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First QView - Pork Spare Ribs on a Weber Kettle

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

OK ...After messing up a couple of BBQ sessions (I won't mention the spatchcock chicken that looked like a 3-Alarm burn victim), I'm finally doing my fir QView post!  The weather warmed up a bit here in Knik, Alaska, so I felt encouraged to get outside and do some bbq'ing.



 I'm working my way through the Gary Wiviott book on low and slow, and finishing up the second-to-last chapter - pork spare ribs.  Only I cheated - because of our late start, the cool temps, and the desire to watch a movie with my wife, I used a 3-2-1 technique of sorts.  I smoked/BBQ'd for 3 hours at 240 F (plus or minus 10 F), the wrapped in foil and baked in the house oven at 240 F for 2 hours, then opened the foil for a final hour at 240 F (still in the oven).


These were cut St Louis style (no tips).  I started out by washing them down with some white vineger, then brushed mustard on as thin as I could get it.


Next, I liberally spiced with my own Cajun blend (still being refined, else I'd post the ingredients here) on both sides ...then went outside to fire up the grill.  I find that by letting meat sit with the spices on it for a few minutes before BBQ'ing, that the spices absorb some moisture and stay stuck on the meat better.


Weber charcoal starter loaded with Royal Oak all natural hardwood lump charcoal getting fired up.  The cinder blocks keep it out of the snow.


Here is my setup that enables me to keep the temperatures in the kettle below 250 F ...I had a heck of a time trying to get the temperature down until I came up with this setup.  Hard to see, but there is a large aluminum pan under the meat that fills the kettle clear across in the direction of the meat (corners bent inward to match the curve of the kettle) and is filled about 1/2 full of water ...probably 3/4ths gallon.  There is 3/4ths can unlit charcoal in the kettle (NOT under the meat) that has 2 or 3 chunks of hickory in it plus about 2/3rds can lit charcoal and another couple of chunks of hickory in the lit charcoal (kind of a 'minion method' setup).  Above the coals, there are 2 aluminum loaf pans 3/4ths full of water - and I keep them closer to the meat so that they block direct heat from the coals.  With the top vent wide open and the bottom vent about 2/3rds shut, the kettle maintains 250 F or so and you can close the bottom vent down 90% to drop the temperature to 225 F or so.  More water in the big pan will let you run it even cooler.  Note:  Started out with ribs bone side up - not sure if this is right or wrong, but it's what I did.


After an hour and about 20 minutes, I had to re-fill the loaf pans and add another 2/3rds can (and more hickory) to the fire.  While the grill was open, I spritzed the ribs with a mixture of soy sauce, water, EVOO, and more of the Cajun rub.  I also flipped the ribs meat side up.


At 3 hours, I removed the ribs from the kettle, place on a cookie sheet and wrapped in foil (oven already preheated to 240 F)... I squirted more of the soy/water/spice mix onto them and double wrapped in foil, then off into the oven they went for 2 more hours.  At the end of 2 hours, I removed the top layer of foil and baked at 240 F for another hour to help firm and dry the ribs a tad.


Here's what the ribs looked like after the last hour in the oven... a doneness check (pulling on bones, trying to separate them), it was obvious that the meat was now falling-apart tender and ready for the table!


Sweet success!  Reasonable bark, nice smoke ring, super juicy and fall-apart tender!  (Even the bones were tenderized!)



Thanks, All!



post #2 of 6

Nice job, Good looking Ribs 



post #3 of 6


That looks GREAT!

Happy smoken.


post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

I remember the bad ol' days before I knew what I was doing (and I still don't, really).  I just learned about the whole low and slow thing within the last 18 months or so, once in awhile hearing bits and pieces about it, remembering those big brick ovens at Colter's BBQ in Texas where rumor had it that they cooked their briskets for 12+ hours.  Who knows if that was true?  I miss Colter's ...and Texas is a long way from Alaska, so if I want it, I gotta make it myself...


I remember cooking tough ribs on the grill and wondering how people actually managed to make the darn things tender.  Sure, they tasted and looked good ...but were tough.  I remember thinking I had discovered the 'secret' and brought a pressure cooker to a family BBQ once (just once!) ...and ended up serving up a big pot that was a soupy mixture of bones, squishy meat, and BBQ sauce.  NOT what I had imagined!  Temperature and time ...so close, yet so far.  Glad I finally got a clue, thanks especially to the helpful people here.  :)  And figuring out how to do it in a standard Weber Kettle?  Who would've guessed?  I will be getting my WSM sometime soon though ...I'm collecting up the 'enhancements' now (Maverick thermo, Cajun Bandit door, seal kit, lid hinge, handles for the sides etc)...



post #5 of 6

BB, Nice looking food! Nice heat wave too !:icon_biggrin:

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by CrazyMoon View Post

BB, Nice looking food! Nice heat wave too !:icon_biggrin:


I can do low and slow at 0 F outside, or even cooler ...but hot and fast ...no.  310 F is the best I can get out of unless the weather really does warm up (or I build an insulated shelter around the kettle ...duct tape and foam board anyone?)



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