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 Getting serious about BBQ ribs!

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Al Canuck

  • Total Posts: 3
  • Joined: 7/19/2004
  • Location: London Ontario, XX
Getting serious about BBQ ribs! Mon, 07/19/04 5:55 PM (permalink)
The annual ribfest is coming soon and I need help. We used to attend the local ribfest with all the pros competing there, but it was rather expensive to take the whole family, so instead, we get together with a group of friends and have our own amateur competition. It's great fun, but the competition is all about sauce, because we all cook the ribs the same way ... parboiled, put on the gas grill and mopped with our sauce. Now, I know there are better ways, but being a canuck, naive about real BBQ, I need some help to get serious about BBQ ribs this year.

I've read enough to know that the pros smoke their ribs. I don't have a smoker, and I can't afford one this year (all money is spent on food and beer for this event). So, I must work with what I have - a gas grill and a backyard fire pit. I have lots of old maple wood ready to burn, some pear wood and also a bag of hickory chips. I was thinking about building a fire in the pit, letting it burn down to coals, then throwing on some wet hickory chips. I assume I need to cover the fire pit for the smoke to work.

Competition is Aug 1. Looking forward to your suggestions!

    • Total Posts: 251
    • Joined: 7/17/2002
    • Location: Charlotte, NC
    RE: Getting serious about BBQ ribs! Mon, 07/19/04 7:14 PM (permalink)
    Step one is not to parboil the ribs. You leave a lot of the wonderful flavor in the water.

    Compared to other forms of BBQ, ribs cook rather quickly. While this is a jerry-rigged idea, you might want to cook them using the indirect method in the gas grill (put a rub on them first) and then finish them over the pit as you described. While you would normally cover the ribs to smoke them, I'm not sure how effective this would be from start to finish with the setup you describe as you will be cooking in the pit using the direct method and you'll have a hard time controlling flare-ups andd keeping the heat low enough.

      • Total Posts: 4542
      • Joined: 11/20/2000
      • Location: Rogue Valley
      RE: Getting serious about BBQ ribs! Mon, 07/19/04 7:40 PM (permalink)
      Check these grill ideas out. You need to drink the beer WHILE you're smokin', then it won't matter how long you sit there. Maple and pear sound like good choices for wood.flavor. You need indirect heat, however you choose to create it. Rub the ribs with a dry spice mixture before you start.Something along the lines of Brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper,cumin, and anything else you think tastes good. Don't sauce them while they cook. If you've come close, they'll taste great plain, and even better with the sauce . Brent's right, lose the parboiling in water. Plan on making double the amount, cuz after we get done, no one will want your buddies' ribs,
      They'll all want yours.Don't forget to remove the membrane.
        Al Canuck

        • Total Posts: 3
        • Joined: 7/19/2004
        • Location: London Ontario, XX
        RE: Getting serious about BBQ ribs! Mon, 07/19/04 11:52 PM (permalink)
        Brent & Bill,

        thanks for the replies ... I got the message about parboiling, but I assumed everyone would know I had no intention of parboiling when I said I wanted to get serious about the ribs this year.

        I followed the link Bill gave, which led to several others, and I learned about using my gas grill as a sort of hybrid BBQ. If I light one side, put the ribs on the other side, then add soaked wood chips, it should do the job. But, Brent basically made the same suggestion, only to smoke the ribs over my fire pit to finish them off.

        I'd still like to find some way to smoke them in my fire pit. It is at least 3 feet deep and I could dig it out more if needed. If I had a small fire at the bottom, off to one side, and the ribs were on a rack 3 ft above, on the other side, is that not enough to minimize the effect of flare ups, especially if its only coals below, not flames?
          Al Canuck

          • Total Posts: 3
          • Joined: 7/19/2004
          • Location: London Ontario, XX
          RE: Getting serious about BBQ ribs! Tue, 07/20/04 7:48 PM (permalink)
          c'mon folks, is there anybody else here who can give me some advice on BBQ the old fashioned way? over an open fire pit? I've got a down to earth issue here, no brand names, just wood, fire and meat.

            • Total Posts: 6025
            • Joined: 10/14/2003
            • Location: West Palm Beach, FL
            • Roadfood Insider
            RE: Getting serious about BBQ ribs! Tue, 07/20/04 8:08 PM (permalink)
            Neighbor to my North... Check out this website:

              • Total Posts: 36
              • Joined: 10/12/2003
              • Location: DeSoto, MO
              RE: Getting serious about BBQ ribs! Sat, 07/31/04 12:16 AM (permalink)
              Al, Get the Book Smoke and Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison....

              LOT's of good tips and many many good recipes!

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