There are some foods that I associate with certain seasons. Barbecue ribs, for example, are a summer food. So, with summer just around the corner, I’d like to share with you How to Barbecue Tender Ribs. My mouth is watering just thinking about juicy, succulent ribs!
First, start with your ribs. The popular choices are baby back and spareribs. Baby back ribs are smaller and generally more expensive. But the benefit to these ribs is that they tend to be naturally more tender because they’re cut from the same place as pork chops and tenderloins. Spareribs are relatively inexpensive and come from the same place as bacon, so they tend to be a little meatier with more fat and, thus, more flavor.
Next is the flavor profile. This task can seem daunting because of the seemingly endless flavors. Honey garlic, sweet, spicy smoky; the list goes on and on. You can’t go wrong. It’s just a matter of taste. To achieve a harmonic blend, the best ribs are often layered with a rub, a mop and a sauce. (In case you were curious like me, a mop is usually a thin brown sauce almost like a gravy. The purpose of the mop is to replenish moisture more-so than to add flavor.)
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Despite baby back ribs traditionally being more tender than spareribs, you can often achieve the same level of tenderness by simply adjusting your grill time. The smaller baby back ribs require about 3-4 hours of cook time whereas spareribs take 4-5 hours. This will still give your ribs a bit of “chew”, so for ribs that are fall-off-the-bone tender, allow a little more time for cooking (keep the heat lower and mop an extra time or two in order to hold the moisture).
More often than not, we see ribs placed directly onto the grill, however, using a metal rack (kind of like a plate rack) allows you to fit all the ribs on the grill at the same time and removes them, just a little, from that direct flame which helps to avoid actually charcoaling them.