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[USA] Smoked Ribs With BBQ Sauce

Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 04:18
by Chuckwagon
[USA] Rocky Mountain Wrangler`s Rubber Ribs, Rotten Rub, Ghastly Glaze, N` Rusty Sauce
Ribs, Ribs, Ribs!

If you order just one rack of these tasty, golden-brown, smoky, ribs in a fancy restaurant, you`ll probably have to sell a kid or mortgage your house! Why would anyone want to cure a rack of ribs? Brining ribs in a curing solution allows them to retain moisture and ensure their safety in the smokehouse. In America, pork must also be heated to a minimum 138°F. (59°C.) if smoked, destroying any possible trichinae. Later, the finishing temperature will be 160°F. (71°C.). If the rack is to be slowly cooked while being smoked, it must be cured - for safety reasons.

Remember nitrites completely change the texture and flavor of meat. If you grill a fresh rack of ribs, you have great tasting roasted pork. The same fresh rack of pork ribs cured with sodium nitrite a few days, will gradually develop an entirely different texture and flavor we know as "cured ham" and it is delicious smoked and finished on the grill! Most often, large amounts of ribs are prepared for sizeable gatherings of famished folks at parties or gatherings, and clostridium botulinum should be the last thing a busy cook has to worry about. Restaurants, often cooking ribs on the spot, consistently choose to cure ribs for the convenience of storage or bulk purchasing.

What is a "wrangler"? He`s the cowpoke on a ranch responsible for getting up an hour early, putting on a pot of coffee, and going for a walk to round up the horses for the other cowboys to ride that day. The horses scatter throughout the nighttime while they "mow the lawn" and sometimes it takes quite a while to round `em back up. So the wrangler takes along a few "chaws" of hickory-smoked beef jerky for a snack. In America, even with the remote possibility of trichinella spiralis, jerky is never made of raw pork or bear meat.

Rocky Mountain western-fashion tasty barbecued ribs are first cured, then smoke-cooked, being hung inside a smokehouse several hours before being removed and grilled over indirect high heat for just a couple of minutes while a little glaze is applied. On the grill, the final temperature of the meat should be about 160°F. (71°C.). Remember, the smudge in the smoker cuts off oxygen, the meat remains moist, and with temperatures relatively low, the use of actual curing agents is critical, as a smokehouse composes perfectly correct conditions for botulinal development. The process is completely safe if a cook remembers any smoked meat must be completely cured using a precise amount of nitrite and dried to the touch before it will take in any smoke.

"Baby Backs"
Pork provides four types of ribs, perfect for any barbecue party. Back ribs, sometimes called "Baby Back Ribs" or more correctly "pork loin ribs", are those of the center rib section with the loin "end" attached. They are taken from the upper part of the piggy`s rib cage called the "chine", adjacent to the backbone. One domestic rack of baby-backs weighs about two-and-a-half pounds, costs a little more than beef, and feeds only two hungry guests. These slightly more expensive chine ribs created the expression "eating high off the hog".

Spareribs, taken from the rib cage surrounding the sides and upper belly, are larger and longer than baby backs. Often they are called "Dinosaur Bones" in jest. Containing more connective tissue, they are a bit tougher, but the meat is actually more flavorful. The average weight is about 3-1/2 pounds and the shoulder end of the rack is wider than the other. Longer ribs are leaner than the shorter, more fatty, and more meaty ends. No matter what your pocketbook will afford, either section is great for grilling.

Rib tips are the favored, very flavorful, sections used in much Chinese cooking. Tips are taken from gristly section connecting the two racks of spareribs in the piggy`s underbelly. These ribs contain much cartilage and may be a little tough to chew, but their flavor is certainly worth every cent you may pay for them. Braised then barbecued, they are the first choice of many wranglers.

Country ribs are most often not considered ribs at all in the Rocky Mountains. They are taken from the blade-end of the loin and are much like small, meaty, "pork chops". Although many markets trim the bones from the meat and present the cuts as "country style ribs", you may find these tasty n` fatty cuts ideal for grilling if they are baked first.

Preparation & Instructions

A little preparation is necessary for great barbecued ribs, consisting of trimming, membrane removal, application of your super-secret rub, and resting of the ribs before cooking. First, remove the tough translucent membrane located along the inside curvature of each rack of ribs allowing spice rubs and smoke flavor to penetrate the meat, making eating more pleasurable. The membrane is best removed using a blunt instrument like a screwdriver to begin the separation. Once you are able to get your fingers and thumb between the membrane and the bones, use a paper towel and your fingers to pull away the membrane. You'll soon discover that for some unknown reason, peeling the membrane is much easier if you begin at the small end and peel toward the large end of the rack. :roll:

Trimming the excess fat from the ribs is the next step. Using a smaller boning knife, carefully remove any extraneous pieces of fat, leaving the natural fat located between the ribs. Don't attempt to remove all the fat, as much of it is absolutely crucial for creating moist, flavorful, ribs while self-basting during the cooking process. Simply remove the larger pieces along the outside of the meat.

[USA] "Wrangler`s Rusty Rib Curing Solution"
(Prague Powder Nitrite Curing Brine For Ribs)

25 lbs. pork ribs
2-1/2 gallons ice water
1 lb. uniodized salt
8 oz. powdered dextrose (its only 75% sweet as sugar)
16 level tspns. (four ounces = 113.4 gr.) American strength 6.25% sodium nitrite Prague Powder #1.

Clean, trim, and remove the membranes from 25 pounds of pork back ribs. Mix the salt, dextrose, and the curing nitrite #1 into the water to make Wrangler`s Rusty Ribs curing solution. You may simply double the recipe for 50 pounds of ribs if you don't intend to eat alone! Place the ribs into the brine completely submerging all the meat and bones and refrigerate them (in the brine) two days inside a non-reactive container. A food-grade cooler or plastic lug is best.

Rinse the ribs thoroughly and pat them dry. Generously apply and vigorously rub in your own super-secret, yet to be legendary, spicy rib-rub. Common ingredients of rib rubs consist of salt, sugar, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, Hungarian paprika, peppers and chilies of all types, and, whew... many more. Every self-respecting rib cook develops his own favorite seasonings through experience and better "rib rubbers" soon discover the necessity of allowing the meat to rest a bit following rubbing, while seasonings and cures work their magic. You may want to start with my recipe for "Rotten Rub":

[USA] "Rocky Mountain Rotten Rib Rub"

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne

Smoke-Cooking "Rocky Mountain Wrangler`s Ribs"

Place the cured, dried, and rubbed ribs into a preheated 120° F. (49°C.) smokehouse, start the smoking process using dampened hickory sawdust, and completely open the dampers, allowing moisture to escape. Gradually increase the heat inside the smokehouse to 160°F. (71°C.) degrees over a few hours time. The internal meat temperature must reach at least 138°F. (59°C.) although most wranglers smoke-cook ribs a little higher, until the meat just begins to separate from the bones (in about four hours). Remove the ribs and allow them to cool for later use or finish them on the grill over indirect heat with more hickory (moistened "chips" this time) at only about 200°F. (93°C.). Many old timers retain the meat`s moisture during final grilling by brushing on a little sugary glaze while the ribs finish over indirect heat, being most careful not to burn or char the sugars! Because sugar burns at 265°F. (129°C.), brush on glaze only at the very end of the grilling. The following glaze recipe is an old favorite silky-smooth blend generating a mahogany sheen that just can`t be ignored!

[USA] Ghastly Grilling Glaze For Pork Ribs

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple or apricot preserves
1/2 cup whiskey
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 stick butter
1 tspn. garlic powder
2 tblspns. lemon juice
*Simmer all the ingredients five minutes then brush the mixture over the ribs just before removing them from the grill.

Careful now. Smoked ribs simply do not need the extremely lengthy cooking periods, as do briskets, shoulders and whole hogs. Never cook ribs, or any meat being barbecued, over a direct heat source. Use indirect heat by turning off the middle burners of a gas grill, or by scraping hot coals to the edge inside a covered charcoal grill. If you have the luxury of a larger offset smoker, you'll find plenty of room to place the ribs and won't have to worry about them drying out or over-cooking. If at all possible, rotate the ribs at intervals providing uniform heating. One perfectly ideal method of barbecuing ribs is to use a rotisserie, slowly cooking either several dry or wet rubbed racks, taking advantage of the utensil`s self-basting capabilities.

A few old "coots" like myself, prefer a simple glazing solution of vinegar, butter, and limejuice! Remember, glazing ribs with any mixture containing sugar, should be done just before serving them to avoid charring.

When the finishing temperature of the meat reaches 160°F. (71°C.) serve the ribs with plenty of "finishing sauce". My favorite is "Rocky Mountain Red". Some of the ingredients are not readily available in Poland so I`ve posted this recipe in another column previously with recipes for making your own 57 Sauce, ketchup, etc.

[USA] Rocky Mountain "Red" (Barbecue Sauce)

4 cups ketchup
2 bottles (10 oz. ea.) Heinz 57 Sauce
1 bottle (10 oz.) A.1. Steak Sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 cup white vinegar
1-1/2 cups apple cider
1/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tblspns. Frank's Hot Sauce

Directions: Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy, Dutch oven or non-reactive saucepan and cook the sauce, stirring it frequently, over medium heat, five minutes to develop flavors. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the mixture, covered, until it reduces to the consistency of a thickened sauce - in about 90 minutes. Be sure to stir the mixture frequently. Start with a half cup of vinegar, then as the mixture simmers, add more a little at a time, until it suits your taste. The best way to serve the sauce is piping hot in small bowls. Be sure to serve an unlimited supply of moistened finger towels. Cool leftover sauce and pour it into jars. Cover and refrigerate. This sauce will keep several months when refrigerated.

The ribs are usually cut in pairs as to include lots of meat between the two bones as well as half on the sides. At a party, I often serve the entire rack in one piece - slathered with this sauce... and let the guests cut their own ribs. I hope you give this recipe a try. People will think you are a culinary expert!

Best Wishes,

Posted: Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:14
by Trosky
Thanks CW I just put it on the menu for next weekend.


Posted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 04:34
by Chuckwagon
OOOooopppsss! :oops:
I forgot to put the vinegar in the list of ingredients for the St. Louis "Red" Sauce. Of course you must have a little white vinegar to build the "sour" flavor to enhance and balance the sweetness of the sugars. Start with a half cup of vinegar, then as the mixture simmers, add more a little at a time, until it suits your taste.

Here's another hint. I like to put a chopped up green pepper and a bit of vinegar into the food processor and just pulverize the pepper into a creamy liquid. Add it to the simmering sauce. You won't believe what it does to boost the flavor of the sauce.

Best wishes, Chuckwagon

Posted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 20:44
by kjuncatman
I made some of these ribs. They hit the spot. The rub made the outside beautifully colored. So good they realy didnt need sauce, but used it any way. Make plenty and serve with plenty of napkins. thanks cw its a winner.
Happy newyear to all from Fritz kjuncatman

Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 04:33
by Chuckwagon
Hi Cat Man,
I'm really glad you enjoyed them! That smoky flavor is tough to beat eh? And the meat actually turns into some sort of delicious ham.
Did you remember to put the vinegar in the sauce? :oops:
I wonder if anyone tried the recipe before I caught the mistake. The vinegar makes just the right amount of "sour" in the stuff.
There is a big casino in Las Vegas that serves these ribs and they are atrociously expensive... but what the heck... if you spend your time at the crap table instead of the dining table, you just might even lose more of your hard-earned greenbacks eh? :lol:
I'm happy you gave this recipe a try kajun cat meow! Good on ya! Stay healthy and eat more barbecued pork and Polish sausage!
Best wishes, Chuckwagon

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 04:01
by ssorllih
I cured a side of pork ribs last week and smoked them yesterday. This was my first effort for cured ribs and generally I was pleased. My brine measured 25 degrees on the salometer. But I feel that I should have used the thinnest section as the thickness for the time in the cure. The thin portions were just over the edge of too salty and the thickest were about right but I think that I would prefer a milder cure.
comments and advise welcome.

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:39
by Chuckwagon
Hi Ross,
For 12 pounds of pork ribs, I prefer a little lighter brine using ¾ cup salt (219 gr.) in 1-gallon (3.8 liters) water producing a 19°; SAL. Here`s the math:

219 g / 219+3800 g = 0.05 (one gallon equals 3.8 liters)
0.05 X 100 = 5% Salt
5% Salt = 19°; SAL

If your ribs were too salty, did you:
(a.) consider the salt in the Cure #1?
(b.) soak the rack in fresh, cold, water after curing?

I`ve achieved 10% pickup in only 2 days @ 38°; F. (3°; C.) with a target of 156 ppm. Ribs just don`t require longer brining periods. I also use ¾ cup of powdered dextrose in this recipe. Ol` Rytek Kutas used to take the rack of ribs from the brine to the smoker after drip-drying them until the surface would take on smoke. He never did soak the ribs and whew!... they were just too salty for me. I have to soak `em an hour in cold water.

(I`m diabetic with high blood pressure - just can`t take all the salt I used to in my wasted youth and feral, mis-spent younger years!) Ahhh shucks, I figure it this way, pard: One of the many things no one tells you about getting old is that it is such a nice change from being young! Yup, being young might be beautiful, but being old is... uh... comfortable! However, I know I`m quickly approaching the time when I stop complaining about all these years, and start braggin` about them. Heck, I`m just grateful that all the lines and wrinkles in my face don`t hurt! Shucks, everything on me is either dried up or it leaks! :shock:
Yes, Ross... I guess at my age, if I can't be a good example . . . I`ll just have to be a horrible warning! :lol:

Best Wishes,

Posted: Wed Jun 01, 2011 13:08
by ssorllih
I had done sone chicken breast in a similar brine for an hour or two and then fried them and them were just right and juicy. I will try some more with a lighter brine and a shorter cure.
If I had known that I would live so long I would have taken better care of myself.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 02:17
by uwanna61
Ok ok ok with all this talk about cured ribs, I just have to try it. Brine is mixed and ribs in the fridge. Now I will have to sit on my hands for the next two days, cant wait :o

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 02:34
by ssorllih
uwanna61 wrote:Ok ok ok with all this talk about cured ribs, I just have to try it. Brine is mixed and ribs in the fridge. Now I will have to sit on my hands for the next two days, cant wait :o
Then go out and cut wood for your smoker. get up off your axe and find some hickory.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 03:39
by uwanna61
Then go out and cut wood for your smoker. get up off your axe and find some hickory.
Hickory in Vermont? I think I have a long walk in the woods ahead of me. This does bring up an interesting question. I cut down a maple yesterday and was thinking if I seasoned it for several months and then threw it in the wood chipper. Maybe I could smoke meat with maple wood! What do ya think Ross?

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 04:54
by ssorllih
I haven't used maple but my dad said that maple smoke was darker than hickory. I grew up in Connecticut and we had shagbark hickory and pignut hickory. The wood was the same but the pignuts were very bitter. The nuts from the shagbatk were sweet. Depending on the nature of your smoker you can use dead limbs that haven't fallen yet. I use chunks for hot smoking because cold smoking is out of the question this time of year in Maryland. Just have to be allert for fire.
I wonder if sugar maple would make a different tasting smoke than red or swamp maple.
I have some silver maple also called pseudosugar maple. Perhaps I shall try it.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 08:05
by Chuckwagon
Hey, hey, Uwanna,
I'm tickled pink that you are going to make some decent ribs! However, the big secret to this stuff is the amazing sauce that is poured over the ribs by the gallons! The Rocky Mountain Red! You know... "nature's nectar". Out here, this stuff flows through our veins and has almost replaced bread as the staff of life. Shucks, we brew it all winter just so we can swim in it during the summer! :shock:
A word of warning Uwanna, these baby back ribs, drenched in "the red", will most probably become habit forming and you may find you'll even require the stuff for breakfast. There is no way back. Once you start eatin' "the magic", you'll never be the same. You'll probably drool everytime you hear the word "ribs".

Let me know how you fare. Mix "the Red", very, very, carefully! Oh yes, one more thing... keep it away from your silverware... it can dissolve it! :shock:

Best Wishes,

P.S. Uwanna, if you choose to pre-bake the ribs, instead of actually smoking them (as a lot of folks do), simply spray them with liquid smoke as they come out of the oven. Remove them from a 220 degrees F. oven when the meat just starts to pull back from the bone. (Put them in a lipped cooking sheet, lined with foil for easy clean-up.) Then... get a heavy hickory smudge going in your outdoor barbecue grill. Grill the ribs just enough to finish them with some signs of char. You know... the Mailiard effect... where we actually burn a few proteins to make the stuff just come alive with flavor!

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 13:35
by uwanna61
if you choose to pre-bake the ribs, instead of actually smoking them
Oven baked? That`s for breads, cakes and pies. Not me, they will go direct into the smoker. The ingredients for the "Rocky Mountain Red" was one reason, I wanted to try this recipe. I will leave feedback.

On another note: If one was to substitute the molasses with maple syrup :shock: this could be called "Green Mountain Red" Oh boy :wink:

Nah I will stick to the original this round :grin:

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 23:53
by Chuckwagon
Uwanna, you wrote:
Oven baked? That`s for breads, cakes and pies. Not me, they will go direct into the smoker.
Oh, sure Uwanna! I was your age once upon a time, in a land far, far, away and... ahem, ahem! As I was saying, I live on a mountain over 10,000 feet in the air, and we still have snow up to our ...uh... elbows ... and I`m just too danged old to stand on the deck in my shorts, waiting for the meat to pull back from the bones while grillin` the dang things on the ol` barbecue pit! :mrgreen:
Shucks pard, I used to be a purist too... a real die-hard purist... until one day I figured out that nobody cared and my bones were freezin`. Then I decided to use a little liquid smoke and a warm kitchen oven during the months from December thru April... or in this year`s case... June! :shock:
To heck with all that phoney pride of being a purist - only real smoke and never anything but a real barbecue braise eh? To heck with it! I`ll cuddle up with my best saddle pony in the ol` kitchen, smilin` like a burro eatin` cactus, and cherish a hot, steamin` cup o` joe! At my age, I`ll spend as little time out in the snow as possible! Oh, the wonder and wisdom of old age! Uwanna, you are a good man. You are just choice! But... YOU be stylish... I`LL be comfortable! :wink:

My Best Wishes Sir, (and thanks for speakin` up!)