I wanted to share my bbq ribs recipe and how I cook them on my Weber kettle. The 22 inch Weber grills are large enough to handle two slabs of baby backs or St. Louis spares when using indirect heat.
I recommend either the Platinum or Performer kettles as they both come with side tables (important) and built in lid thermometers (very important). I am using the Weber Platinum and absolutely love the guy.
I find myself cooking baby backs more often these days as decent spares are tough to find down here. This approach will get baby backs done in about five hours. You will need to bump things up an extra hour if you are playing with spares. My approach is more of the Johnny Trigg style for ribs. Here is a post I wrote that includes the Myron Mixon rib recipe.
The first step for any bbq ribs recipe should be removing the membrane from the back of the ribs. After the membrane is off I coat the ribs thoroughly with my favorite rib rub.
I wrap the ribs in plastic wrap and let them sit in the refrigerator at least a few hours and preferably overnight. My current rib rub is a riff on Alton Brown’s and contains:
- 8 Tbls brown sugar
- 3 Tbls kosher salt
- 1 Tbls chili powder
- 1 Tbls lemon pepper seasoning
The next morning I take the ribs out of the plastic wrap and place them on a cookie sheet. The ribs will be quite damp as the sugar and salt in the rub will draw some liquid out of the meat. I add another light dusting of rub to the meat side of the ribs, just about enough to soak up the dampness. The ribs then rest on the counter while I prepare the grill.
I fill one charcoal basket to about 80% full with Kingsford briquettes and place it on the far right side of the grill. I then light about 15 briquettes in a chimney and once the charcoal is fully lit I pour it evenly on top of the unlit briquettes in the charcoal basket. I leave the lid up and wait for about five minutes until some of the underlying charcoal starts to get lit.
After five minutes the bottom air intake damper is moved to about 90% closed. I put the lid is on the kettle and adjust the top air outlet damper to about 90% closed then wait while the kettle comes to a temperature between 225 and 275F. Ideally I want to be as close to 225 as possible but I don’t get too upset if I am closer to 275.
I add the ribs, bone side down, to the opposite side of the grill from the charcoal. I add a small chunk of maple to the top of the lit charcoal, close the lid and walk away.
Over the next three hours I check my kettle about every thirty minutes to make sure the temperature is still in the 225 to 275 range. If I slip outside of this range I will adjust the top air vent slightly (open the vent to get hotter, close the vent to cool off). My habit is to keep the lid closed for the full three hours although most of the great rib cookers I read about will spray the ribs with apple juice every half hour. Here is what they look like after three hours:
After three hours I place four long sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil onto a baking sheet and put it on the side table of my Weber Platinum along with some Sweet Baby Ray barbecue sauce and maple syrup.
I squirt a few long lines of barbecue sauce onto one sheet of foil and place a slab of ribs into the foil meat side down. I’ll pour a few tablespoons of maple syrup onto the bone side of the ribs and then tightly wrap them in two layers of foil. The ribs go back onto the grill, meat side down, and the process is repeated with the other slab of ribs.
Once both slabs are foiled and back on the grill I grab the charcoal basket with a pair of tongs and give it a hard shake to knock out all of the ashes. I’ll fill the basket back up with unlit charcoal and leave the lid off for about five minutes while the new briquettes start to get lit. I never refill the charcoal until after the ribs are foiled to make sure I don’t cover them in ashes. After five minutes close the lid and make sure the grill settles into the 225 to 275 range.
I let the ribs cook in the foil for another hour checking the grill every now and then to make sure the temperature is holding. After an hour I remove the ribs from the grill and very carefully open up the foil which will have between a half and a full cup of steaming liquid inside. I take the ribs out of the foil and put them back on the grill, bone side down.
I pour the liquid from the foil into a bowl, skim off some of the fat and add a few tablespoons of honey. I will use this as my rib glaze.
I dust the meat side of the ribs with a little more dry rub and close the lid for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the ribs get brushed with the glaze and cooked for another thirty minutes. At this point the ribs get another coating of glaze and I start checking for doneness.
The ribs are usually done when they have pulled away from the bone by at least half an inch and a toothpick will slide through the meat with little resistance. For these ribs I didn’t get much pull back but the toothpick slid through like butter; good enough for me! If I had wanted “fall apart” ribs I would have probably cooked these for another 45 minutes.
That’s it! I hope you found my bbq ribs recipe to be useful. If you want more rib information here is a post I did on competition rib rubs.