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I prefer a “dry” rib. This doesn’t mean that the ribs are dry, it just means that I don’t use a wet sauce. The flavor comes from a mixture of spices that are rubbed onto the meat. This is called a dry rub. Slow, indirect cooking keeps them juicy.
I started with a rub out of a great cookbook: “Weber’s Big Book of Grilling.” The rub on page 163 is a great rub, but I’ve altered it a bit. I felt that it has a little too much in it, so I simplified it some. I eliminated the fennel, oregano, celery seeds, and thyme. So my rub is three parts kosher salt, and black pepper, two parts sugar and paprika, and one part mustard, cumin, and crushed red pepper. If you have peppercorns and whole mustard seeds, it’s even better. You put it all in a clean coffee grinder and grind it down into a course powder. I suggest only making what you need at a time because the spices go stale after a while. If you really like a particular spice or flavoring, say garlic or curry, feel free to add it to the rub. Make it yours.
So we got the rub, now we need the fuel. Remember, you already have the Weber grill. Now you need charcoal. Buy a high quality name brand plain charcoal or lump charcoal. Do not buy a grocery store brand, do not buy an “easy light” brand. Do not use lighter fluid, remember, that’s why you bought the chimney starter. Get a bag of wood chunks. I prefer chunks over chips, but chips will do. Get a fruit wood like cherry or apple. Hickory works well also, but I try to stay away from mesquite. If you prefer mesquite, go for it, but I think mesquite is better for heartier meats like beef and lamb.
And last, but most important: the ribs. Try to get them fresh from your butcher, but if that is not feasible, get the kryopacked three racks to a pack at your grocery store or club warehouse. I get mine at BJ’s, and they’re usually of high quality. Do not get a pre-seasoned pack, that will put all your rub work to waste. Try to make sure they’re not frozen. I usually buy two packs for six racks total.
So in the last article you learned what equipment to buy, now you have the dry rub, the charcoal and wood chunks and the baby back pork ribs. All you need now is to BBQ the ribs. I’ll tell you how I do that in the next article.
write by Darius