How to Make Tender Smoked Ribs
First, consider the time and temperature of your smoker. How warm are you keeping the enclosure while smoking ribs? The basic recommendation is to maintain a temperature of around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This is optimum for tender, juicy spare ribs. However, if you keep the heat just slightly lower – no more than 5-10 degrees under this – you may actually be able to get the meat just a tiny bit more tender. Of course, in order for this to work, you’ll also have to cook the ribs for longer. No matter what type of wood chips you use for your smoked ribs, you’ll want to cook them for at least four hours. This will make them tender and juicy, as well; however, if you can work six hours out of them with the lower temperature and not risk overwhelming them with too much smoke or overcooking them, this will create fall-off-the-bone smoked ribs.
Prior to applying your spices, you’ll want to treat your pork ribs properly. Doing so will aid in creating the most tender ribs you can imagine. Start by rinsing the entire rack of ribs off with cold water. Then, make sure to remove the membrane from the back of the pork ribs. This membrane toughens the meat and also acts as an obstacle to absorption of smoke and spices. Once the membrane is off, rinse the ribs again, then pat dry with paper towels. Now that they are ready to go, one final step will assure you that the ribs won’t end up too tough: let them rise to room temperature prior to cooking. Cold or frozen meat doesn’t retain natural juices when cooked as well as warmer meats.
Within these tips, you are sure to find something new to try to add just a little extra something to your next set of smoked ribs. If you’ve left out more than one of these steps in the past, don’t go overboard and try everything at once. Take it one step at a time, testing out each solution to see how much closer you get to the perfect set of ribs. Of course, that’s just another excuse to enjoy your smoker and eat your favorite summer food over and over again this season!