Help me BBQ some Beef ribs

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob McElfresh, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I know of 3 ways to barbque beef ribs:
    • Boil the ribs for about 30 minutes in seasoned (garlic, salt, peper) water then grill for 10 minutes to dry the sauce onto them. This is quick, but any marinade or rubs get boiled away. (I did see Ron-P recommend a 2 hour boil - is this right?)
    • Marinade overnight with a wet or dry rub, then barbque indirect for 5-6 hours at 180 degrees, often with wet wood chips for smoke. This is what many rib places do and it's great, but takes a lot of time.
    • Marinade & grill directly over flame in a hot bbq for about 30 minutes. This works, but the meat is not always tender and if the marinade/rub is sugar based, this often burns long before the meat is ready.
    Assuming I can marinade/rub and leave ribs over night, anyone have a good technique to cook them in about an hour that gets them tender without easy burning?
    Would it be wrong to boil them, THEN apply a rub/marinade over night in the refrigerator. Then 10 minutes to heat and cook on the BBQ sauce?
    How about marinade them, wrap them in aluminum foil with say some apple juice and cook indirect on a hot grill for 45 minutes, then pull them out and slather on the sauce?
    Whats your favorite/easy technique for tender ribs?
     
  2. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    All I know is to get Montgomery Inn's Barbecue Sauce. It's the greatest BBQ sauce in the world.
     
  3. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I've seen the shows where they use a constant stream of smoke in a "Smoker". It looks like the heat comes from a fire-box where you put the wood chips and an electric fan blows the smoke into a taller chimney type box where the meat sits. While I'm sure it's good, there was a HUGE amount of smoke pouring out. In my suburban area, this is likely to cause problems.

    I've got an ordinary gas grill and trying to slow-cook the meat for 5 hours is easy to do. But I have to prop the lid open to get the temp down to 180 (I use an oven thermometer next to the meat to watch this.)

    I've had to make a "tube" out of aluminum foil and seal the bottom end where I add the wood chips. On the grill I put the meat up on the top rack on one side. I start the burner on the other side and put the wood-chip side of the foil tube over the flames. I position the open-end of the tube right under the meat.

    This creates a chimney for the smoke to flow under the meat.

    This tends to work OK, but just sitting there on low, the chips dont get hot enough to smoke. So I turn up the gas for about 5 minutes until smoke is coming out, then return the heat to low. I've even put a large aluminum drip-pan over the meat to help keep the smoke around the meat.

    While not giving 5 hours of constant smoke, it does give a nice flavor and the brisket has a smoke-ring in the meat when I cut it. I was told that this was one of the indicators that the smoke is doing the job.

    I think I will try the braising technique tonight, but I dont want to brown the ribs as this will toast the rubs & marinade. What do you recommend for a liquid?

    I'm thinking of doing a lite saute of Onions, garlic, italian herbs, sliced carrots. When lightly cooked, I'll deglaze with some red wine and add a half-can of chicken stock. Once everything boils, I'll put it into a roasting pan with the ribs, cover with foil and cook.

    I'm thinking 350 degrees for 2 hours (this from a recipe at foodTV.com). You recommend a low oven. Should I drop to 200 degrees? But it takes about 5 hours on the grill at 180 degrees.

    Then 10 minutes on the grill with Sweet Baby Ray's spicy BBQ sauce.
     
  5. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    Sounds like a good plan, but I'm even an advocate of lower & slower. I actually go with a 250 oven for 3+ hours (depends on the quality of the meat.) It takes time to properly break down the connective tissue.
    I wrap mine in foil with the marinade/sauce. I've gotten great results by just taking a BBW sauce and coating the ribs in that, wrapping htem in heavy foil and sitting in the fridge overnight. Next day, throw them in a low oven (on a baking sheet in case they leak) for a couple of hours and checking every 30 minutes after 2 hours by slightly unwrapping them.
    It's just with ribs - being such a tough cut - that low & slow goes better, whether it be smoke or a braise.
    I've got a water smoker (soon to be offset smoker if Santa is listening!) in a suburban area (not far from you!) and it doesn't put out smoke like a brush fire. It's pretty manageable (meaning its not obnoxious at all.) Much like annoying neighbors with a loud HT, just invite 'em over once in a while. [​IMG] Once you try low & slow smoking, it's hard to go back. Try hitting BBQ's Galore in Walnut Creek and talk smoking there - if you get the right person, they will definitely give you some good advice.
     
  6. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    Great topic. HT and Smoking are my two favorite hobbies/passions. Here is the technique for the best ribs I have ever made, except I use a smoker to cook them, but its the technique that's important.
    http://www.recipegoldmine.com/bbqguru/kevin10.html
    For smoking I will rub them down and leave them refrigerated overnight. The next day I put them in the smoker cold (I use a cookshack, LazyQ) and cook them at 225 for 3 hours. I take them out and spritz them with apple juice, apply more rub and then foil them. Its then back to the smoker at 215 for 2 and a half hours. By the time you take them out they should be falling off the bone, but the foil sometimes makes them too soft so I combat that by brushing my favorite BBQ sauce on them, then sprinkle some more rub and throw them on the grill for about 5 minutes, just to get the outsides tough, along with cooking on the sauce. Taste delicious. I'm smoking some pastrami as we speak.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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  8. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    Wow, Dave you are fast. I changed that about 20 seconds after I posted. :b
     
  9. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Oh man this is making me hungry.

    One day I'm going to try the Alton Brown Good Eats recipe for braised baby back ribs. I've got the recipe, I just need the ingredients and the time and energy to do it.
     
  10. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    I've done it - my technique is similar. FYI - you an buy that episode on DVD from foodtv.com - HIGHLY recommended.
     
  11. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    Already got it "Save Until I Delete" on my DirecTiVo. And I think I've watched that episode enough times I've got it memorized.
     
  12. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Thanks for all the great links & advice.
    Ok, I created the liquid and cooked for 2.5 hours at 300. This turned out to be too much.
    The meat was pulled back from the bone so much that the bones almost came out when you picked the ribs up by the bone.
    The meat WAS moist and tender. The problem was it was almost "boiled". The Earl Stubbs marinade and the Mesquite Rub I had used was nearly non-existant.
    I slatherd them with Spicy BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's) and put them on the grill for 10 minutes. They WERE very tasty. [​IMG] But the meat had the texture of ... well stew meat. It could have been better. But I could have pulled the meat off and put them on hamburger buns for some great BBQ beef sandwitches.
    BBQ's Galore in Walnut Creek is great. I buy a lot of my marinades there and all of my rubs. (They have a frequent-buyers program. I'm a card-carrying member. [​IMG] )
    So until I get a chance to try your suggestions for the oven, it does look like "low and slow" is the way to go.
    PS: I'm thinking of a BBQ turkey, but I'm going to start a separate thread for this.
    Thanks again.
     
  13. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    Cool! One thing about the braise - the sauce does get dilluted, since the collagen in the meat (connective tissue & what not) and the fat comingle as the meat cooks. The grill step is definitely needed for those who like a bit of a crust on the ribs.

    for me, the biggest sin is always tough rib meat though. For real BBW texture, you really do need a smoker. One alternative (expensive) but with little smoke - check out the Big Green Egg next time you are at BBQ's galore. Little smoke but great smoke taste from what i hear (I use a Mecco water smoker now, but Santa may be bringing me a OK Joe's Offset smoker soon!)

    Done the turkey many times. Great, but requires some patience.
     
  14. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well I spent about an hour at BBQ's Galore today.

    I did see the "Big Green Egg" sitting on the shelf, but there was no tag/description and the sales person did not offer to show it to me when I was asking about smoking tips for an ordinary grill. He showed me the little aluminum "Smoking Box" for the chips, but that would not solve my problem.

    There was another customer who was looking at the offset smokers. I started talking to him and learned he does catering on the side and does a LOT of smoking. He was impressed with the $199 offset smoker. He says each year the units stay about the same price, but the materials get thicker and more massive. He likes to use the big chunks of Mesquite Charcol. He usually buys the 40 lb bags sold at ethnic meat markets. He says while Kingsford burns at about 400 degrees, this stuff goes 8-900 degrees. So for smoking you only use a chunk at a time. He does admit that with charcol you have to baby-sit the grill every 45 minutes.

    They also had a Meco smoker marked down to $39 from $60. The top was banged up and would only sit flush at one position. I was tempted, but it's a charcol unit and now that I'm used to gas, I'm not sure I want to go back.

    I've got a TriTip on the grill right now. Even at the lowest setting I have to prop the lid open to keep the temp down to about 180.
     
  15. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    Bob- I've got the Mecco. It's pretty good all in all. That's a pretty good deal if you want to try our smoking and see how you like it.
    I like gas too - it's a convenience thing. However, smoking is much more of a 'love thing' - I consider the ritual of the fire half the fun. However, if you want convenience, you can either get the Mecco w/ an electric kit (basically a hot plate) and then just use chips. That's a decent compromise - easy (just refill the chips when needed) and no real fire.
    You can check out the Big Green Egg at www.biggreenegg.com.
     

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