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How to make fall of the bone dry rubbed BBQ Ribs

I don’t know about you but there is nothing I like more than some fall off the bone BBQ ribs.  I know of a lot of people who claim they make good ribs.  Personally I got tired of people saying they made BBQ ribs and in my opinion they were not technically BBQ.  Traditional BBQ is low and slow and has a wonderful smoky flavor to it.  So if you grill them or boil them or bake them in the oven they are not technically BBQ.

There are several things that go into making a good rack of ribs.  You need to have a good piece of meat, a good rub, and be able to maintain your temperature and consistent smoke through the cooking process.  As far as the meat is concerned I prefer St. Louis style racks.  I buy them from a local BJ’s as raw racks so they are untrimmed.  I do this because I prefer to trim them myself because I use the trimmings to make everything from my BBQ sauce to BBQ rib tips to Italian lard bread.

Trimming The Ribs:

You need to remove the silver skin and trim off any excess fat and meat that is on the ribs so after you are done they will be a fairly consistent thickness and width through the length of the rack.  A lot of people think you only need to do this when competing.  In actuality this not only makes the racks look better, but it also makes them cook more consistently.  If all the ribs are uniform they will cook evenly and you will not have parts of the rack that are more cooked than other parts.

bbq ribsfall off the bone ribs

dry rubbed bbq ribsBBQ Ribs

Rubbing The Ribs:

When it comes to the rub everyone has their favorite and personally I prefer my own.  I know a lot of people are going to ask and I do not even share it with my own family.  I have spent several years refining it and prefer not to share the recipe.  It is a combination of sugar, brown sugar, paprika, salt and various other spices.  The rub process is not only about infusing more flavor into the meat it is also the base that your bark is built off of.  So you need to liberally rub the spices into the meat on all sides. This needs to be done at least a couple of hours before you smoke the ribs.  Personally I prefer to do it the day before and let them sit in the refrigerator overnight so more of the flavor gets transferred into the meat.

Slow Smoked Dry Rubbed BBQ Ribs BBQ Ribs

Smoking the ribs:

There are a lot of different ways to smoke meat.  You can use your BBQ grill as a smoker, you can use a wood fired smoker, pellet smoker, charcoal smoker, propane smoker or an electric smoker.  Personally I have used my gas grill as a smoker (I’ll explain how that works in another article), I have an electric smoker as well as a charcoal smoker.  All of them have the pros and cons.  The trick with smoking is time and temperature control.  I smoke my ribs between 200° and 225° for between 3 ½ and 5 hours.   I know that is a wide time range and everyone always asks when are they done and my answer is always they are done when they are done.  I cook mine until the meat is starting to pull away from the end of the rib bone and when you bend the rack you see the meat start to separate from the bone.

As far as the wood is concerned I use a combination of hickory and apple wood for my smoke.  The ratio you use is really a personal preference the hickory gives you more of a smoky flavor and the apple wood gives a sweet smoky flavor.  I will fine tune the ratio based on who I am making the ribs for because some people do not like the strong smoky flavor that you can get when you use more hickory.


Once they are done I normally put them in an aluminum tray and let them rest for a little while before I cut them up.  If it is going to be awhile before you are serving them you need to cover the tray in foil to keep them warm till you need to serve them.  I normally serve them dry with just the rub on them and usually put my BBQ sauce on the side so anyone that wants it can use it.   If you prefer your ribs wet you can take them out of the smoker about an hour before they are done and wrap them in foil with your favorite sauce poured on the racks.  I usually put 2 racks in each packet and put them back in the smoker so they can cook. In the BBQ sauce for the last hour.
By Al LaPeter

Al LaPeter on Google+

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