Smoking Ribs for the Neighborhood Barbecue
Summertime is just around the corner again, and you’re getting ready for all the outdoor parties you’ll be a part of through the season – the neighborhood cookout, Fourth of July gatherings, and more. That means you’ll want to work up the perfect recipes to use out on your grill and smoker. Perhaps one of the best traditional foods for any big barbecue is smoked ribs, and if you go for pork ribs, you are sure to create a savory, delightful dish to share with your friends, family, neighbors, and anyone else who happens to pop by. There is a secret to creating the best smoked ribs, and you’ll want to consider how to cook them to get the most flavor and most tender meat possible.
First, know that more smoke is better. The flavor in smoking ribs comes from – you guessed it – the smoke you use while cooking the ribs outdoors. Whether you use a regular gas grill or a smoker, you can create a fantastic recipe simply by using a great deal of smoke. Either way, you want to choose your wood chips to infuse the ribs with a woodsy, smoky flavor. Mesquite is a great choice for such a recipe and tastes great with pork ribs. This traditional choice will certainly please anyone who attends the event in question, and you may find yourself running out of food early on.
When smoking ribs, you want to make sure you use the optimum temperature and take plenty of time with them. Smoked ribs are all about slow cooking, as this adds to the meat picking up the smoky flavor and coming out so tender it falls off the bone. The temperature should be kept somewhere around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll have to have some patience when it comes to getting them done, as there is a lot of time to hurry up and wait for the perfect ribs. You’ll want to take at least four hours to smoke a full rack of ribs. However, if you aren’t in a hurry, you can get more taste and softer meat with a longer time spent in the smoker.
Another way to assure your smoked ribs are as savory as they can be is to prepare them properly prior to actually cooking them. Don’t start cooking them straight from the refrigerator or freezer. First, thaw the rack, then allow it to come up to room temperature for best results. Once they’ve warmed slightly to this temperature, be sure to rinse them in cool water and remove the membrane from the back. This will allow the seasoning and smoke to soak in deeper and more efficiently to the ribs themselves. Removing the membrane can be accomplished by laying the rack with the meat side down and peeling the membrane, using a knife and starting in one corner by a bone.
Once this is done, rinse the rack of ribs one more time and pat them dry so that you can begin the basting process. To make sure your ribs absorb the most flavor from your seasoning, brush yellow mustard over the entire rack, resting assured that this will leave no remaining flavor once the smoked ribs are finished. Then, add your rub, baste, or seasoning as you prefer. Start the smoker up prior to adding the ribs so that you have the optimum temperature from the start.
When smoking ribs, always practice safety precautions, using aprons and mitts, as well as tongs and other tools to avoid burns. Keep children away from your smoker, and test the ribs carefully every once in awhile to assure they don’t burn.