Recipe: The Perfect Ribs

I’m not going to insult you with another basic ‘how to grill’ post. I won’t bore you with talk about how to set up your fire so that one side of the grill is hotter than the other so you can sear foods and cook larger, denser cuts at the same time. I won’t waste your time reminding that 30 to 60 minutes before cooking you should remove meats from the refrigerator and season them. And I’ll certainly not rattle on about patting meats dry before you cook them, then brushing them with oil and seasoning again with salt and pepper immediately before they hit the grill. 

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You already knew all of that, right? That stuff is for amateurs, and you're serious griller who’s ready to take this weekend's cookout to the next level. So let's talk ribs. The secret to the best ribs ever to come off your grill is… your oven! Slow roasting your ribs in the oven before finishing them on the grill is the best method we’ve found for juicy, falling from the bone ribs that don’t require an expensive smoker or low-temperature grilling set up.   First, remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. This tough sheet of connective tissue can not only leave your ribs chewy but also prevents the meat from absorbing the seasoning and spice of the rub.

rib trio

Now, about that rub. We’ve been through many different formulations here and have settled on the below recipe. Smoked salt and paprika enhance the finished the flavor of the finished meat, but you could use regular salt and paprika if necessary. The sugar in the rub is crucial. Think of it like micro-brine; the sugar works with the salt to help retain more moisture. The bottom line: sugar in the rub makes your ribs juicier.

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 

To prep the ribs for the first stage of cooking (in the oven), lay them over a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold up the sides and pour in 1.5 fl oz (3 tablespoons) of cider vinegar. Then seal the foil, leaving enough room for the packet to fill with steam as it cooks. The vinegar helps tenderize the meat while keeping it moist. Cook in a 325˚F oven until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes.

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Remove the ribs from the oven, open the foil and allow the meat to cool. Baste the meat occasionally with the juices collected in the foil as it cools. Cut the ribs into potions and reheat on the grill, brushing with BBQ Sauce as they cook. 

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