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Pork Spare Ribs - Grilled/Smoked

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yesterday afternoon I got to wanting those pork spare ribs (St. Louis style) that I took out of the freezer a couple days ago.

I slipped them out of the wrapper, washed off the goo and patted them dry with paper towels.

I have a dedicated coffee grinder for powderizing spices. I pulled all the bottles and jars of spice out of the cupboard to make my secret blend of spices for the spice rub. Some of the items tossed into the grinder include whole peppercorn, dried herbs, [redacted], [********], [classified], [if I told ya, I'd have to kill ya]. Buzz the grinder until it is all a very fine powder.

Rub the spice mix all over the rack of ribs, both sides, all edges, leave no meat unrubbed. Then put the platter in the refrigerator uncovered, for at least 4 hours. It sure makes the 'fridge smell good.

I fired up the charcoal starting chimney and put in mesquite flavored briquettes. On the shelf is the handy smokin' chip can I made for the for the hickory chips. A little handiwork with your antique "church key" and you've got one too. When you poke the holes around the rim, only penetrate the lid 1/2 way. This leaves the points up inside, to hold a briquette or two off the bottom, so as Tom Hanks said in Castaway: "THE AIR GOT TO IT!"

I dumped the coals when they were ready and spread them out, then put a couple live coals in the smokin' chip can and topped those with hickory chips. I put the slab on the grill, meat side down, and lifted the coal bed to its highest position.

Then closed the lid, adjusted the air and chimney vents and let it cook for 20 minutes.

I flipped the rack over to bone side down and found they have just the right amount of char on those ribs. I lowered the coal bed to its lowest position and slathered the top with 1/4 inch of my secret BBQ sauce.

Everyone who knows me, knows what's coming up next when they see that classic bottle of my sauce. I'm known as the "Q-Master". The recipe is classified, of course. I closed the lid and let those ribs cook over the slowly dying fire for 50 minutes. The sauce soaks in past the char, softening it up and complementing the rub.

It got too dark outside to photo the ribs on the grill as they finished, so here they are on the platter, ready to cut. I have never understood that old-timer fetish for ribs that "fall off the bone". That's for grannies and duffers with bad or no teeth. Falling off the bone is OVERCOOKED. These ribs are ready when the meat has pulled back from the bone tips about 3/8th of an inch.

Here they are, cut, plated and ready to chomp.

post #2 of 17
Those are some fine looking ribs there Greg. you did a great job and I like the old grill those old smoker/grills just keep going an going.PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #3 of 17
Great Job Greg...PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. I wanted to give the technique, not my recipes.

post #5 of 17
Many people share their recipes here, but if you have commercial aspirations for yours, good luck.

As for the direct heat method you used, I noticed it did not provide for a smoke ring of any kind, as the meat in your pic is all gray and charred looking. I imagine the meat was tough as well.

If you are open to improving those ribs, check out some rib posts in the pork section for tips for a slow smokey tender rib.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
You may have missed the thread's title, "Pork Spare Ribs - Grilled/Smoked". So these aren't smoker-cooked ribs, they are grilled under cover with smoking chips.

Meat has to slow-cook for several hours to develop that pretty (and quite useless) smoke ring. This method is excellent when you don't have time to wait 4 hours for dinner.

Yes, this direct heat method described does char the surface of the meat a bit. That is flavor developing, which doesn't happen at all with slow & low heat smoking.

The thick layer of thick BBQ sauce that is applied to the charred surface, mellows those char flavors; and the thin layer of firm, char meat is softened during the 50 minute slower & lower heat cooking period. You might compare that developed flavor complexity as similar in nature to charring the inside of a whiskey barrel, to improve the liquor's overall flavor.

The thick layer of sauce also steam-tenderizes the meat as it cooks. So no, it does not come out tough, as you have imagined. The pork is juicy, flavorful, and lip-smackin' good.

Instead of using your imagination and coming up with erroneous conclusions, I suggest you grab a rack-o-ribs, fire up your own grill and give it a try. Your long-held & mistaken beliefs will crumble.

post #7 of 17

evidence left behind

In the upper far reaches of my spice cabinet I found some remnants of [redacted], [********], [classified], AND [if I told ya, I'd have to kill ya] left over from when you made those ribs here.

I've sent it out to the lab and expect a report back in a few days. So you'd better send your hit man over; he's only got so much time before the secrets are out! icon_eek.gif
post #8 of 17
Since this was posted in the grilling section I wouldn't expect a smoke ring in a grilled piece of pork. As for gray and charred that often is what people are looking for and why they are grilling them. What you may consider tough may be considered perfect to somebody else.
post #9 of 17
Exactly. I saw this method and just don't see myself charring a good rack of ribs, but I understand others might. This is the first time I've ever seen it done and posted. I'd like to try it, but not on my ribs :)

I merely suggested the established method in case the new poster wasn't aware of it. I now see they obviously are and prefer charring. And rather then my conclusion be called erroneous, we'll call it my opinion based on almost 30 years of smoking BBQ.

Glad you enjoyed your ribs.
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Raceyb - Based on my more than 30 years experience at smoking & grilling, I can see this is just a case of the smoker BBQ vs. Grillin' BBQ rivalry, which has been around for over 2 centuries.

post #11 of 17


Rulers out!

Now Measure!

And the answer is, you're each 30, a measurement to be proud of and happy with.


(Don't mind me; this is the start of a long dark winter season here on top of the world. We need to have fun and that's how I mean this.)
post #12 of 17
Touchee PDT_Armataz_01_12.gif

I'm looking forward to more qview and techniques for grilling from you. I just got a Weber and have been doing some cooking on it instead of the smoker. Everything seems to end up indirect though.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Raceyb - Some BBQ restaurants offer meat called "Burnt Ends". They usually can't keep them in stock because the customers like them so much.

You may want to consider just one experiment in charring some pork, just to see if you might like the flavors. Its been so long since you had any, because of your mellow smoking skills, you've probably forgotten how good it can be. I recommend the technique in this thread for a starting point.

I had a round Weber for my first 20 years, those things seem to last forever. I replaced it about 12 years ago with the barrel type that you can see in my photos here.

post #14 of 17
I'm going to give it a shot, but not sure on what yet. Don't get me wrong, I grill as well as smoke meat. Next time ribs go on sale I'll copy your method exactly using my own rub and sauce and blog about the experience. Maybe your on to something...
post #15 of 17
Not that these are the ribs that everyone should measure succss by...but I was shocked to find out YEARS ago that The Rendezvous in Memphis basically grills their ribs over charcoal...there is no "low and slow" going on there...and I thought their ribs were pretty damn good, not the best I'd ever had - but good none the less! I think on the Food Network show they did about the 'Vouz - the head chef said they are done over Kingsford for 3-4 hours. I could be wrong though...but it certainly wasn't the "old way" of doing them all day over lower heat.

Personally, I think that low and slow is the best - but if you can get a good cut of ribs and get them done in a couple hours to your liking, that's just great!

Still - a friend of mine did some ribs this Sat. while I was out of town with my wife...according to friends, he cooked them at 230 - 240° for 8 hours. They went on and on and on about the intense flavor. Now to me - you can't duplicate THAT in a couple hours, but I AM going to try doing ribs on my charcoal grill soon...I like the idea of a little bit of char on the surface.
post #16 of 17
I always meaure my success as to if my wife likes what I cook. I love meat, just don't burn it. So my taste isn't as discrimminating. The other day, thanks to those on this board, I was able to get her to say that my ribs were officially the best she ever ate. No sauce was needed. I did it low and slow. Lots of flavors were there. I am also of the opinion that if I wanted my ribs sooner that I could follow the directions laid out here and sounds like I would have some very good ribs as well. Some day I can promise that I will try it. It is always good to have some other type of artillery to your arsenal. Thank you for another way.
post #17 of 17
20 plus years ago my way of cooking ribs was to foil and cook over direct heat on a kettle for an hour.Very tender,but no smoke etc....
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