Ribs, Ribs, Ribs
I’ve felt pretty good about my ribs the last couple of times I’ve prepared them. Time to post my method.
In my opinion, the key to ribs is a surprise ingredient: French’s Yellow Mustard. If you’ve never tried this method of preparing ribs, you should give it a shot. The mustard doesn’t really affect the taste. It simply adds moisture and gives the rub something to stick to.
I start by lathering the back side of the ribs with yellow mustard. Then I top the ribs with a rub. Next, I flip the ribs over and do the same on the meat side of the ribs. I like to start with the backside so I finish with the top. This way the top stays pretty when you’re finished. As a side note my butcher always removes the back membrane for me and cuts the rack in half. This makes the ribs easier to handle on the Big Green Egg.
Mrs. Esquire thinks she’s pretty funny when she lays the yellow tape on the counter.
After I’m done with the mustard and rub on both sides of the ribs, I carefully wrap them in plastic wrap and put them in the refrigerator. They can hang out in there for up to 12 hours.
Next, I prepare my barbeque sauce. I like to use a Kansas City style sauce. This makes me slightly schizophrenic, since I like a thin, vinegar-based North Carolina sauce on my pulled pork, but I like a thick, tangy, ketchup-based sauce for my ribs. I’ve outlined the recipe below. Basically, you mix together ketchup, apple cider vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, and some spices, and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Now it’s time to grill the ribs. I bring the Big Green Egg up to 225 degrees, set for indirect cooking. (See my fire building method here). I like to set my ribs in a rib rack, or on a raised grill. Ribs like to hang out up in the air, when possible. I used my new raised grill extender for the first time today.
Now it’s time to hang out. I let the ribs do their thing for about an hour at 220 before I visit them again. Although the adage “looking isn’t cooking” is very true in low and slow barbeque, I like to spritz my ribs. So after the first hour, I open the BGE and spray the ribs with a mixture of apple cider vinegar and apple juice (or beer if I don’t have apple juice on hand). I continue to spray the ribs every 45 minutes or so.
Here are the ribs about three hours into the process. After about four and a half hours, the ribs are almost ready. The ribs should bend easily, and there should be some give when you pull on a bone.
The last step is to pull the ribs from the Big Green Egg, remove the rack, and place the ribs directly on the grill. Some people let the ribs sit, wrapped in foil, for 30 minutes at this point. I’m ambivalent about that step. Either way, once the ribs are directly on the grill, I brush them with barbecue sauce and grill for another 20 minutes or so. I sometimes crank the BGE up a little bit, maybe to 250 or 275, for this final step.
Today, it started raining when I reached the final step. This made for challenging sauce brushing, and also left me without any pictures of this step! But here’s the final, delicious product.
Kansas City Barbeque Sauce
Combine the following in saucepan over medium heat: 1 1/4 cups ketchup; 1 cup water; 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar; 1/4 cup dark brown sugar; 2 tbsp molasses; 1 tbsp onion powder; 1 tbsp garlic powder; 1 tbsp black pepper; 1 tsp celery seed; 1 tsp allspice; 1/2 tsp sea salt; 1/2 tsp cayenne.
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should be thick. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.