Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ribs It Is

It's been at least 20 years since I barbecued ribs. Hard to believe. Back when we lived in Columbus, I used to do baby back's from time to time, but was never satisfied with the results. When we lived in Chicago, one of the world's great rib joints, Robinson's #1 Ribs, was just around the corner and it was simply easier to go there, or to our fall-back joint, Russell's, and grab a rack.

My daddy used to do ribs all the time on his pit and in all likelihood, ribs were the first bbq I ever had. But over the years I've grown partial to pulled pork, brisket and chicken, so I simply never had the urge to do my own ribs.

Until last Friday. Not sure what it was. Maybe I needed the challenge. I've been on the grill a lot this summer, but mostly for quick hits on burgers, sausages, dogs and chicken. But something was telling me it was time to test my grillmanship and burn a rack.

Off to the store on Saturday morning where I picked up a nice slab of spareribs. After trimming, I poured a couple of cups of apple cider vinegar and the juice of one lemon over them and stuck them in the fridge for a couple of hours while I prepared a rub and a sauce.

Here's the basic rub I threw together:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup paprika
3 1/2 Tbl coarse salt
3 Tbl black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp cayenne

After makinig the rub, it was onto the sauce. Again, just a basic, ketchup-based sweet sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbl molasses
2 Tbl mustard
1 Tbl hot sauce
1 Tbl of the rub
2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp black pepper

Over a medium heat, bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

I also decided to make a cauliflower salad as a side. It's basically potato salad recipe using cauliflower instead of the potatoes to cut down on the carbs.

1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 red chili pepper, chopped

Cut the cauliflower into florets and steam until soft (but not squishy). Let them cool to room temperature. Once cooled, chop the florets into bite-sized pieces and add to a bowl with the other ingredients.

Make a dressing of:
1 cup mayo
2 Tbl vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard

Mix the dressing in with the veggies and sprinkle some paprika on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put in the fridge for a couple of hours. It's not a dead ringer for potato salad, but is very tasty.

It was finally time to set up the grill for indirect heating. I placed an aluminum drip pan in the center, and when the coals were hot, placed an equal amount on either side of the pan and a cup of soaked hickory chips on each side.

I pulled the ribs from the fridge, rubbed 'em up real good and put them in the center of the grill, over the drip pan.

My first check came about 30 minutes in. I sprayed the ribs with some of the marinade to keep them moist, and I also put some foil under the tips because it appeared they were getting a little burned.

After an hour, I added a few more coals and chips to each side, plus gave the ribs another squirt from the sprayer.

I repeated the routine every 30 minutes while the ribs were on the grill.

After about an hour and 45 minutes, the meat was pulled back from the tips of the ribs. I gave the top a good brushing with the sauce and put the lid back on the grill for a final 20 minutes of cooking.

The shot at the top of the page was taken just before the ribs came in the house. There was more than enough to share with the other meat eaters who were home at the time. And even the cauliflower salad got solid reviews.


Maggie said...

The meal looks quite delish! I have a Weber charcoal grill (as hubby will use nothing other than charcoal), so I've put off attemtpting to do some ribs, but I see (and read) now that it can be done quite easily!

I do all of the indoor cooking, and leave the grilling to Rob, but he's not been in the mood for grilling over the last year, so it looks like I will soon be doing all of the indoor and outdoor cooking if I want any barbecue ribs!

I shall give this a try one weekend when I'm not on call!

Sullicom said...

I use a Weber, too. Just never felt that a propane grill is real bbqing.

A couple of tips if you're going to do the ribs on your Weber. First, make sure to oil the grate well before putting the meat down. Second, lay it lenghthwise along the grate so that you'll be able to open the side flaps on the grate to add the extra coals and wood chips.

Chef JP said...

Hey Hey Sully-Man! Enjoyed your post -- I'm a rib lover from way back. I found the Cauliflower Salad to be of great interest & will try this dish at home. All the best!