Memorial Ribs Two Ways…

Memorial Day came and went a couple weeks ago.  It gives us a time to remember those who have served and do serve in the armed forces.  But after this post, you’ll also associate it with great ribs.  Summer’s in full swing which means we take our cooking passion to our ancestral roots.  Cook with coal, fire, wood…*grunt*.  The natural charring of fire adds unique flavor to meat that no other cooking method can.

I cooked two different types of ribs.  Why? Well, because I wanted to, simple as that.  Pork baby back ribs are a must because they’re synonymous with barbecue.  Tender, juicy, flavorful ribs ready for whatever sauce or rub you desire to put on them.  I went with a Steve Raichlen rub, his Dinosaur marinade.  It was meant for beef ribs, but who cares.

As for the other set of ribs, big ol beef ribs, I used a dry rub made of fennel, coriander, cumin, and other savory flavors.  Sauce wasn’t necessary for either because they were divine coming out of the smoker, but I whipped up a quick batch for the pork ribs.  Using homemade sauce I had in the fridge, I just added some pineapple juice and liquid smoke to compliment the already existing flavors in the ribs.

Here I’m pulling off the tough membrane from under the beef ribs.  It’s not THAT necessary for pork ribs, but it is for beef.  I prepared both this way just to make them the same.

The smoker was packed with ribs, I mean packed.  I had to cut rib segments in half, thirds, etc to fit everything in.  I put the pork ribs’ marinade in the water bowl so the marinade would evaporate into the meat.

With a quick char on the grill and basting with the sauce, caramelization has finished this racks journey from pig torso to the inners of my torso.  The level of smoke penetration was awesome.  Normally you have a skinny pink ring around the meat.  In this case, there was only a skinny grey portion in the middle.

Pair it with baked beans, and other delicious bbq sides and you’re set.  These are leftovers and they left me the charred pork ribs, :(.  The beef ribs were glazed with a balsamic reduction, adding darkness to them.

Memorial Ribs Two Ways

Pork marinade:

1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 T dry mustard
2 t kosher salt
1 quart pineapple juice
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 small sweet onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup pre-made bbq sauce
6-8 lbs babyback ribs

In a large saucepan, add the vinegar and bring to boil over medium heat.  Add sugar, mustard, and salt and simmer until dissolved well.  Add juice, Worcestershire sauce, onion, oil, and bbq sauce and mix well.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Remove membranes from ribs with paper towel to grab them easier.  Place ribs in roasting pan or other similar dish.  Pour marinade over them and turn to coat.  Let them marinate in the fridge overnight, turning them occasionally.  Set smoker or charcoal grill to 200-225 F.  Place them on racks and add have 4 cups hickory chips or chunks ready (soak for at least 1 hour prior to this).  Add 1 cup of chips 4 times over the course of 4 hours, once every hour.

Maintain temperature if it’s a grill. Brush ribs with pre-made sauce if you like and char either on a grill or under a broiler and serve.

Beef ribs dry rub:

2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 1/2 T kosher salt
1 1/2 T ground fennel
2 t black pepper
2 t fresh sage, chopped fine
2 t fresh thyme, chopped fine
2 t paprika
1 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground allspice
1 t red pepper flakes
1 full rack beef ribs (7-9 lbs)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl well and coat ribs evenly on both sides.  Marinate in fridge overnight.  Prepare the smoker the same way.  If cooking both ribs, still use only 4 cups wood and cook for 4 hours.

*next up… Sloppy Joes…*

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