A couple nights ago we had company over for a visit so I decided to cook up some baby back ribs, smoke some beans and make jalapeno & cheddar corn bread.
I have been inching my way towards eating less meat and more vegetarian meals, but I also have a deep freezer full of meat I need to use up, including a big ol box of some very nicely trimmed baby backs.
I pulled them out the day before to thaw overnight in the fridge.
The next morning I made up a brine based on Myron Mixon’s cookbook Everyday Barbecue
It included Apple Juice, white vinegar, salt and sugar. I am not going to give the recipe as it is copyrighted in his book but I will tell you it helped make my ribs extra special. Go check out his book. I gave you the Amazon link above!
Anyway I slowly dissolved the salt and sugar in the brine on the stove, heating it up and then I had to cool it back down in an ice bath in the sink before it would be ready to use on the ribs. In hindsight, I should have made this brine the night before… oh well!
Next step was taking off the back membrane of the ribs.
I talked about this in my last blog post about ribs I did a couple months back. Just run a butter knife up the bone to create a cavity and then using your fingers, separate the membrane from the ribs. A paper towel makes it easy to grip and pull off in one easy motion. It gets easier with practice.
After the brine was chilled and ribs were ready, I combined them all in one tray and added the brine.
About 4 hours later I took the ribs out of the brine and rinsed them off so they wouldn’t be too salty. This is the first time I have ever tried brining ribs and I think it really helped!
I then hit them all with a bunch of the Cluck & Squeal Low Salt Rib Formula, my standard for ribs and butts.
I had preheated my XL Big Green Egg to 250F and I then had to get it all loaded and ready to go. I pre-soaked some hickory chips and made a foil pouch of wet chips that I put down on the coals along with some loose dry chips for instant smoke. I found this technique worked the best for getting a longer sustained smoke. I have found that putting the chips directly on the coals causes them all to flame out too quickly, even if they are wet.
I then put the plate setter on, a drip pan with some left over brine and water and then my rib rack and I closed the dome after getting a couple pictures before the smoke really started.
I had some trouble with the XL running hot, I had the grill thermometer on the Digi Q in a bad place, which was giving it an artificially low temp. So the dome temp was creeping up about 100 degrees hotter than the grill. Once I adjusted the location of the thermometer, the rest was clockwork.
At 3 hours in I check them again and they were looking pretty good.
I took them off and put them into a clean foil tray, drizzled some apple juice in the pan and then sealed them back up with foil and this time raised the temp to 300F on purpose
After about 45 minutes in the foil tray I took them out and let them set up on the grill for about 5 minutes before started basting them.
After that, I sauced both sides, about 5 minutes apart and the did the tops one last time before I took them off.
Not to toot my own horn, but these were cooked perfectly!!! I have never done ribs so good before! EVER!!! I know I say that all the time, but really I am always trying to make them better, so it stands to reason they improve with practice right???
They had the perfect flex, they would bend but didn’t break and they weren’t mush and over cooked. They weren’t dry at all either. I really think the brine helped keep them moist… even with my runaway Egg temp for about an hour.
The last step was to carve them up… just forgot about the plated picture. Oh well, I had a hungry crowd to feed.
These may have been the last ribs I will ever eat, so I was glad they turned out so good. But man, did I feel like crap after !!! Pork always does that to me and I felt WAY better after last night’s vegetarian dinner than I ever do after eating this kind of thing. At any rate, I still have more ribs in the freezer to cook up… I will just have to wait till we have company again so they can eat them!