The Gourmand & I, as you know, love to share our secrets and success with you. Ribs are one of those things that takes passion, love, attention and a willingness to stand over a hot grill, mopping and making love, while everyone else is enjoying the party. That’s pretty much the secret. That, and the rub and mopping sauce you use. That said, each person’s secrets evolve out of many parties and willing guests who keep you company around the fire. I can’t give you our exact recipe, in part because we don’t exactly have one. But here are some tips to put you in the running for Pit Master:
Always pork. Look for a good amount of marbling – have you heard fat=flavor? The fat melts on the heat leaving behind succulent meat. As for the cut, there are several. Each name (St. Louis, Full Rack, Baby Back, etc.) refers to the amount of trimming that’s been done from the original full rack butchering. We look in the case, and pick the meat based on fat content and how many people we’re feeding. The cooking time will change a little, but set aside at least 4 hours of smoke time adjusting the temperature to medium low as you go along, hence the need to stand guard.
Anything you have in your pantry will do. Seriously. Here’s a loose version of ours (in no particular order):
Rub the meat 24 hours before you plan to cook. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate the racks overnight.
The Fire & The Mopping Sauce
Low and slow. In the picture above, see the aluminum foil? That’s a packet filled with soaked wood chips of your choice, apple, cherry, etc.
As for the mopping sauce, again our ingredients in no particular order:
Bragg’s apple cider vinegar
Any or all of the spice rub spices
Something sweet, like molasses, maple syrup or honey
Four hours later, you’ll be getting kisses, and at Christmas, your friends should know a “Kiss the Cook” apron is in order. And it may seem like a lot of time, but drink some beers and remember that all the love of cooking is in the making.