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Pork Ribs -- Baby Back and Spare


tommy
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I'll add a few comments.

I'm not a fan of mopping barbecue of any kind. It tends to wash the rub off. I use a spray bottle spritzer containing a mix of 50% apple juice concentrate and 50% cider vinegar. This will carmelize to a beautiful dark golden hue when smoking at a low (225F) temperature. Too much smoke will blacken things to the point the spritzing is over ridden.

Six hours is a good approximation for spare ribs, but the ribs are done when they are done. Every slab will cook somewhat differently. I think that St. Louis trimmed spares make a nicer presentation, and do that for smaller gatherings. I cook the trimmings and cut them into "knuckle bones" for an appetizer.

I don't use it, but the 3-2-1 method is popular with a lot of folks. That's 3 hours in the smoker, 2 hours wrapped in foil with a bit of liquid, in the smoker, and finally the last hour unwrapped in the smoker to firm up the meat.

I use hardwood lump charcoal as my heat source, and a few fist sized chunks of smoke wood over the first few hours. I like apple and oak, and pecan when I can find it. I like the taste of cherry, but it darkens the meat surface more than I prefer.

I think that parboiling/braising ribs cooks out flavor and over-tenderizes them. If it works for you, I'll never say you are wrong.

Jim

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Like we've discussed in some other smoking threads, snowangel, it's a good tip to know that even at mass-market grocery stores you can usually get whole, untrimmed cuts from the butcher if you just ask.  (I'm saying that for others' benefit, not yours, since I know you're a smokin' professional!)

Oh, yes! When I first moved to our new house, and experimented with a new butcher, I walked in and asked for a big ass brisket with a nice fat cap. He asked what I was doing, and when I explained it, he found just what I want. He has treated me wonderfully ever since. I think butchers like having customers know what meat is, what is can do, and when leaner is better. I have had the same luck at my local supermarket, following my first time buying whole pork shoulders.

My butchers (local private meat market as well as chain supermarket) now know me by name and respect me.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I emphatically recommend brining, but don't overdo it.  There's not much meat on a rib and while you might want to brine a nice thick pork chop for several hours, you shouldn't brine a rack of ribs for too long at all.

Is it really possible to overbrine the ribs?? I have them brining for about 3 hours now in the same container as my butt. I was going to brine till tomorrow and then air dry for an hour and slather with my dry rub over ight then smoke on Saturday. Should I take the ribs out of the brine now and rub 'em tomorrow?

Eric

President

Les Marmitons-NJ

Johnson and Wales

Class of '85

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Is it really possible to overbrine the ribs??  I have them brining for about 3 hours now in the same container as my butt.  I was going to brine till tomorrow and then air dry for an hour and slather with my dry rub over ight then smoke on Saturday.  Should I take the ribs out of the brine now and rub 'em tomorrow? 

Yes! Take them out! They are likely overseasoned already, alas, unless you're doing spare ribs. But still, take them out, rinse them, wrap them, and put them back in the fridge.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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  • 5 months later...

All this talk of smoking butts got mine in gear. I woke yesterday with a serious hankering to smoke some meat.

Not wanting to head to the store to hopefully procure a shoulder, I grabbed a 6 lb. package of pork spareribs that was languishing in the freezer. I stuck them in the microwave to start the defrosting process and when they were still only slightly frozen, I brined them.

I know they should have had overnight with the rub, but that wasn't an option, so as soon as they were thawed, I rubbed them and stuck them in the outdoor fridge while I got the Kettle going.

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It had been a few days since I used the Kettle, so once the fire was going, water pan in, etc. I put the lid on to melt the snow.

gallery_6263_35_28677.jpg

Ribs ready to be pulled off. Since these didn't have an especially nice fat cap, I wrapped them in foil and returned them to the Kettle for about another hour or so.

gallery_6263_35_1449.jpg

I didn't drink beer this time around. Bloody Marys instead.

These were absolutely terrific. Finger licking good.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Susan . . . There is something so compelling about those pictures in the snow with a Weber Kettle going. Talk about an intrepid cook! Damn, that outdoor fridge looks handy. Today's high here was 65 because we had a "cold front" come through. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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  • 2 months later...

Susan and Marlene,

Is the big rib smoke still on for Sunday the 19th. One of my local stores has spares on sale this week and I am ready to take them up on their offer. Sunday will be better for me than Saturday. Are you guys still on for Sunday?

Edited by lancastermike (log)
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Since we have a fresh foot of snow on the ground, I'm thinking a summery meal of ribs and potato salad on Sunday might be just what the doctor ordered! (Not to mention that we're having venison 4 nights this week, so smokey pork will be a nice relief!)

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Saturday is my wife and I's semi-regular Meat Fling. I'll be smoking a brisket, a pork shoulder, a couple of chickens, and for the special guests a couple of racks of ribs. All done in my weber smoker. We'll also have a small keg and I supposed people may bring sides, but it's all about the meat.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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These won't need as long a brining as butt. I think I usually brine them for a couple of hours (per Dave the Cook's class on Brining -- scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page)

Rub? In my book, there's only one -- Klink's Dry Rub.

Oh, and you might want to remove the silver skin from the back side of the ribs. I don't usually do it, but make slits in the silverskin. Call me lazy.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I'll brine 3 full slabs in a gallon of water and 2/3 C of Kosher salt for about 12 hours in the fridge -- and I remove the membranes from the backs of the slabs before the brining. After the brining, I rinse the slabs, dry them and let them sit on a rack in the fridge so they can dry a bit further.

I, like many others, have a rub recipe that I really like (basically consists of sweet Hungarian paprika, Ancho powder, salt, brown sugar, black pepper, ground oregano, etc.). Regardlesss of which rub you use, I think the main issue is to cut back the salt in the rub if you're brining.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I've never brined ribs or shoulder myself. There is more than enough fat to keep the meat nice and tender and a little salt in the rub takes care of that.

Bryan C. Andregg

"Give us an old, black man singing the blues and some beer. I'll provide the BBQ."

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I've never brined ribs or shoulder myself. There is more than enough fat to keep the meat nice and tender and a little salt in the rub takes care of that.

I disagree and always brine pork.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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These won't need as long a brining as butt.  I think I usually brine them for a couple of hours (per Dave the Cook's class on Brining -- scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page)

Rub?  In my book, there's only one -- Klink's Dry Rub.

Oh, and you might want to remove the silver skin from the back side of the ribs.  I don't usually do it, but make slits in the silverskin.  Call me lazy.

1/4 cup sumac? What on earth is that? I always thought sumac was a tree!

Woodburner, I'll be looking for a St. Louis cut of ribs if I can find them. It's not exactly BBQ season here yet though, so I'll take whatever ribs are available.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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These won't need as long a brining as butt.  I think I usually brine them for a couple of hours (per Dave the Cook's class on Brining -- scroll about 3/4 of the way down the page)

Rub?  In my book, there's only one -- Klink's Dry Rub.

Oh, and you might want to remove the silver skin from the back side of the ribs.  I don't usually do it, but make slits in the silverskin.  Call me lazy.

1/4 cup sumac? What on earth is that? I always thought sumac was a tree!

Woodburner, I'll be looking for a St. Louis cut of ribs if I can find them. It's not exactly BBQ season here yet though, so I'll take whatever ribs are available.

Spareribs are what you want, you can easily trim them yourself to the St. Louis cut. I do that often. I believe Susan will tell you she takes whole slabs of spares and does not trim them to the St Louis cut. I can go either way and find both are fine. The St Louis cut gives you a more even looking slab. Woodburner and many others like the back ribs, but not me. Spares are the way to go. I have never brined ribs, however Susan and Ronnie ave me convinced. Got up this morning to no heat. Am waiting for repairman now, but hope this does not stop me from smoking tommorow. Also, am having my new dishwasher delivered today. Am attempting to do the install myself. This could lead to large amounts of screaming,swearing and throwing of things. My goal is to not injure myself beyond ability to smoke ribs

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Mike is right, I never trim mine to St. Louis style. I think that's just trimming off that flap of meat on the back side, and one of my kids really likes that part of the ribs. What's interesting is that St. Louis style ribs are rarely available here and last time I saw them, they were $5.98/lb to the regular spare rib price of $1.68/lb. Go figure.

Good luck with the dishwasher Mike. We've installed two of them, and it's not difficult at all. The first one we installed when into a kitchen that had not had a dishwasher, so we had a lot of plumbing and cabinet modifications to make.

You'll need to relax by smoking meat after the home improvement project!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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