St. Louis Style BBQ Ribs
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- ½ tsp. (1 teaspoon for spicy) cayenne
Here are some basics for GREAT barbecue ribs, one of the most popular choice in the world for grilling or smoking. There are a lot of ways to cook great ribs, but for more of that authentic-style barbecue flavor, we will stick to using your gas/coal or smoker methods. In our opinion, good ribs should be tender, but not just fall off the bone. The following tips are geared specifically for our St. Louis style ribs, but work similarly for beef ribs. The two most important ingredients for truly great ribs are a little bit of patience, and a little bit of smoke! Always cook your ribs loooow and sloooow!
Did you know you can actually smoke your own nuts and cheese for appetizers? We’ll give you a super-easy way to turn your grill or BBQ into an occasional smoker.
THE RUB – True barbecue flavor is not contained in a bottle, but conjured up with low heat, smoke and a proven dry rub. Unlike sauces, dry rubs don’t coat meat but sink into it, infusing flavors. I am posting a dry rub recipe that has received overwhelmingly rave reviews when used for ribs, roasts, chicken, wings and beef. A couple recipe variations are also suggested.
TIME, HEAT and MOISTURE – Those of you with smokers already have a low lying heat source, which is key to “low and slow”. Smokers also come with a drip pan for adding water for increasing moisture during long cook times.
GAS GRILL COOKING – If you are using a gas grill, you will want to cook our ribs on indirect heat only, after a quick 5 minute sear on each side; lid closed as much as possible, basically turning your grill into an oven/smoker. Turn one or more outside burners on low and the opposite side or center elements off, or place ribs on upper grill shelf. Your ideal cooking temperature should range between 200⁰F and 250⁰F. Too low or too high temps will result in dry meat. At these temperatures, ribs will take about 2 hours….yes, definitely worth the wait! When done, internal meat temperature should be about 165⁰ degrees. Rib meat should cut easily between the bones without falling off them. (If desired, place a foil pan of water over your grill’s direct heat source to keep moisture levels up during cooking or spritz with apple juice to keep moist). (NOTE: DO NOT SEAR YOUR RIBS IF YOUR DRY RUB OR MARINADE CONTAINS SUGAR AS IT WILLL BURN. IN THIS CASE, KEEP TEMPS AT RANGES STATED ABOVE AND INCREASE COOKING TIME ABOUT ONE HOUR).
CHARCOAL GRILL – If using a charcoal grill, arrange coals on one side only. Ribs will be placed on grill on opposite side for indirect cooking. Adjust temperature to 200-250⁰ using the air vents on top and bottom of BBQ (close the vents to cool the fire). Place a foil pan with water beneath grill grate, under meat and right next to the coals to keep moisture levels up during cooking.
OPTIONAL – ADDING NATURAL SMOKE FLAVOR – There are many great gizmos for your grill or BBQ to turn it into a smoker. If you don’t have one, here is a home-made, disposable version that costs practically zero!
Soak for ½ hour, then drain wood chips or wood chunks and wrap in heavy duty foil. Poke holes in top to allow smoke to escape and place above heat source on grill grate or directly on coals in your BBQ. (Hickory will add a stronger smoked flavor to your meats. You may want to start out with apple, cherry or oak and experiment with or different or mixes of woods the next time.
KANSAS CITY RIB RUB (recipe by Derrick Riches)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: Makes a little more than 1 cup. Double the recipe and store in airtight container for up to 6 months.
*The author of this recipe and some barbeque competitors swear by a light slathering of plain yellow mustard on the ribs before adding a dry rub. It leaves practically no mustard taste behind but holds on to the dry rub during the long and slow cooking time for a nice crust. Also, the vinegar in the mustard tenderizes the meat and draws the rub flavors inside. If you don’t use mustard, then definitely massage the rub into the meat to “fill the pores” so to speak and cause the rub flavors to penetrate more deeply.
*Try it both ways and send us your reviews! In either case, you will want to wrap your rubbed ribs in plastic and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours; 8 hours to overnight is best.
*Rub Recipe Variations:
- Try substituting sweet smoked paprika or Hungarian paprika
- Try sea salt, hickory or smoked