Monday, August 27, 2012

World Champion BBQ Ribs

One day I was browsing through Fox's online news and a featured story's headline caught my eye: "How to BBQ like a world champion." I emailed Andy the link to the story and video and the rest is history. Typically we fix ribs on the grill with consistent results. Other times we smoke them on the Bubba Keg or the pit in the backyard. Overall, her directions were very similar to what we were doing with the exception of doubling up on the mustard and rub application and brushing honey at the end. Andy sprays the meat down with apple juice when they're on the pit; so adding it when they were ready to wrap on the smoker was a new step for us too.

Ms. Cookston's recommendation is 225 for two hours and then wrap in foil; do the special seasoning and cook an additional two hours. For whatever reason, that Bubba Keg wants to hover around 325 degrees no matter what. So we stuck to the time we know works on that particular smoker. When we've smoked ribs on one of those charcoal/bullet looking smokers, that lower heat (225) produces some incredible ribs. Low and slow is definitely the way you want to go.

  • Baby Back or St. Louis style ribs
  • Rib Rub
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Apple Juice
  • Cattleman's Barbecue Sauce
  • Honey 
  • Heavy Duty Extra Long Aluminum Foil

Start with the basic prep for fixing any ribs.
  1. The first thing I recommend is getting a big kitchen garbage bag and laying it out on your counter for all the prep work. (You'll thank me when it comes to clean up time.)
  2. Rinse meat
  3. Strip silver membrane off the back (This will not dissolve if you leave it on!)

This photo (from a previous smoking session) shows how to protect your kitchen
counter from getting nasty during the prep stage!

We normally apply mustard first and then the rub. This specified to apply a coat of the rib rub directly to the meat first. Then, rub the meat down with yellow mustard, covering every part of the meat, even the sides. We used our current favorite McCormick's Applewood rub.

Place ribs on smoker. (We cut the slab in half so it would fit in the smoker better)

If your smoker holds at 225 degrees; after two hours of cooking, it's time for the next seasoning phase. Place ribs on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap each slab in. Don't let the color fool you into thinking they're done. They look good, but they will be as tough as shoe leather.

Add another light layer of rub to both sides of the ribs.

Add another layer of mustard to both sides. We were a little skeptical, but went with it.

Before you wrap these up, you want to add up to 2 cups of apple juice. This will keep the ribs nice and moist. Wrap them up nice and tight and let them smoke for another two hours.
*Notice I snuck a half dozen ears of corn to cook!

Yummy!! These are looking good; but not quite done!

Time for the third seasoning phase! Start coating the ribs in your favorite BBQ sauce. We normally use Andy Top Secret sauce, but we have found a really good substitute when we don't have time to make our own. It's really close to what we make, but there's an extra little kick in there that we can't put our finger on. I know we'll figure it out eventually and add to our own recipe .

Brush the Cattleman's Kansas City Style BBQ sauce all over the ribs.

Squeeze honey on top of the ribs.

Brush it all over the top of the ribs.Close the lid and let the cook unwrapped for 10-15 minutes.

I wish these were on a plate in front of me right now!

Adapted from: MelissaCookston, co-owner of Memphis Barbecue Company 

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