Monday, August 4, 2008

How to smoke ribs

Smoking ribs is not easy and I have done it several times now with progressing tastiness. So, hopefully this post will help you when you decided to smoke some ribs. When done right - it is super awesome!

My style is dry rubs and slow moist smoke. Others like wet-rub better, some like baking it in the oven for simplicity/speed, etc. Feel free to take my way and tune it to your liking.

  • Baby back or loin pork ribs

  • Dry rub spices - you can get these from the store or make your own. I bought several from Sam's Club and combined them to form my own rub

  • BBQ Sauce - I bought mine from Sam's Club and modified it to create a spicy bbq sauce by adding some honey and chipotle tabasco

  • A good charcoal grill - mine is like this and something like this would be better.

  • Hickory wood chunks (not chips)

  • Apple wood chips

  • Wood chips metal tray

  • chimney smoker - click here to see photo and video demo of using it

  • Hickory Charcoal - I use Kingsford Hickory charcoal

  • A bucket (13 gallons or larger - large enough to soak the wood chunks)

  • Ribs rack (if needed)

  • Vegetable oil (or any kind of cooking oil)

  • Oven/grill thermometer

Preparation: (do this in order to save time)
  1. Soak wood chunks in water for at least a day - so do this step a day of two before the actuall cooking/smoking

  2. Ribs must be close to room temperature as possible. If yours is frozen, let it thaw to room temperature.

  3. Brush your paper with some cooking oil and use that paper to light up your charcoal in your chimney smoker - and don't touch it again until the charcoal is ready (usually about 10-15 minutes)

  4. Rub the ribs and let rest for about 15 minutes at room temperature

  5. Put charcoal in grill, as far away as possible from where you're going to put the ribs. I usually put my ribs near the grill's chimney and put the charcoal on the other side.

  6. Arrange the charcoal to stay as close to each other as possible (not spread around like regular grilling)

  1. Once the charcoal is set, start putting wood chunks on top of charcoal. At this point, you should not need any more charcoal - just keep adding wood chunks to maintain heat and smoke

  2. Don't put your ribs/meat yet. Put your thermometer in the grill at the area where you are going to put the meat and close the grill. After 2-3 minutes, get a reading. If you have somewhere between 160F to 190F, you are doing great. If you have less or more, you want to work up/down to that temperature.

  3. Once you have a consistent temperature, start putting your ribs. On my grill, I only use a half of the cooking surface and leaving the other half open (including the area directly on top of the fire. Since my ribs arrangement will make the ribs closer to the heat cooked faster, I plan to rotate them consistently during the smoking period.

  4. Put apple wood chips in your wood chip metal tray and put it directly on top or near by your heat source/fire. I usually put mine on the rack on top of the fire. This will put more smoke (and also combine apple wood with hickory) but since it is using DRY wood chips, it cannot touch fire directly, but it needs a strong heat source.

  5. Ribs in the grill, put thermometer on top of ribs, and make sure smoke are coming out from your wood chunks and no direct fire touching the ribs.

  6. Every 45 minutes, glaze your ribs with BBQ sauce and rotate them if necessary to ensure even distribution of heat to the ribs. Also replenishing wood chunks to maintain temperature. Check your wood chips, make sure they are not on fire but still smokey.

  7. After 4 hours, you should have a fairly good smoke flavor in your ribs. I usually go 5.5 hours - so at this point, you can proceed to the next step or wait another 1.5 hours. Most of the time, waiting is really worth it ... unless of course you are absolutely really hungry or pressed on time.

  8. Once the smoking is done (4 hours or more), place your ribs on top direct heat in your grill. In my case, I just put the rack back on on the fire side and move my ribs there. Do this for about 2 minutes on each side while glazing them back and forth on each side. Keep doing this for about 3 times to bring your ribs up to temperature.

  9. Next step is to consume your ribs! enjoy!


Christopher Slee said...

How often do you have to add new charcoal or better yet what is the total amount of charcoal consumed? (this is why I normally run the 4-5 hours in the oven at 220)

setiabud said...

I usually don't add that much more charcoal other than the first batch (for initiating the fire). To maintain heat/temperature, I just keep adding wood chunks. So every 45 minutes, add more wood chunks and add 1 or 2 charcoal. Adding too much charcoal will introduce the heat without the smoke - which you don't want.
For the amount of charcoal total - not much really, since I don't use much as I have mentioned above. The medium bag should enough with some to spare. I usually have the big bag, and I can use it for about 5 times.

murasaki said...

I luv ribs, but only if its dry rubbed. Is it the right term ? dry rubbed ? Looking forward to the next bbq....heheh

setiabud said...

Yes, it is the right term.

kopi susu said...

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