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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Ribs 101: Three methods to try, one to avoid

“Ribs” should never be four letters.

They represent the very best in meat: they have an amazing, instantly recognizable taste that is both satisfying and bland at the same time. They are tender, but at the same time they chew well enough. They taste great on their own, but they also go well with any number of sauces.

And it’s almost impossible to cook them badly.

Yet many people find them difficult or too time consuming. Ribs are something they only order in a restaurant, preferably grilled.

But turning your home into a personal barbecue isn’t difficult. The ribs are a snap to cook, and the best part is that when you’re done, you have ribs.

I made ribs – here we are talking about pork ribs – in four different ways with different results.

At first I made them in the traditional way, smoking them at low temperatures for several hours. They turned out to be the best, tender and juicy, with an exquisite taste and aroma of smoke. If you have time and have a smokehouse or grill to use for smoking, this is undoubtedly the best way to experience real ribs.

Then I tried a method I always hated: I boiled the ribs before grilling. Some restaurants like to steam the ribs because it makes them very tender and especially because it saves time.

Not everyone agrees. Grillmaster Stephen Reichlan says, “My barbecue religion is heresy.”

Cooking the ribs really helps to get rid of the fat, but it also adds flavor. But what I hadn’t guessed was how much of a different flavor is added by roasting meat over direct heat. Ten minutes is all it takes to finish off almost cooked ribs with mouth-watering flavors of fire and smoke.

Cooking ribs in a slow cooker takes longer than any other method, but it is time you can spend outside the kitchen if you want. You simply rub the ribs with spices, toss them in the slow cooker and forget about them – until the seductive aroma reminds you that dinner is almost ready.

They come out tender but with sufficient bite resistance and have a delicious meaty and full flavor. They are awfully good, but they lack the smokiness that for many determines the taste of the ribs.

I do not particularly recommend the fourth method of cooking ribs, bake them in the oven if you don’t have a smoker, grill, or multicooker.

Oven baked ribs have the right texture and you can enjoy eating ribs. But the taste is minimalistic and, frankly, a little bland.

The end result is ribs, after all. And that’s better than no ribs.

What are the rib cuts?

The most popular ribs are the ribs on the baby’s back, which radiate from the top of the rib cage. They have the most meat of all ribs and are also the quickest and easiest to cook.

The ribs are cut just below the ribs of the baby’s back. They have more marble between the bones and therefore more flavor, but they are not as delicate as the backs of a baby.

The St. Louis style ribs are essentially ribs, but they are shortened so they don’t have the tips of the ribs at the bottom. The tips of the ribs are the hardest part of the ribs.

And the country-style ribs?

Rustic ribs are not ribs (this is understandable because they are not attached to the bone). They are actually cut from pork, that is, the shoulder blades. They are sometimes mis-mixed with ribs because, like ribs, they need to be cooked at low temperatures for a relatively long time.

What is skin and should it be removed?

What people call “skin” is actually a membrane, a pleura. When cooked, it becomes tough and viscous and unpleasant for most people to eat, but it is edible (and some do). It’s usually best to remove it, although we left it on while we cooked the ribs in the slow cooker because it helps hold the wire rack together when using this method.

To remove it, simply slide a thin, sharp knife between the ribs and the skin on the bone side to release enough to grab it. Hold it with a clean towel or paper towels and peel the skin off the ribs. It comes off very easily from the ribs of the child’s back; it takes more effort with the ribs and ribs of St. Louis.

If you smoke ribs, what kind of wood should you use?

Hickory is a good place to start; it produces perhaps the most familiar scent of smoke. But be careful with chips, because too much hickory smoke can add a bitter flavor to your meat.

Fruit woods such as apple (which won’t give that flavor) and cherry are soft and mix well with other woody species. Mesquite is delicious and unmistakable, but it can get tough easily, so use it sparingly.

Oak is not traditionally used with pork, unless you are from East Texas, where post oak grows as a weed and is used for barbecues. I used to live in East Texas, so I used a combination of post oak and hickory for this story.

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When should I add the sauce?

Most barbecue sauces contain sugar (North Carolina vinegar-based sauce is a significant exception). Sugar burns quickly, spoiling the barbecue. If you are cooking at low temperatures, such as in a smokehouse, oven, or multicooker, do not apply the sauce until the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. If you are cooking at a high temperature, such as grilling or grilling over direct heat, do not add the sauce until the last three to five minutes.

Some experts don’t even add sauce while the ribs are being cooked. Serve the sauce on the side. Some purists completely disregard the idea of ​​sauce and do not believe in its use, but I see no reason for such extremism.

RIBS FOR SLOW COOKING

Slow Ribs, Wednesday 29 September 2021 (Hillary Levin / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / TNS)

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 backrest ribs or 2 ribs
  • 3/4 cup spices rub.

Brush the ribs on both sides with the spiced sodium and rub into the meat. Do not remove the membrane. Place the ribs, standing upright, in a large multicooker (an oval-shaped stove works best). You may need to cut the grate into pieces to fit into it. A small multicooker will hold one shelf.

Cook for 4 to 5 hours at high heat or 7 to 8 hours at low heat. The ribs are done when the meat is soft, it has come off about 3/4 inch from the bone and its internal temperature is 195 degrees.

Daniel Neman’s recipe

SMOKED RIBS

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 backrest ribs or 2 ribs
  • 3/4 cup spices rub.
  • 1 cup of wood chips for smoking
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Chipotle BBQ sauce or your favorite BBQ sauce, optional

Remove the rib side membranes from the bones by inserting a thin, sharp knife between the meat and the membrane. Pull the membrane up with a knife until you can grab it with your thumb (use a towel or paper towel for a better grip). Remove the membrane from the meat and discard.

Brush the ribs on both sides with spices and rub into the meat. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours, or leave at room temperature for 1 hour. Do not store outside the refrigerator for more than 1 hour.

In the meantime, soak the wood chips in water for at least 20 minutes if they are small, or 1 hour if they are large. Wrap the damp shavings in aluminum foil and cut the 4 slots at the top of the package.

Prepare the grill for indirect heating.

Light your grill and use scales or vents to keep the temperature very low, between 250 and 275 degrees. Try not to climb above 300 degrees. Place a bag of wood chips in the center of the charcoal or directly on top of a gas flame. Place the ribs with the bone side down on the wire shelf and close the lid. If you are using charcoal, you will need to add charcoal every hour.

Mix apple cider juice and apple cider vinegar. After 1 hour of cooking, gently brush the ribs with this mixture. Cover and continue cooking. Gently brush the ribs every 30 minutes.

The ribs of the baby’s back will be finished in about 4 hours; ribs will take longer. Brush the ribs with barbecue sauce, if desired, about 20-30 minutes before cooking. The ribs are done when the meat is soft, ripped about 3/4 inch from the bone, and its core temperature is 195 degrees.

Daniel Neman’s recipe

SPICE RUB.

Yield: about 1/2 cup

  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, see note
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

Note: This recipe will make a moderately spicy grate. If you want it to be hotter, use 1 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper. If you want it to be mild, eliminate the cayenne pepper.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Illustrated Chef’s Meat Book.

GRILLED RIBS

Ribs 101: Three methods to try, one to avoid
Cooked and Fried Ribs, Wednesday, September 29, 2021 (Hillary Levin / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / TNS)

Yield: 6 servings

  • 3 backrest ribs or 2 ribs
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 glass of salt
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Chipotle BBQ sauce or your favorite BBQ sauce, optional

Place the ribs in a large saucepan and pour enough cold water to cover them. Squeeze the lemons and strain the juice into a saucepan. Remove the seeds and add the lemon zest. Add salt, peppercorns and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cook for about 25 minutes, until the ribs are slightly tender but fall apart.

Prepare the grate for high heat.

Transfer the ribs to the grill, meat side down. Grill 10 minutes; Brush the meat side with barbecue sauce, if using, and cook for another 3 minutes. Avoid charring meat or gravy. The ribs are ready when the meat has come off the bone 3/4 inch.

Yaara Amberg’s recipe, via Food Network

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