How do I BBQ spare ribs properly?
BBQ ribs are delicious. Read about making and cooking ribs and which meat thermometer to use to cook the perfect ribs.
Eating ribs really brings out the inner caveman (or cavewoman) in a person and ultimately satisfies a primitive urge to eat with our hands and gnaw on bones. Meat roasted on the bone always tends to be tasty but here I can show you how to make those ribs even tastier by marinating them.
Marinate ribs for smoking, grilling, BBQ and roasting
If you are like me, you will think that properly cooked ribs are the best thing since sliced bread but pork and beef ribs are only as delicious as the marinating or flavoring. Your marinade is what enhances the looked-for flavor of your ribs. A huge quantity of marinades are available and you will have no trouble finding one which will suit your personal taste and enhance beef or pork ribs gorgeously. Most of the recipes available will specify if they are for use with pork, beef or both.
A good, well-balanced marinade will combine sour, salty and sweet flavors to really bring a bit of zing to your mouth. Some rib munchers prefer an acidic taste and use vinegar or citrus fruits in their marinade.
Before you start to marinate, make sure that the meat you have chosen is at room temperature and that it has been thoroughly washed. Choose a large non-metallic container, with a lid, put the ribs in and cover them well with marinade. The thicker you make or buy your marinade, the longer it will take for the flavor to penetrate through to the bone. Marinate the ribs for at least 12 hours in order to maximize the flavor and when finished refrigerate them (if you are not cooking them straight away). Ribs can be kept for up to 48 hours in the fridge before use. You can also freeze them. To cook them after freezing make sure that you defrost them in the fridge for a day before use, NEVER defrost meat at room temperature.
For extra taste effectiveness, you can baste your ribs. Just create a new batch of the marinade and apply it to the ribs as they cook. Make sure you take your time with preparation and you will experience the best ribs ever. Here one of my own rib marinade recipes that will serve 4. The ingredients for the marinade are very English and this change in flavour is very popular with my American cousins.
- 2½ tbsp dark muscovado sugar
- 1½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp Marmite
- 1 tbsp English mustard
- 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
First, turn the rack of ribs so that the curved side is down and the wider side is facing you. Now peel the membrane away from the bones. Secondly, put all the marinade ingredients together and rub half of it well into the ribs. Put them in a container, cover them and leave them in the fridge for 4 hours. You can turn them during this time to make sure that they are coated.
My perfect method for cooking ribs is in a smoker, however, if you don’t have one you can use your gas grill. The biggest mistake you can make when grilling ribs is to use too much heat. Barbecue ribs need to be grilled “low and slow”- over low heat for a long period. There are a few ways you can slow-cook ribs on a gas grill, but you will have to keep an eye on them.
A grill can be used to cook ribs gradually at a lower temperature, this is “indirect grilling”, a method in which you have a fire on one side of the grill and the food on the other. To allow your grill to operate as a smoker, you require two pans, one to catch the drippings and one filled with water. The extra moisture will stop the ribs from drying. The drippings pan is placed below the ribs and the water pan is placed above the heat.
You can use wood chips soaked in water that are put in the charcoal fire if you are using a charcoal grill. Put them in the smoker box if you are using a gas grill. Either will add a smoky flavour to your ribs. When you place the rack on the grill make sure the ribs do not overlay the fire or they will burn.
Set your grill to a low temperature and cook your ribs for several hours. You want your grill at around 225 F/110 C for the whole cooking time, check on your grill with a thermometer to make sure.
If you are using wood chips, add more every hour. This is mainly important for the first 2 hours. After 4 to 5 hours your ribs become tender and the meat becomes loose around the bones.
You can pre-cook the rack by either boiling the ribs for about 30 minutes or by placing them in a slow cooker. Once you are ready to grill, season the ribs and cook them indirectly until done. The disadvantage of this is that you can literally boil out the flavour of the meat and the ribs will not absorb the flavour of the smoke as well.
If you want perfect ribs, it’s of extreme importance that you check the cooked temperature of them as they cook.
The Finaltouch X10 thermometer from ChefsTemp gives an accurate reading not only for the inside of food but for surface temperatures as well. The diversity of the thermometer’s usage is second to none compared to other thermometers. By getting a reading within 1 second, the Finaltouch X10 from ChefsTemp is prepared to take on any task it is given.
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