HOW TO COOK GREAT BAR-B-QUE RIBS
To Bar-b-que, to roast, or to grill,
that is the answer and the question. But mostly it is the problem. Hear I will explain the important difference. If you would like to learn more about the basics and some history of American Bar-b-que, please go to the link below
Hot and fast vs. Low and slow
That's the major difference. Grilling requires the heat to be steady but hot. Boneless chichen breast and kabobs are prefect for grilling they will still be tender even if there are cooked fast. Even grilled food, however, should be soaked in a brine (explained below) to keep them from being dry inside. Bar-b-que is low and slow and real bar-b-que ribs should cook at about 200 to 250 degrees for 5 to 7 hours! (Chicken 1 to 2 hours depending on the cut). This is because the trditional cuts of beef or pork that are famous for being Bar-b-qued a really not good cuts of meat. They must cook a long time to become tender. Don't let that keep you away from real bar-b-que; it's easy, just long. Yet, that could be why so many people take the sort cuts like pre cooking or post cooking bar-b-que. I have even been know to do that after a hard days work but it always leaves something to be desired as far as the flavor and texture. Roasting is somewhere between and smoking is simular, but is a whole other taste.
So let's get down to the Bar-b-que!
What you'll need:
A Coal burning Bar-b-que grill, (gas is just not the same) in which you can keep the heat sorce at least 2 feet away from your meat.
Fuel. (Charcoal without the extra lighter fluid will do, but one might want to use hickory, maple, or other assorted traditional woods)
A clean spray bottle filled with water
The juice of one lemon
1 rack of ribs (spare or baby back)
1 large pot with about one gallon of water and two tablespoons salt in it (I like sea salt) This is called a brine.
MIX THE FOLLOWING TOGETHER:
1 tablespoon Seasoning Salt.
1 tablespoon garlic POWDER (garlic salt will be too much)
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 teaspoon thyme
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
One bottle of molasses based sauce of your choice.
(The recipe for dry rub is different, go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_28097,00.html)
When purchasing your ribs, ask the butcher to "crack the bone". There is a place on spare ribs that a bone runs horizontal in one corner; they will be much easier to separate after cooking if the butcher does this for you.
For not less then one hour but as much as 24 hrs. you need to brine your meat; combining the gallon of water and dissolving the salt in it. Soak the ribs. Make sure they are fully covered, If they are not fully covered, add water until they are. What a brine dose is cause a chemical reaction in the meat which forces the cells to open up and except water (not so much the salt) and helps keep the meat juicy even though it cooks for a long time. Mix all the other spices in a separate container.
NOW WE'RE READY!
After the meat brines is completely, start the grill. This should be at least 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 hours before you plan to eat. If using charcoal, place about 15 baguettes in you grill and light them in your normal fashion, this should be the only time you need lighter fluid. While the coals are burning down, take your ribs out of the brine and dry them with a clean towel or paper towels. Get the towel to the laundry room or some other safe place immediately; don't use it for anything else. Lay your ribs flat and sprinkle half the mixture on one side. Rub vigorously. Turn and do other side. When the charcoal has burned down to glowing red, place the rack of ribs, bones down, on the grill and cover, leaving just enough air venting to keep coals hot. It's important to go back to you prep area and wash everything down with soap and water. Then mix the lemon juice and water together and put in the spray bottle. Check the coals in an 1/2 hr. If they seem to be getting low, add three to five coals (you really want to do this before the first coals get too low). (Coal management may vary, use your best judgement.) Now relax and grab a cold drink. Your first turn will be one hour after you put the ribs on. (A 1/2 hour after you checked the coals). You will spray the ribs and check the coals, adding three to five as needed, every hour for the next 4 to 6 hours. Then you will start coating them with a light layer of sauce and turning them every 15 minutes for the last hour. BE CAREFUL NOT TO CROSS CONTAMINATE ANY FOOD! INCLUDING YOUR SAUCE! Ribs are done when you pick up your rack with meat tunges half way up the slab and the free side of the rack dangles down Listlessly. Sometimes when meat is cooked slow like this, (no less then 200 degrees, no more then 300 degrees) they will still appear to be pink inside, be assured, if they have cooked for five to seven hours, they are done. Now take a brush (NOT THE SAME BRUSH OR SAUCE YOU USED AT THE GRILL) and brush a generous amount of sauce on the ribs. Let cool for a while, then separate each rib with a clean knife. place on a platter, and serve. If at any time you have a flame up, close the lid tight; it should die down in a few seconds. Because you are cooking slow it should not. But if the situation gets drastic, take drastic measures... use your best judgment.