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Suggestions on smoking or grilling baby back ribs

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Joe Link, Sep 1, 2014.

  1. Joe Link

    Joe Link Portland, OR Well-Known Member Staff Member Lifetime Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Heading up to spend some time with the family next Sunday, so I picked up a couple slabs of baby back ribs. Neither myself or my father have ever prepared them, so I'm asking for some advice. The slabs are roughly 3lbs. each, currently frozen. They probably aren't the best quality, but they're what I could afford :)

    Up there we have an entry-level electric smoker, a propane grill, and an oven (of course). I'll pick up whichever chips and sauces are needed for the recipe(s) we choose. I'll have days to defrost/prepare/marinate if need be. I should be getting up there around 10am, and we'll be eating around 5pm.

    I'd like to get a few suggestions so we can select two, then see which we like best. No dry rubs here, we're sauce people! I'll be sure to report back ;)
  2. Joe13

    Joe13 NW of Vancouver Opinionated & Blunt Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Marinate or sauce it and wrap in foil. Cook at 225 in the oven for a few hours till they are getting tender.

    Then unwrap and finsh on the grill with more sauce.

    That's not my way but a buddy who likes sauce does his that way and they are much faster then my way and not bad at all for being covered up in sauce:D

    If you get in to rubs and have more time to smoke it proper, then we can sit and have a long discussion about how to do it up right;)
  3. solv3nt

    solv3nt Portland Well-Known Member

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    Baby backs can be easily overcooked. My preferred method I'd to use my gas grill with one burner running. The lit burner has a can of mesquite chips in it, which would have soaked overnight in a dark beer.

    I always use smoke salt, garlic powder, and sprinkle a little bit of pepper on the meat side of the ribs after removing the additional layer of membrane.

    Smoke for 4-5 hours, ensuring that there's plenty of water in a dish to prevent the meat from drying out. Top it with dome home made BBQ sauce and go to town!
  4. Kruejl

    Kruejl Hillsboro Moderator of the Coriolis effect Staff Member Silver Supporter

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    Joe13's advice is sound. Me, I smoke mine on my Traeger for about 4 hours on low smoke, then remove them. They go into a bath of BBQ sauce and apple sauce in a foil boat (top open) for about two hours on medium heat. then removed again for a new complete foil wrap (totally enclosed) with BBQ sauce only for about 45-1 hour on high. Remove from grill. For crying out loud let them rest for say 30 minutes!! I can slide the bones out by hand and just have a nice rack of crumbly juicy meat to devour. Yes, I know you don't have a Traeger handy but I would still advise on the 4, 2, 1 hour solution. You need them at 4 hours on very low temp/smoke to flavor the meat, two hours on medium to start breaking down the proteins and an hour to actually cook the meat.

    Sooo.....use the smoker for the first step. oven for the second and the propane grill for the third. For God's sake don't throw the rack in the propane grill without a protective foil wrap/sauce or you will have shoe leather. Good luck!
  5. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I generally cook baby backs fast.. hot and quick on the grill. Generally just by eye but cooked plenty and sizzling with a bit of "bark".. they are very "forgivable" unlike full size ribs, which I'll slow cook for hours at very low temperature.
  6. curtismann

    curtismann Silverton Active Member

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    Probably gonna get some backlash for this, but oh well...
    There, I feel better.
    Get online and find a good dry rub recipe. I use salt, pepper, white pepper, a little cayenne, and sweet paprika, and brown sugar.
    Low and slow is the key to ribs. Smoke them as long as you can, checking the temp every hour or so, so you can guage what time they'll be done.
    Wet mop when you check the temp. I use apple cider vinegar and French's yellow mustard. This will keep them from drying out.
    Baste them with sauce if you must 10 minutes or so before they're done. Or, better yet, put out a dish of sauce on the side. I use a Dr. Pepper based sweet sauce for ribs.
    Most of all, don't stress. Have an adult beverage or two while you're cooking. Nothing ruins barbecue quicker than a pissed off cook.
    And don't put the sauce on til the very end.
    ogre, 66PonyCar and Stinkerbelle like this.
  7. nextgenar

    nextgenar roseburg Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    One thing i didn't see mentioned. Before cooking them, take a butter knife and remove the silver or white colored skin off the back side of the ribs that will let the smokeand seasonings penetrate from both sides
    Ian1816 and curtismann like this.
  8. Reno911

    Reno911 Hillsboro Well-Known Member 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Best recipe I've got is not to smoke them unless your babying them on the smoker. I say that because I like to set mine and leave it. You can't do that with ribs, you have to throw some liquid on them every so often or they will dry up too much on the smoker.

    So my method is as follows.

    Prep. Take steak knife and slice away at the back side of the ribs. Cross cross method works well ensuring you get the connective tissue hacked up good.

    Brine. At Least two days prior brine them in equal parts sugar and salt. Sometimes I slip this part. It does add a tremendous amount of flavor though.

    Steam. Day prior, steam in covered broiler pot or roasting pot. Adding how ever much liquid smoke to add smoke flavor as desired. Make sure the ribs are not in the water boiling though. Allow to cool. Then rub on dry seasoning of your choice, wrap in plastic wrap and throw them in the fridge. You can leave them in the fridge this way for up to a week. I've prepped weekend trips this way.

    Grill. After at least an overnight trip in the fridge allowing the rub to soak into the coagulating fats and connective tissue as well as cooling meat. Grill on low to medium heat. Add favorite sauce, allow to caramelize. I cook them on a gas grill usually.

    Serve and enjoy.

    If you follow this recipe and the meat doesn't fall off the bone, well, I'll have failed you miserably.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2014
  9. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    I start mine in the oven and finish on the grill.

    for the rub:
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1 tsp salt
    1 tsp smoked paprika
    1 tablespoon garlic powder or minced fresh garlic

    Wrap the ribs with the rub in multiple layers of foil to keep it from leaking

    2-2.5 hours at 300 F

    then finish on the grill just long enough on each side to get some charring going plus whatever BBQ sauce you like.
  10. Mikej

    Mikej Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Joe, check the label on them there ribs. If it says something like "Moist and Tender" they've ALREADY been injected with a, "Up to to 12%" solution of sodium somethingorother...SALT! Bastiges! Ruining our pork products like that! Anyway, go easy on the salt if you see that they've been messed with like that.

    My method:
    Rub 'em with the dry stuff of your choosing.
    Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
    Remove from fridge and hour before cooking and grill on the gas grill on a low setting until you've got a little crisp on them, turning to cook evenly, 20-45 minutes?
    Remove from grill to baking pan, sauce, cover with tinfoil, and finish in a 275d oven for an hour or so.

    That's the easy way. Sometimes I'll do mine in the Brinkman smoker pot with lump charcoal and what ever wood I have a mind to, filbert is quite tasty on pork ribs. That method is more involved and time consuming. If you want to sit and drink beer you don't need to worry about the ribs going bad whilst they're in the oven finishing, and you can cut back on the temp too and finish longer.
  11. Jerry

    Jerry Vancouver, WA Active Member

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    Disagree - The membrane helps keep the juices in and the meat moist. A couple of horizontal slits is a good compromise.
    Joe13 likes this.
  12. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    I pull the membrane off. Make a good rub and use enough salt. Run your smoker between 220 and 230 for 3-4 hours depending on size of ribs.
  13. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Well Joe, I like rub and then sauce. I rub then in the refer for 24hrs. Bring to room temp.
    Then grill, spraying with apple juice or flavored rum etc. add sauce twice in the final 30min. on low heat.
    I just use a basic commercial sauce but I modify it heavily. It's mine when I'm done! Just saves a lot of time. Good luck with your gathering!SRG:)
  14. 44mag2ndamend

    44mag2ndamend Round the ole tree stump, Down by the crick Well-Known Member

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    Get an inexpensive charcoal grill, and go to one of the Cash and Carry outlet. What you need there is the Lazzoroni Mesquite Lump Charcoal. Its like 18 bucks for a 40 pound bag, Cheap! and the best quality ribs will be on the way.

    Some par boil ribs before the grill or smoker depending on fat content.
  15. 44mag2ndamend

    44mag2ndamend Round the ole tree stump, Down by the crick Well-Known Member

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    The commercial places I have worked at say thats a big no no. Ever tried to eat that white membrane? YUK! But that was on pork baby backs.
    ogre likes this.
  16. Rick4070

    Rick4070 Central Oregon coast Active Member

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    Lots of good recipies here.
    I like to remove the membrane, and the easiest way that I have found is to get about a quart of water boiling, and then trickle some of the water over the membrane. It will turn white.
    Then the membrane just peels right off.
    If you don't keep pouring it on, the water won't hurt the meat.
    I figured this out after struggling to peel off the membrane, then I remembered how we used to quickly dip a catfish into boiling water, and how the skin peeled off easily.
    Redcap likes this.
  17. NoFlinch

    NoFlinch In a van down by the river Owner of Cocaine addicted dog.

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    I really enjoy cooking.....as long as it doesn't take more than 15 minutes:):D.

    I just cooked some ribs a few days ago.

    Out of the freezer..........into the pressure cooker......about 15 minutes......that cooked them and made them tender.

    THEN I put them on BBQ with homemade BBQ sauce (which included Agave, vinegar, ketchup, liquid smoke, chocolate syrup, and "secret ingredients":):D:D:), etc.

    You may want to pressure cook them 1st, then BBQ/smoke later????