One question comes up more than most when we’re out sampling Sauce Goddess or at cooking competitions, “What is the best way to cook pork ribs?” Many debate whether they should be boiled (faster, but tougher meat) or slow cooked (okay if you’re never going to put them on the grill). Some like them on a smoker while others prefer the grill. We’ll get into all that starting at the meat counter and working our way to the plate.
You first have to figure out what kind of a rib you want. There are basically three types of popular cuts – spare ribs, St. Louis cut (rib tips and meaty flap removed from spare ribs), and back ribs (baby back and loin back ribs). In general, spare ribs are long straight bones with less meat and the most flavor, but you have to deal with spare pieces of meat (rib tips). Baby back ribs are the smallest and have the thickest meat, but are the most expensive. Personally we use the St Louis cut.
We know you’re anxious to rub, but before you get out the spices remove the membrane from the underside of the ribs. Any competition BBQ pitmaster MUST remove the membrane. However, if cooking at home leaving it in tact is an option. It usually cooks down to a fairly thin delicious bite and keeps a little moisture in the meat. Removing it involves getting your finger tip under part of it and simply peeling off.
Rub ‘em good! The purpose of using a rub and working it into the meat is to add
spice to the flesh. Don’t just sprinkle. It doesn’t mean you have to use a lot of rub, just be sure to work it into the meat. We use Sauce Goddess BBQ Sweet Heat, which gives them a tiny bit of spice with loads of flavor.
Please do NOT boil or slow cook your ribs! Also, don’t place them raw on a hot grill (did that and had 7’ high flames lapping over the kettle grill). Instead place the ribs on a roasting rack in a pan with a bit of beer or water in the bottom. It allows steam to gently cook the meat without a lot of hot dry air. The beer gives it flavor and keeps the meat super moist.
Cover loosely with foil and bake at 225 (or smoke with a water pan) for 5-6 hours until the bones barely stick out. If you are using a smoker, you can baste with Sauce Goddess Sweet & Tangy Mop sauce after 4-5 hours.
If you want dry ribs you’re done! At this point you can freeze them for a rainy day or dig in. A little sauce on the side is always a good idea.
If you prefer saucy ribs, start-up the grill on medium heat and let the slathering begin. Flip and sauce several times while moving them around