Before I continue, I must admit I should have taken pictures. I should also admit (before my friend Jimmy says otherwise) these are not the best ribs in the world. Nevertheless, the satisfaction these ribs brought my friends was monumental, and my hands were too occupied to grab a camera. The recipe is easy if you have the time and ingredients. You need to prepare these a night in advance to do it right. The rest involves technique, and I cover that later.
“LOIN BACK” Ribs – “LOIN BACK” ribs are meatier than “BABY BACK” ribs, but both work.
1-2 cups wood chips (optional, read below)
BRINE (for every rack):
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup kosher salt
2 quarts water
DRY RUB SEASONING:
Paprika (4 parts, for color)
Chili Powder (2 parts)
Ground Cumin (2 parts)
Dark Brown Sugar (2 parts)
Salt (2 parts)
Garlic Powder (1 part)
Dried Oregano (1 part)
Ground black pepper (1 part)
Ground white pepper (1 part)
Cayenne pepper (Half-part)
For every rack of ribs, you’ll need to brine them in a solution of sugar, salt, and water for at least two hours. I prefer to use big Ziploc bags, but use whatever you like to submerge and refrigerate them in. Cut them in halves to save space. After two hours, remove them from the brine and dry with paper towels.
Seasoning is unique to everyone, so feel free to exercise some creativity with this part. Some people prefer spicy, some prefer sweet. No matter what you use, you’ll want to blend a few (or all) of the ingredients above to create your own special rub. You’ll want about ¼ cup of seasoning for each rack. Rub generously into the ribs, covering as much meat as possible.
Once seasoned, wrap the ribs in plastic wrap, tightly. I wrap them twice to prevent air from getting at them, and I even use a big Ziploc bag on top of that. Refrigerate overnight.
I grill my ribs. It’s not a difficult task, but doing it right requires some extra effort. Apart from a grill (charcoal preferably) you’ll want to consider wood chips. Most cooks agree that hardwood (like hickory, oak, or mesquite) chips add a nice, smoky flavor you want in your food. It’s not necessary, but you should consider it, especially if you use a gas grill (gas has no flavor). Soak your wood chips in cold water for at least an hour before using. Wrap in tin foil and perforate with modest openings on top to allow smoke to escape.
You’re ready to grill when the temperature reaches 350 degrees inside. If you don’t have a thermometer, wait until the briquettes have a thin layer of gray ash on them, and it’s difficult to hover your hand over them. Move them all to one side of the grill (away from the top lid vent) and keep your bottom vents open. Put your wood chips on top of the charcoals. Place your ribs meat-side down on the opposite side of the grill, right under the lid vent, away from the charcoals. You’ll begin to see; the ribs cook by convection, drawing heat and smoke up through the grill, over the ribs and out the top. It’s a beautiful process.
The ribs need between two and four hours to cook. Every half hour, flip and rotate their position. The temperature inside will drop over that time, so you may have to add more briquettes if it dips below 250 degrees. They’ll be ready when the meat pulls away from the bone.
Sauces and extra seasoning are optional at this point. Like the dry rub seasoning, I encourage you get creative. As is, your ribs will be flavorful, succulent, and the prize of any cookout. Enjoy!