For any BBQ lover, the grilled ribs are one of the most fascinating food delicacies. The exotic and amazingly tasty grilled ribs have always been a popular item on food menus across the world. Pork ribs are commonly used for preparing this delicious barbecue.
However, cooking this delicacy requires some amount of culinary skills. A newbie cook could initially find the cooking process a little tough to master. Grilling ribs can be made relatively easy by patience, some practice, and right cooking techniques.
Different Type of Ribs You Can Barbecue
Pork ribs are the most popular choice for grilling ribs. Pork Baby-Back Ribs are the most popular type for grilling. They come from near the top of the rib cage. Usually, they have a length of 3-6 inches. They are also the easiest to cook. Pork Spare-Ribs come from the lower rib cage area and are bigger than the Baby-Back ribs.
They take a longer time grilling. The Baby-Back ribs are meatier while the spare ribs have more fat content. Some people use beef ribs for grilling. Theses are larger and tougher than the pork ribs. They take much longer time to cook, especially if you want them to be as tender as grilled pork ribs.
Expert cooks usually braise them before grilling. A shorter variety of beef ribs are also sometimes used, which is commonly called as “Beef Short Ribs”.
What Makes Grilled Ribs So Special?
All BBQ lovers agree that the smoked flavor in the grilled ribs makes it so special. The tender ribs with a smoked flavor are an irresistible attraction for most food lovers. This is the precise reason why charcoal grills are often used for grilling ribs.The low and slow heat on the charcoal grill does the trick.
The ribs slowly absorb the smoked flavor from the burning charcoals. It is important to maintain the temperature of the grill at around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. The slow heating is necessary to prevent the ribs from burning or drying out.
The entire cooking could take anywhere between 3 to 5 hours depending on the thickness of the meat and ribs.
Prepare the Ribs for Grilling
Cut any excess tissue with kitchen scissors and remove it to give a good look to the rack of ribs. Remove the membrane on the bone side of the rack with a sharp knife. This skin acts like a tough barrier for the entry of flavor into the meat. Wash the ribs with water and quickly dry them with a paper towel.
Rubbing the Ribs with Spices
On both the sides of the ribs, sprinkle salt and your favorite spices. Special ready-made dry spice mixtures are also available in the market for rubbing on the pork ribs. Brown sugar, garlic, paprika, black pepper and other spices can go into the mixture.
After sprinkling a generous amount of spices, spread it evenly on all the sides of the ribs by thorough rubbing. Cover the ribs with an aluminum foil and refrigerate it for about an hour. There is another method for adding the spicy flavors to the ribs. Marinate the pork ribs with a thin and sugar-free marinade.
Thick sauces and sugar do not seep through the meat pores. Keep it in the refrigerator overnight and allow it to absorb the flavors.
Make Your Grill Ready
You can use either a charcoal grill or a gas grill. Expert cooks normally prefer charcoal grills for slowly heating the ribs at a lower temperature. Cooking on a gas grill could be a challenge. Grilling ribs on such types of grills are usually faster, but the higher temperature tends to dry out the juiciness of the ribs. The outcome could be less succulent with gas grills. For a charcoal grill, use larger wood pieces for heating and smoking the ribs. The gas grills require smaller wood chips for smoking.
Mesquite and hickory are the two popular brands of wood chips for giving the meat a distinctive smoky flavor. Immerse the wood chips in water for half an hour before using in the grills. Nicely clean the grate of the grill with some wire brush. Dip a paper towel in vegetable oil and use it to rub on the grill grates. This lubrication prevents the ribs from sticking to the grates of the grill.
Now heat up your grill. For the charcoal grill, after some initial formation of ash, move the coal chunks to one side of the grill. Place few wood chunks on the coal. On the cooler side of the grill put a small pan with about one inch of water in it. The steam generated from the water keeps the meat and the ribs moist and soft. For a gas grill, an indirect heat source is produced by lighting only half of the burners. Put the soaked wood chips in the smoking box. Then place this box between the grilling surface and the flame.
The Grilling Process
Place the ribs on the grill and cook with the lowest possible heat. Grilling ribs require time and patience. You can occasionally brush the ribs with your favorite sauce while the slow and low heating continues. The ideal cooking temperature is 200 C 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Grilling ribs might take as long as 3-5 hours.
How to Know when Grilling Ribs is Over?
When the cooking is complete, the ribs should appear rich brown in color with a crusty texture outside. If the ribs are done, they are tender and picking them up from the middle causes them to break or slump. You can use a toothpick or a fork to pushing into the meat.
When the cooking is over, fork or toothpick should easily pierce into the meat. Brush the ribs with a final coat of barbecue sauce. Keep the ribs on the grill for another 10 minutes. Now the delicious ribs are ready. You can serve them to your admiring guests.