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First of all understand, we use "smokers" when we compete, but I will give directions for cooking ribs in the oven. The only thing missing will be that nice smoky flavor . . . that can be added by simply putting a small amount of liquid smoke into your sauce.

The secret to great ribs is to cook them at low temps for long periods of time. In competition, we cook all of our meats at 225°F and it takes 6 hours for ribs, 10 - 12 hours for pork butts and up to 18 hours for brisket. Not to worry, I will show you how to do it in around 3 hours!

First let’s explode a few myths about ribs:

Barbecue Ribs Myth Number 1

The secret to great ribs is to boil them first!

Wrong!!!! . . . Never, ever boil your ribs!!!! I don't care what your mother taught you or what a famous chef on FoodTV did. Never, ever boil !!

OK, let me explain what water does to meat. There is a certain degree of osmosis that takes place when you boil meat in water. This is accelerated if you use even a little bit of salt in the water or on the meat. In essence, what happens is . . . the water goes in and the flavor of the meat goes out. If you doubt this, taste the water after you have boiled something in it. This is the whole concept behind making soup. So, when you boil your ribs, all that wonderful pork flavor comes out (notice how greasy the water is?)

Now, I do agree you will get a tender cut of meat. But, what does that meat taste like without any rub or sauce. Does it look good? Would you even eat it? If you were blindfolded, could you identify what type of meat it is? ( Most people have failed this test! ). Next, a simple question . . . would you boil your steaks or burgers or chops? I will gladly share the secret to making tender and flavorful ribs. By the way, a truly great rib can be tested by using simply salt and pepper . . . what is called a 'dry' rib ( a 'wet' rib has sauce on it ) ! I suggest everyone try their ribs this way first . . . then start experimenting with various rubs and sauces.

Barbecue Ribs Myth Number 2

Boiling / steaming gets all the fat out.


Yes, it will get rid of some of the fat. But very rarely will it get rid of all the fat. This is the single biggest problem that folks still have with ribs . . . even after boiling, there are still pockets of fat.

A quick technical lesson ( for cocktail party banter! ) . . . . .

Fat can only be rendered in a dry cooking environment over a long period of time and at low temperatures. Here is what happens . . . the meat must attain a temperature of 160º - 170º to start the fat rendering process. At these temps, the meat temperature will 'plateau' . . . that is, it will stay at these temps for up to 2 hours on ribs and 4 and 5 hours on butts and briskets. What is happening is, the collagen (connective tissue) starts to break down . . . this process releases water, which in turn causes a cooling of the meat. So the temps stay steady. This collagen breakdown is what makes meat so tender.

Once this collagen completely breaks down, the temps will start to rise. It is this process that allows all of the fat to be rendered from a rib.

OK . . . on with the lesson!! The night before you should choose your favorite rub . . . a combination of spices . . . and apply it to the ribs. Then wrap them in Saran Wrap and refrigerate overnight. Here is a very good rub I will share . . . . .

1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. salt
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. black pepper
1 T. white pepper.
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. paprika

Simply mix all the ingredients together. This may be a little hot for some folks, so simply cut down on the cayenne.

The day you are to cook, take the ribs out about 1 hour prior to cooking.

Preheat your oven to 275ºF. If you have more time, you can set the oven at 250ºF, and it will take about 4 hours to do.

Place a cake pan of hot water on the lowest rack. You may need to add water to this near the end.

Place the ribs in the oven bone side down . . . you will not turn these over (this allows the fat to 'travel' through the meat and leave all that flavor behind)!! Place them on a wire rack directly above the water pan and going in the same direction…you want to catch any drippings in this water pan.

After 1 1/2 hours of cooking ( not before ! ), spritz or mop the ribs with a mixture of 3 parts apple juice and 1 part oil. Do this every 1/2 - 3/4 hour until done.

To test for doneness, you can look at the bones and watch for the meat to pull back from the ends or you can use the toothpick test . . . insert a toothpick between the bones and if it goes through easily they are done.

Finally . . . always apply any sauces 20 minutes prior to eating . . . this will avoid the sugars burning and turning black . . . and believe me, there is loads of sugar in every BBQ sauce!

That's it! You're done! Like I said, this whole process will take around 3 - 4 hours depending what temp you cook at. It may take a little practice to get to your desired doneness but, hey, that's half the fun!!

Team Double Smoke

Corn on the cob is a great side for BBQ ribs. Learn some tips about how long to boil corn on the cob to perfection.

Kevin Taylor - BBQ GuruKevin Taylor is know as the BBQ Guru on the RecipeGoldmine website for his expertise in the art of the Barbecue and Smoking. Over the last twenty years barbecuing has caught on fast in the UK but for most of us it is still an unexplored form of cuisine - a few chops and some sausages.

With the help of Kevin Hub-UK is hoping to bring to you a series of articles and recipes over the summer which will change your way of life and bring great pleasure to you, your family and friends as you enjoy the long summer evenings.

Kevin Taylor is a regular contributor at RecipeGoldmine - click here to visit the website.


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