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Monday, February 7, 2011

Low and Slow Pork Ribs

Hey guys!  Hope you all had a great Superbowl weekend full of awesome excitement and amazing foods.  I also hope you guys were Packers fans, because, well... you know.  Over at my place we grilled up some burgers with two inch thick patties for lunch and we threw on some ribs afterwards for dinner.  The beauty of having the ribs done during the game is that there is so little care required.  It's done low and slow and you can't really mess it up.

Now, I love ribs, any type of ribs.  Be it wet and sticky beef ribs or pork ribs with a nice dry rub... they're all amazing in their own right!  Today, I have some pork ribs that were brushed with mustard and seasoned with my own dry rub.  During the low and slow cooking process, we mopped it with a traditional mop, and at the end I threw on some Phil's BBQ Sauce that I picked up when I was down in San Diego a few months back.  After about 5 hours on the grill, the ribs came out fall off the bone tender.

Let me go over the preparation for the ribs first.  I unfortunately did not get a good picture of the rack trimmed up but it's really simple.  Just trim up the ribs how you want it -- remove the silver skin or leave it on (I just scored it). Remove as much fat as you want.  And if there's a slab of meat behind the ribs, remove it and grill that on the side.  It's a nice chef's treat early in the cooking process.

Ingredients for the prep:
-Your favorite rub
-Pork ribs

For my rub, I don't know the exact recipe so it's hard to list it... also it's really up to preference how much you want, I change my rub a bit everytime I make it depending on my mood:

-1 part light brown sugar
-1 part kosher salt
-1 part paprika
-1/2 part black pepper
-1/2 part chili powder
-1/4 part cayenne pepper
-1/8 part garlic powder
-1/8 part onion powder

Obviously I can only list "parts" because the amount you make is really dependent on many things...

To prep the meat you'll want to have some mustard and a brush available.  Brush both sides and all the edges of the ribs generously with mustard.  Dijon works best, but I used regular yellow because I was out of dijon.  The mustard will not only impart a tangy flavor to the ribs, but it will help hold the rub.  Sprinkle the ribs liberally with the dry rub as well.  Make sure to get the sides and edges as much as possible as well.  Stick in the fridge for 2 hours if possible.  If you're out of time, it's OK to throw it on the grill right away.

To set up the grill, set it up for indirect heating on very low heat.  The temperature inside should read about 225-250 F.  If you have some wood chunks that you would like to add, you can definitely do so.  I did not have any.  Make sure the meat is on the top and the bones are on the bottom.  After you've gotten that rack on the grill, get the mop ready.  This is really easy.  My recipe is as follows:

For the mopping sauce:
-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/2 cup your favorite bbq sauce
-1/2 cup water

The point of the mopping sauce is to keep the ribs nice and moist as well as adding another layer of flavor.  To take full advantage of that, what I like to do is put the sauce into an old can that I've cleaned out and leave it in the grill with the ribs.  That way you can easily mop the ribs as well as have the steam moisten up the ribs.  You will want to periodically check on the ribs and mop it every thirty minutes or so -- whenever the meat starts to look a bit drier.  You'll probably need to refill the sauce once during the cooking process.  I initially just add a bit more water due to the evaporation, but I eventually make a new batch of sauce.  In my picture you'll notice I used a glass jar.  I regret doing that because at the very end of the cooking, when I was adding more water to it, the jar cracked.  I'll be using cans from now on.  The amount of time that you leave the ribs on the grill is completely optional.  5-6 hours had my meat falling off the bone.  Some people like the meat to have a little give.  Completely optional.  30 minutes before serving, I brushed on some bbq sauce.  This finishes up the final layer of flavor we'll add to the ribs.  The last 15 minutes I also flipped the meat upside down to have the meat crust up a bit.  Make sure you're rotating your meat if needed as well.  After removing from heat, let the ribs cool for about 10 minutes.  Cut each ribs individually and add more bbq sauce if desired.  Have every grab their own ribs and start gnawing!

Though it takes a bit of time, it is always time well spent.  You can use whatever cut of ribs you want.  I made some spare ribs as well as baby back ribs.  I served it with a baked potato with some butter and extra cheese (hey, the Packers won...) and a side of salad with a traditional balsamic vinegrette as well.  I definitely don't have to post instructions on making the baked potatoes (poke holes in them with a fork, salt and pepper the skin with some olive oil (if you want to eat the skin), and wrap tightly in aluminum foil and throw on grill) but I'll post up a quick recipe for the balsamic vinaigrette.

Traditional balsamic vinaigrette:
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-2 cloves garlic
-2 tbs brown sugar
-Juice of half a lime
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper

Mix all ingredients well in a bowl and toss with salad.

This was my Superbowl Sunday.  Amazing food, amazing friends, a great game, (ehhh halftime show) and some Blue Moon.  Let me know how you spent your Superbowl and what foods you ate!  I hope you'll give this recipe a try!