By Andy Mueller
As the grilling season reaches warping speed in the region, the options are almost limitless as to what you can cook on the grill.
Burgers and kids are the most popular, but a juicy rack of ribs with a tangy and sweet caramelized barbecue sauce on top makes the competition tough.
The sauce is what makes BBQ ribs, but remember to know your grill and how to properly cook each style.
The three most common cuts you’ll find at the grocery store are ribs, St. Louis style, and ribs.
Everyone looks and cooks a little differently, so know what you’re looking for.
The spare rib, cut from the belly, is larger at one end and tapers at the other end.
There is a lot of meat and fat for flavor, but the uneven cut can make it tender on one end and harder on the fat end due to the difference in size.
The St. Louis style is essentially a spare rib that has been cut lengthwise to make the rib even cut and uniform in shape.
It still has plenty of meat but the even cut makes for consistent tenderness throughout.
The backs of babies (not baby pigs) are cut from the back of the animal, along both sides of the spine.
Baby backs have more bones per square than St. Louis or spare ribs, so there is less meat between the bones.
I also find that they contain more cartilage than I like.
They require less cooking time for the meat to be tender, but that means they don’t have enough cooking time to break down the hard connective tissue.
I almost always take St. Louis style ribs because they are evenly cut, easy to process, and the low, slow cooking style makes the meat tender, juicy, and free from unwanted rubbery bits.
This recipe combines a two-step cooking process.
The first is weak and slow in the oven, then a 15 minute finish on the grill to caramelize the sauce and give it that delicious smoky flavor.
Try this barbecue ribs recipe on your next barbecue and continue this grill mastery journey.
Chef Andy’s Ribs
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Remove the thin membrane from under the grill using a sharp knife to clear the edge, then use a paper towel to grab the membrane and pull it out.
This membrane does not cook and will be hard and unwanted in the mouth.
Place the grates in a large roasting pan, add a cup of water, the juice of a lime and a tablespoon of liquid smoke.
Season the ribs with salt and pepper, cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 3 1/2 hours.
Remove from the oven, remove the foil, place the racks on a large platter to rest for 15 minutes so that the juice settles on the ribs.
This would be a good time to fire up your grill – keep half the grill hot for direct heat and the other half unheated.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat add:
• 3 cups of ketchup.
• 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar.
• 1/4 cup of apple juice.
• 3 tablespoons of light brown sugar.
• 2 tablespoons of soy sauce.
• 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
• 1/4 teaspoon of garlic salt.
• 1 tablespoon of molasses.
• Generous amount of fresh cracked black pepper.
Whisk all the ingredients together and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Turn off the heat, brush the ribs and place the grates on the cold side of the grill. meat side up.
Cover the grill, open the top vents if using charcoal.
Check every 5 minutes or so, as the grill acts like an oven baking and caramelizing the sauce.
This process can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on your grill and how you like caramelized your sauce.
Transfer to a serving dish and dig out.
Chef Andy Mueller is owner / chef of Galley 57 Supper Club in Bellevue – galley57.com.
Editor’s Note: To read another recipe from Chef Andy, CLICK HERE.