We had talked about it for weeks and weeks. My housemates and I @ the beach house wanted to smoke some ribs on our grill. CJS took the lead and did some preliminary research to understand the basic concept of cooking ribs, and turning a gas grill into a smoker. I did a little bit of research myself mainly to understand the difference between spare ribs, baby back ribs and short ribs. Here’s a good article if you’re interested too; ultimately they’re all different cuts of meat.
But that’s where the reconnaissance stopped. We made a conscious decision to not google, wiki, inquire or research anything about ribs the day of… for this was a day of “winging it”. And since this was a day of experimentation, we opted to smoke both back baby back ribs and spare ribs. We used a combination of dry and wet rubs, with the dry rub being added first and the wet rub to follow after an hour of cooking. We agreed that if we got the cooking and tempering aspect of the ribs right, next time we’d make our own dry and wet rubs.
Considering I ate my entire body weight in ribs, I’d say we got the cooking down just right!
What we did [A big thanks to JV for taking charge in the meat preparation and getting his hands dirty, literally].
- CJS created a water bath for the bottom of the grill so that the smoke coming off the water essentially turned the grill into a smoker. We then pre-heated the grill on medium heat so that it didn’t get too hot. After a short while, we shut off both rear burners and adjusted the front burners for the whole grill so that the temperature was just under 300°.
- JV then doused the ribs on both sides with the dry rub [use any of your choice]. Make sure to get in all the nooks and crannies.
- With the grill being shy of 300° we threw the ribs on. We threw the baby back ribs in the back where there was less heat and kept the larger spare ribs towards the front. [A total “winging it” moment].
- We waited [ES suggests cracking a beer, making a frescarita*, playing cards or corn toss while you do this. Or if you’re like us, do all of the above].
- After about 30 minutes, we flipped the ribs.
- We waited again [and repeated above]
- After a total hour of cooking, CJS and JV slathered one side of the ribs with the wet rub [again, use any of your choice]. We did one side at a time so that the sauce didn’t immediately slide off the ribs upon flipping.
- Waited another 30 minutes.
- Once the 90 minute mark hit, we slathered the other side of the ribs with the remaining sauce; in total we used almost an entire jar of Stubbs BBQ sauce.
- After about 2 hours in total and copious amounts of smoke emanating from the top of the grill, we turned all burners back on to low-medium heat, raising the temperature close to 400°. We then cooked the ribs for an additional 10 minutes on each side. Raising the temperature at the end really helped crisp and char the outside skin.
- And last but certainly not least [in fact, probably the most important], we let the ribs rest for about 10-15 minutes.
[The finished product]
Feeling like a pack of wolverines devouring their prey on an episode of True Blood, we talked about what we would do differently next time. One, we’ll make our own dry and wet rubs, and two, we’re going to try using soaked wood chips at the bottom of the grill for additional flavoring.
[I was fully caught on camera licking the plate clean.. last woman standing]
[Just me & my ribs]
This may not have been the most efficient, technically sound or logical way of smoking ribs, but it worked! All in all, it was “great success” [in the voice of Borat].
*Frescarita [courtesy of SES]. One of my favorite summer cocktails at the moment. Pour two shots of good white tequila over ice, fill glass with Fresca, and add splash of fresh lime juice, with a lime wedge to garnish. So refreshing on a hot summer day!