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Pork Loin Ribs, Dry, Low and Slow
 
This audience does not need a basic tutorial on to barbecue or grill.  Certainly not our North American and Australian gourmet geezers.  Still, I have been often asked,--sometimes asked,--someone asked last week how to make great ribs.

The answer lies in two parts.  Common practice is to buy a couple racks of pork loin backribs, slather them with barbecue sauce and put them on the barbecue grill for an hour or so, adding more sauce a few minutes before serving. 

Been there, done that. 

After awhile, and after trying a half dozen sauces and one or two of my own making, I concluded that all of them tend to drown out the great taste of lean pork ribs and that none of the sauces taste all that good, to begin with.  So, why not dry rub the ribs with salt and pepper and let the taste of pork come through?  And then serve heated sauce on the side for those that can't live without it. 

Try it! 

After preparing a few ribs with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper you might wish to substitute a prepared dry rub.  I have three that I like. The Penzey Spice people offer a dry rub immodestly called "Barbecue of the Americas."   It's a tasty blend of salt, paprika, allspice, cayenne, other peppers, ginger and cinnamon.  The Spice House people have a "Jamaican Style Jerk Seasoning" that I use once in awhile on ribs and often on grilled chicken.  They also have a "Baharat," a Mediterranean style blend that works well on grilled meat.  Rub one of these spice blends on evenly and shake off the excess before grilling.  As for a favorite barbecue sauce:  find one that tastes good off the spoon.  Of late, I have been using "Stubbs Bar-B-Q-Sauce." 

After watching innumerable barbecue cook-offs on TV, where good ole boys cook ribs, briskets and whole pigs  for most of the day, I concluded that they may be on to something but probably to excess.  To get ribs  falling-off-the-bone-tender, they need to be grilled over low heat for quite some time.  This is a difficult task over a charcoal- or hardwood-fired grill since the fuel and fire must be tended.  It takes a skilled, devoted and attentive cook at least a six pack of beer to produce acceptable results. 

The task is greatly simplified--though the process is not as much fun and the product taste is arguably inferior-- if using propane or natural gas.  Here's how: 

  • Trim the meat-side of pork backribs of excess fat and, on the bone-side, loosen and peel off the silver skin (optional).
  • Rub the ribs evenly with S/P or a selected dry rub preparation. 
  • Select a grill with a cover and one that can provide indirect heat, as described here.  If it has a thermometer, all the better. 
  • Shake off the excess seasoning, and place the ribs on the grill
  • Fire up the grill burner(s) that does not fire directly under the ribs.
  • Close the cover and adjust the burner(s) to produce and maintain, within the enclosure, a temperature of 230F.  230F is the target temperature.  Do not exceed 260F.
  • Grill the ribs, starting  bone-side-down, for three hours
  • Turn the ribs once or twice favoring meat-side down. (If they look dry, drizzle a little oil on the meat side.)
Cut the ribs into groups of two or three bones and serve with whatever you been brung up to have with barbecued ribs. 




 

 

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