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The topic of what we like to eat comes up frequently in most people’s lives. Whether its’ planning a family meal, a party or together or going out to dinner, you get asked what you want to eat often.
I like barbecued ribs, pork ribs.
If I go out to eat I’ll probably order ribs, if I’m cooking at home, and I like to cook, I often choose ribs to barbecue. I like to compare different methods of preparing ribs, sauces, presentations and the end results. I think most people compare ribs more so than most foods. People seem to have favorite rib place to eat or recipe or way of cooking them and they are really happy to share their opinion with you.
I’m no different. I like mine to have great smell when they are cooking, have a great taste to eat and to be tender and juicy. I like people to tell me my ribs are really good without me having to ask.
How to Cook Good Pork Ribs
Cooking good barbecued ribs isn’t all that easy, there are lots of decisions to be made. Luckily there are a number of great barbecue cookbooks at Amazon and one of the most popular is a book by Meathead Goldwyn titled “Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling“. With the help of a good resource let’s take a look at the decisions we need to make and what should be taken into consideration.
First let’s compare different cuts of meat. There are different cuts of ribs, I’m assuming we are barbecuing pork ribs. The difference in the thickness of the meat and bone, as well as amounts of fat in each cut, can alter the flavor and texture of the finished product.
- Baby back ribs – they have meat between the bones and on top of the bones, they are shorter, curved and sometimes meatier than spare ribs. These are probably the “traditional pork rib”.
- Pork ribs – the bones are longer than baby backs and they have meat between the bones but not so much over the top so as not to be as meaty. They can have great flavor and are often served with BBQ sauce because they can be a little drier.
- Spare ribs – are flatter than the rib cuts and have more bone than meat. Often you can buy boneless spare ribs so the bone isn’t an issue. Spare ribs usually have more fat than back ribs which can make them tenderer with great taste.
- Louis style ribs – Generally these are bone-in spare ribs. These ribs probably won’t be as tender as the baby back ribs but because of the higher fat content they will have a lot of flavor when it is rendered out. You would cook the St. Louis ribs the same as you cook the back rib but probably give them more time to cook because of the higher fat content and they are tougher.
- Kansas City style ribs – this is a style of cooking the back ribs. The ribs are slow-smoked over wood and then covered with a thick tomato- and molasses-based sauce during the final phases of the cooking.
- Memphis-style ribs – these ribs are back ribs cooked with a dry rub. Put a dry rub on a few hours before you plan on cooking them, put them in the refrigerator for a few hours and bring them to room temperature 30 minutes before you plan on grilling them.
How much to cook?
This of course depends on how big of eaters everyone is and what and how many, if any, sides are being severed.
As a rule of thumb half a rack of ribs per person should be planed. Generally a rack of ribs is 13-16 ribs, this will give you plenty and probably left-overs for the next day. Because ribs take a long time to cook, if done right, you are better off have too many than not enough. 4-5 ribs per person should get everybody going, and who wouldn’t want some tomorrow?
We have only covered choosing the right ribs to cook and why. We haven’t even gotten home yet.
I don’t know if I’ve answered all the questions about the meat that come up once the decision to barbecue pork ribs. But I think we have covered most of them and we are ready for a great BBQ.