looked good (color wise) and keeping in mind that I didn’t want it too spicy or too salty. When I felt I had it just right, I grabbed the yellow mustard and squirted it onto the slabs of ribs.
I never would have considered doing this and once told by my brother to do it, I simply could not imagine how the rub could “rub” into the meat if it had mustard all over it. I quickly learned just how the mustard helped to hold the rub.
As instructed by my brother, I wrapped up each slab in saran wrap. After wrapping in the saran wrap, I then wrapped in aluminum foil and placed each slab into the refrigerator to sit over night.
In preparation for cooking the next day, I reviewed some other videos that my brother emailed me. The first is one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1v72coiiZ8) that shows how the slabs are set up in a “crown” fashion. This was my plan, but as I soon discovered, my grill is just too small to crown the ribs.
This is my Brinkman 2 burner grill. ($99.00) Great for burgers, steaks, and chicken, but I'm wanting a smoker now.
This had me a little panicky, as I could no longer “crown” the ribs. A quick call to my brother provided the suggestion that I go pick up a rib rack from Wal-Mart. So off to the store I went.
Instead of going to Wal-Mart, I was able to find a rib rack/roast rack combo at my local Ace Hardware store. It was made for the Green Egg but it worked great in my grill, after removing one side of the grate. After I got home I cut the rib slabs in half so that I had 4 pieces to place into the new rib rack.
As pictured, I removed the grate on the indirect heat side so that the ribs could sit lower on the grill to allow the lid to close. I wanted that smoked flavor so I made the pouch as shown in the picture above to place my chips into. The pouch didn’t get hot enough during the cooking process, so it never smoked. Next time, my brother suggests I move the pouch closer to the fire by removing the grate on the direct heat side of the grill also. I will certainly try this next time.
NOW FOR THE COOKING PROCESS:
I squirted each slab with Seneca Apple Juice that I placed into a squirt bottle. I did this each time I opened the grill’s cover, which was only 4 times during the 85 minutes of cook time on a LOW setting. I do not have a grill thermometer (something I will have in the future), so I tried not to open it too often.
About ¾ through the cook time, I saw that one side seemed to be a little darker than the other. I chose to reverse the slabs on the 4th and last time it was opened prior to removing from the grill.
Once the ribs pulled back from the bone a bit, I removed them from the grill, sprayed each with apple juice again and wrapped them in foil. I then placed an old sheet into the bottom of Styrofoam cooler and placed the foil wrapped ribs into the cooler. I topped the ribs off with another old bed sheet as brother instructed I do, well, he said use towels, but our old sheets worked just as well. He said that the reason for this was that you want to fill the air space to allow the ribs to remain hot longer.
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical that the ribs would remain hot, but after 4 hours they were still too hot to handle without utensils. My brother said that the cooking process continued while in the cooler, which added to their tenderness.
The ribs turned out spectacular and are without a doubt the best I have ever done. I received many compliments. My first tastes had me thinking they were a bit spicier than I would have preferred, but after marinating in the cooler, the spice blended quite well and it actually turned out to be just fine.
I wish I had taken the “money shot” of the finished product but in my amateurish way, I was busy entertaining and making margaritas and forgot the camera. Oh well, there is always next time, and there will be a next time.
A special thanks to my brother (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/user/callahan4life), Grill Master Extraordinaire.