I’ve got a recipe here for ribs that will make you look like a BBQ master but is does require a bit of time to prepare. Chef’s and BBQ masters are two separate crafts just like bread bakers and pastry chefs are completely different worlds. I was raised in the “chef-world” and so my rib recipe is going to be a little bit different from the classic BBQ style that is cooked completely on the grill.
Most BBQ purists will say that ribs must be cooked start to finish on the BBQ. Personally, I like braised ribs which are cooked in a a flavourful liquid and finished on the grill. I love the juiciness of the meat that was brined and cooked in a salty liquid, full of aromatic flavours and finished over charcoal.
Respecting the Meat
This recipe takes time to prepare and giving the necessary time to properly cook the meat will give respect to the animal. We all know now that we should eat less meat and when we do we should cook it with respect.
The good news is that these ribs can be made ahead of time and once cooked and cooled, will only need 10-15 minutes over the charcoal. Try to grill with charcoal instead of gas because a charcoal grill gives way more flavour to anything you cook and this is a game-changer for the ribs.
Spare ribs or back ribs?
It’s simply a matter of personal preference. Spare ribs tend to be fattier (and more flavourful) but back ribs are smaller and meatier. Personally, I like what is called St-Louis style ribs because they have flavour from the extra fat and it is cleaned of chewy cartilage. It doesn’t matter too much which cut you pick but keep in mind that the smaller baby-back ribs will cook a little bit faster than the rest.
It is important to remove the silver-skin lining from underneath the ribs for two reasons. Firstly, this membrane will prevent flavour from properly penetrating the meat and secondly, the membrane will never break-down and will be very chewy. You can ask the butcher to do this or this can easily be done yourself by using a knife to get under the skin and pull off using a paper towel for grip. If that doesn’t make any sense I’ve linked a quick video tutorial from a bbq guy here.
Ribs - How to Look like a BBQ Master with this Recipe
- Charcoal grill
- big casserole or braising dish
- bbq brush
- paper towel
- 1 + ½ racks back ribs or spare ribs
- 750 ml chicken stock
- 2 whole onions cut in half, skin left on
- 1 bottle your favourite bbq sauce
- 1 head garlic cut in half, skin left on
- 2 bay leaves
- 20 g butter softened
Salt brine 5%
- 50 g salt
- 1 litre water
- 1 bay leaf
DC's Super Secret Rib Rub
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp celery salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ⅛ tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp Aleppo chili flakes
- Make a 5% brine by dissolving the salt into the water with the bay leaf. You can add all the water and salt together and bring to a boil but this will take a while to cool down. The quick trick here is to take half the water (500ml) and add it with the salt in a small pan and bring to a boil. Fill a measuring cup with ice and top up to 500ml mark with cold water. Now add both solutions together and you now have a quick-cooled 5% brine. It is very important you let this liquid cool completely so you do not accidentally cook the ribs at this stage.
- Once the brine is cool, add the ribs and use a small plate to hold them into the solution. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight or at least 6 hours.
- Set the oven to 350F/175C. Remove the ribs from the brine and place into the biggest casserole dish you have that will fit into your oven leave out to temper for about 20 minutes. Add the onions, garlic and bay leaves with the ribs to the casserole dish. In a separate pan bring the chicken stock to a boil and season gently with salt and pepper. Pour the hot stock over the ribs making sure the ribs are completely covered in liquid. Cover with a double layer of tin foil or a lid. Set in the oven for 2-2+1/2 hours. Check after 2 hours. The ribs are done when the bone is pulled slightly it easily pulls away from the meat. If the ribs are still tough, put them back in the oven until they become tender.
- After the ribs are cooked, let them cool in the braising liquid for as long as possible or about 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you are not going to cook the ribs today then set the braising casserole once cooled, covered and wrapped in the fridge. If you want to eat the ribs now then remove them from the liquid and set on paper towel. Set in the fridge and quickly chill for about 20 minutes. (This will make it easier to handle on the grill)
- Now get that BBQ fired up! While you are waiting for the grill to heat up make the spice seasoning. Get a brush, bbq sauce and the softened butter ready.
- Remove the ribs from the fridge and rub with the softened butter. Season generously with salt and the spice seasoning.
- Brush a nice layer of BBQ sauce all over the ribs and start grilling! The technique is to continuously flip the ribs over and brush more BBQ sauce over the ribs when they look dry and then repeating this step multiple times to achieve a nice crust. Finish with a sprinkling of more seasoning and lots of BBQ sauce and serve on a board. Preferably, enjoy outside with a cold beer