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Fall Off the Bone Ribs - with pics

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    Fall Off the Bone Ribs - with pics

    Let me start by saying that Troutman 's original write-up can't get any better. I would digest all he has to say on the subject.
    That being said, some have had my ribs and have asked me to write something on how my process works. I am not sure why to be honest, mine are no better than anyone else's, but here goes.

    I choose to use spareribs. Generally I feel that the meat is more tender and it has that "bacon" like quality because it comes from low on the belly. If you are a baby-back fan, go for it, those are awesome too. Depending on the size of your smoker and whether or not you are hanging them, the baby back might be the better choice for size and weight in your particular rig. I have found that the baby-back's do tend to take hanging a bit better than spareribs. On to the show.

    Do I dry brine my ribs the day before? Yes, no, sometimes. I know, that sounds wishy-washy. Some people swear by dry brining with ribs, I have found that it does not make a great difference in the taste to dry brine for eight hours verses two. Perhaps it is the thickness of the meat, I'm not sure. So, as the smoker is warming up and I am prepping the meat, I pull the membranes, salt them and put them in the fridge for a couple hours before the cook.

    When you take your ribs from the vacuum pack, rinse them to be sure there are no loose bone fragments. There rarely are. Trim to your desired level. I keep my trimming to a minimum or not at all, preferring to just let the fat roll off in the smoker and make the neighborhood smell awesome.

    Pulling the membrane. The easiest way is to do it when the ribs are still "fridge" cold. They tear less and are easier to hold. Use a butter knife on the second rib from the end and pry up the membrane. Go slow at first until you get the hang of it. Then use a piece of a dry paper towel to hold onto the slick skin and pull. It should come right off with a firm tug.

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    Once you are happy with your trimming and removing the silver-skin, and salting (if desired), now you are ready for rub.

    Many use Meathead's Memphis dust, and you can't go wrong with it.

    3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

    3/4 cup white sugar

    1/2 cup American paprika

    1/4 cup garlic powder

    2 tablespoons ground black pepper

    2 tablespoons ground ginger powder

    2 tablespoons onion powder

    2 teaspoons rosemary powder

    I personally leave off the white sugar and I half the ginger powder. Pork loves sugar but many have said that the added white sugar is a bit too much; I tend to agree. I will also add a little chili powder or maybe your favorite Cajun flavor just for a little kick, but not to make them "hot" ribs.

    Mix some mustard with a splash of malt vinegar (apple cider will do too). The vinegar helps thin the mustard and adds a layer of flavor. Rub a little on your ribs to help the rub stick. I would encourage you not to skip this step. The small amount of vinegar that you will use makes a defference in the tase of your final product. It is subtle, but you will miss it once you leave it off and wish you had not forgotten. Generously rub your ribs top and bottom.

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    The smoker is ready, on we go. (225 - 250)

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    Now we just have to let the smoke roll. I use a mix of hickory and white oak that is found all over here in North Carolina. Let me just say, you can use all the rubs, salts, and sauces you want, but if you don't get good smoke on your meat it will always be missing something. I would rather have no rub at all and good smoke than to have the best rubs and little smoke. BBQ without smoke is not BBQ, it's just oven cooked meat. That said, cooking with wood will always be my number one choice. Charcoal is good, pellets are good, even a slow cooker can make tender ribs, but you will never make better bbq than what is done by burning wood to smoke your meats.

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    Blu wanted to know when we were going to eat.

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    About 2 1/2 -3 hours on the smoker, depending on how constant your heat is, check your temps. They should be in the 150-160 range. It is about this time that your meat will quite "taking smoke". I then pull them from the smoker, add some sauce, and wrap in either foil or butcher paper. The merits of both have been discussed over and over. Foil works great for me because I am looking for "fall off the bone" ribs. If you want a little tug to your bite of rib then use butcher paper or continue cooking naked. Cooking without any wrap will create a much crispier bark. Again, cook to your taste or those you are cooking for.

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    I pull half way (maybe 3/4) through the cook, sauce, and wrap in foil. Ribs at 225-250 usually take about five hours. Once you wrap, you can bring the temp up to 275 to shorten the time some, but good BBQ takes time; just relax and let them cook.

    A quick note about the sauce. If I am not making my own sauce I will choose one like Sweet Baby Rays. Add 1oz of your favorite whiskey or bourbon to about two cups of sauce. Mix and put on your ribs. You don't have to add the booze of course, but it just adds another layer of flavor to the finished product and is often the difference between someone saying those are "awesome ribs" or "those are the best ribs I have ever had".

    You don't have to sauce at all of course, simple dry rub ribs are the bomb too.

    Pull your ribs from the smoker anywhere between 200-205. The sweet spot seems to be 203, just like with pulled pork. If you want a little tug to your ribs, pull them at 190-195, or sooner if you prefer. Remember, only you can determine what the best ribs ever made were. Open the foil and let them cool/rest.

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    The only thing left to do is have family and good friends gather around your labor of love and watch them disappear! Cheers to you my friends, and keep on smoking.

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    P.S. Please forgive my typo's, I'm not the best at catching everything
    Attached Files

    #2
    Great looking ribs, awesome write up. Thank you for taking the time to put this together, It is always nice to see how other people prepare their ribs. There are so many variations to choose from. Ribs prep can be so versatile.

    Oh, and that is an awesome looking hound! I have two Foxhounds, they are the best dogs ever!

    Comment


    • MartinNC
      MartinNC commented
      Editing a comment
      thank you!

    • mrteddyprincess
      mrteddyprincess commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree with Spinaker . Thank you for sharing your methods. I like the bourbon suggestion and I will be trying that.

    • bardsleyque
      bardsleyque commented
      Editing a comment
      Had me dog his name was" Blue"betcha five bucks he's a good dog too...

    #3
    That is a fantastic write up. My cooking temps are the same as yours. I can't say that my rub is - I am always changing because it is fun. I was on the brining kick for awhile and I am glad to see that someone else feels that with ribs it just doesn't make a great deal of difference. I love the idea of mixing vinegar with the mustard. I am definitely going to try that. What you and others do so well here (and that I can't) is to articulate your method with photos. It really answers any questions one would have for cooking this recipe.

    Comment


    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      The great thing about ribs, is that they are fairly cheap when compared to brisket or a nice steak, so it is less stressful to try new stuff out.

    • tbob4
      tbob4 commented
      Editing a comment
      Spinaker - you are right on about that. Plus, regardless of your temp, you still have a minimum of 2 and up to 6 hours to try new beers with the cook.

    • Spinaker
      Spinaker commented
      Editing a comment
      Agreed! And their ability to take heat means exact temp control is not a huge issue, so they are even more stress free. Win, win, brother!

    #4
    Great alternative write-up to the one you credit to me. I'm not a 'fall off the bone' kind of guy but I realize some folks are. It goes to show there really is no one way to cook anything, there's always variants. Thanks for taking the time to document your way. Love the colors on that last snap shot of the finished product.

    Comment


      #5
      Now I am going to have to make some. Got me craving them with those pics.

      Comment


      • MartinNC
        MartinNC commented
        Editing a comment
        Awesome! Saw that you are from TN, go Vols. I grew up in Oak Ridge,TN. Mom and dad are still there so I head home often.

      • klflowers
        klflowers commented
        Editing a comment
        Not from here, grew up in Detroit, but I have lived here for around 25 years. I really like it. No Vols, though - I went to Michigan (lets go blue, and for God's sake, figure out a way to beat Ohio State). I do some engineering work for Duke, so I am in NC every couple of months.

      #6
      That is a nice looking cook!

      Comment


        #7
        Great write up. Love the beagle too!

        Comment


          #8
          Darn goooood looking ribs! Makes me wanna fire up the smoker!

          Comment


            #9
            Fun read and great description of your technique and outcome! Thanks for taking the time to put together a very nice post.

            What smoker are you using?

            Comment


            • MartinNC
              MartinNC commented
              Editing a comment
              It is a home made smoker I built onto a trailer. I’ll add a pic if I can find it.

            #10
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            Comment


            • klflowers
              klflowers commented
              Editing a comment
              Nice piece of equipment you got there.

            • MartinNC
              MartinNC commented
              Editing a comment
              Thank you

            • Alphonse
              Alphonse commented
              Editing a comment
              That is a beauty. Thanks for finding the photos!

            #11
            Thanks!

            Comment


              #12
              Great write up! And those ribs look goooooooood!

              Comment


                #13
                Nice writeup with each step clearly described and great photos, especially the pup.

                I'm in the clean-bite-with-a-bit-of-tug camp with no sauce, but there are others in our family who like them just as you do, MartinNC . I often do some of each for our big get-togethers. It shows that there's no one right way to smoke or grill anything, within food safety constraints of course.

                In the end it's the fun of seeing happy folks eating our grub that carries the day.

                Kathryn

                Comment


                • MartinNC
                  MartinNC commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I agree 😁 thank you for the vote of confidence.

                #14
                That was awesome. Thank you!

                Comment


                  #15
                  Thank you for the write up! I am still experimenting with ribs and trying to figure out exactly how I like them. (Prior to a year ago, my only experience with ribs was the ubiquitous Chilli's ribs.)

                  I'm finding that I like "pull of the bone;" that is, they aren't falling off by themselves, but they pull off cleanly. I need to try wrapping my ribs at least once, just to try it and get that data point.

                  Comment


                  • MartinNC
                    MartinNC commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I find that many in TX like their bark so that it's hard, crispy, on the edge of burnt. Most people here like a flavorful but softer bark. Wrapping in foil will do that and wrapping in paper seems to be a happy median. Cook to your tastes and enjoy 👍.

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