This post is more of a story, but it is also a recipe for happiness.
I like ribs. Baby back ribs, short ribs, beef ribs, spare ribs, country-style. I am completely rib-centric and open-minded in my love for ribs. I like them wet or dry. With a sweet tomato sauce, or a sharp mustard sauce. With a vinegar sauce or no sauce at all. Dry rubbed. Par-boiled. Smoked or grilled over direct heat. In an oven, a crock pot, or a grill.
If you are not a pork-itarian, maybe you should skip this post.
Over the weekend, I made two huge racks of spareribs. Each weighed about 7 pounds. I dry rubbed them with a spice blend on Friday and let them sit in the fridge until Saturday afternoon. At noon, I fired up my smoker-grill and cooked them over low (225-ish) indirect heat with chunks of hickory for heat and apple wood for smoke.
Just after I put them on the grill.
If you are curious, the rub was 4 tablespoons paprika, 2 tablespoons table sugar, and 1 tablespoon each of coarse salt, black pepper, dry mustard, celery seed, garlic powder, onion powder, and 1 teaspoon cayenne. I tend to go overboard when I make spice blends, but this works on ribs.
I added one or two hickory chunks every 30 minutes, as well as a handful of apple wood chips that I had soaking in beer. At the same time, I also sprayed the ribs with a spray bottle filled with 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup Jack Daniels. I never turned the ribs or repositioned them at all. There are four air vents on this grill, and all were open half-way. It made a lot of smoke but not a lot of heat.
After five hours on the grill, they are ready to come off.
Towards the end of grilling, I prepared the other aspects of the meal. I make zucchini pancakes
and grilled corn on the cob.
Those are three inch cakes. It takes 1/4 cup batter to make one.
I had fresh corn on the cob that I partially husked (I pulled the husk to expose the corn, but I did not remove it from the cob.) I fired up my gas grill and preheated it on high for ten minutes. (Yeah, I have a charcoal grill AND a natural gas grill, directly connected to my home natural gas supply. I am a bit grill obsessed.) I laid the cobs directly on the grate. Corn grills at 2-3 minutes per side, and I basted it with olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. (I was too busy finishing the ribs and frying the pancakes so I did not have time to take a picture of the corn on the grill.)
Ribs are resting and the corn is grilled.
Notice the pink edge to the ribs. That is not rare meat, but rather a “smoke ring” cause by the smoke beginning to preserve the meat, when the smoke is absorbed by the meat and them chemically interacts. A smoke ring is a sign of low heat and long smoking.
I am not going to give nutritional data, because everyone will buy different ribs and therefore will have different numbers. And you may choose to use a commercial spice blend or a liquid sauce. I just tell you about this to give you the idea that you can smoke meats, too. You do not need a smoker. You just need a grill that is large enough to allow for indirect heat, and then add your preferred wood chips for the flavor. (I actually do not prefer hickory, but it is what I had on my grill shelf. The smoke is a little “medicinal” but it still tastes better than ribs without smoke.)
We had five people eating dinner (my wife and myself, our two sons and one of their friends.) After we finished dinner we still had an entire rack of ribs leftover. That’s okay because they taste even better the next day. Except when I got up the next day, the ribs were gone. Apparently, the guys stayed up late playing Xbox and sometime in the early morning hours, they enjoyed a snack of pork ribs.
At least they left me a few of the pancakes.
Life is meant to be enjoyed and shared, which is what I do with my interviews on my Make Your Someday Today podcast. I interview people from around the world, ask them to share their stories and in the process, we all learn how to be more successful and happier.