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 Real Barbecue Ribs Recipe

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Barbecue RibsBarbecue Ribs

This barbecue ribs recipe will have you enjoying the best ribs ever!

Barbecue ribs are loved by everyone! 


Maybe it's the primal act of gnawing meat off of a bone, making us feel a little like cavemen.

Or the love of cooking juicy, delicious meat over a fire.

Maybe it's the sweet, smoky taste of the meat after being spiced and cooked to perfection. The delight of flavors experienced as you lick the juice off your fingers.

Whatever it is...Most people would agree...

Ribs are great!

Great Tasting Ribs

Ribs are indeed fantastic...When cooked right.

Ever had a bad rib? We all have, unfortunately.

They're horrible! Dry, grainy, chewy, and tough. Yuck!!!

Words you definitely DON'T WANT to be associated with your ribs. And they never will be, as long as you follow the techniques outlined in this barbecue ribs recipe page.

But before we get into how to make fantastic ribs, let's look at what goes wrong...

The most common mistake is an incorrect cooking method. You may be asking yourself...What does that mean? It means cooking them the wrong way!

A tragedy, to say the least!

Ribs are a unique cut of meat; they are very thin, which means, theoretically, they can be cooked to a safe temperature relatively quickly. But there's a problem with that technique...

You see...Ribs contain a large amount of connective tissue and fat, with some meat, surrounding a lot of bones.

A unique culinary challenge that this barbecue ribs recipe will address.

Even though the meat surrounding the bone is thin, it should be cooked slowly to achieve the best flavor and texture. Cooking ribs quickly does not break down the connective tissue and renders the fat too quickly. The result is a dry, tough, tasteless piece of meat.

How to alleviate this problem? Read on...

How to Get the Best Results?

The first and most important thing about cooking barbecue ribs are getting good ribs. Because, it doesn't matter...

  • How fancy your smoker is.
  • How great your rub tastes.
  • Or how fantastic your barbecue ribs recipe is...

They cannot make a bad cut of meat better than it's meant to be, so let's talk about choosing ribs before we talk about proper cooking technique.

How to Pick the Best Ribs For Your Barbecue

This barbecue ribs recipe and technique is for making pork spare ribs, but some of the same principles apply to baby back ribs and even beef ribs, especially this one; Pick the meatiest ribs you can find!

Here are the important points to remember about rib selection;

  • More meat is better than less, obviously, so select the meatiest racks you can find. There will be more for you and your guests to enjoy. No bones should be showing through the meat. Usually not a problem with pork, but can sometimes be a challenge with beef.
  • Intramuscular fat is a large contributor to the flavor and moisture in meat, so choose cuts with the most marbling.

See the example below...

Meaty Slab of RibsMeaty Slab of Ribs

See that nice marbling?!? This is what makes ribs so delicious!!!

Also choose ribs that have a nice, pink, fleshy color. No dark or gray meat please!

  • The meat should smell fresh and have little or no odor.
  • Note: Cryovac ribs will have an odor to them. This is a result of the Cryovac process. Cryovac meats are actually "wet aged". Because of the Cryovac process, which purges oxygen from the container that the food is stored in and replaces it with nitrogen, these foods keep much longer and are usually held for a very brief period before being sold. This period is the "wet aging" period and does add some flavor to the meat. If an odor is detected and dissipates after ten to fifteen minutes, the meat is safe for your barbecue enjoyment!
  • Choose slabs that are about three pounds each. The cooking time for these ribs, using the barbecue method, is four to six hours depending on your cooking temperature. If you cannot find ribs in this size, select slabs that are all about the same weight so that they will all be done at the same time. Make sure you adjust your cooking time to make up for the difference.

Cooking Technique

Now let's get down to our cooking method. We will be using the barbecue method to cook these ribs. After all, this is a barbecue ribs recipe.

The second most important factor, after selection, is proper cooking technique.

No matter how nice and beautiful your rack is, your dish will never realize its full potential if cooked improperly.

Because of the connective tissue and the fat in ribs, they should be cooked low and slow. So, they cannot be blasted with heat and boiling them should never even be considered.

No self-respecting pit master would direct grill or boil a beautiful rack of ribs! His barbecue ribs recipe would not employ either one of these methods.

So how should they be cooked?

With hardwood smoke, at a low temperature, for an extended period of time. In barbecue speak...Low and slow.


  • Because this method breaks down the connective tissue, making the meat extremely tender.
  • It renders the fat slowly, making the exterior nice and crispy while the inside is moist and juicy.
  • The lower cooking temperature means that the meat will be in contact with that delicious hardwood smoke for an extended period of time, which helps give it that smoky, barbecue flavor we all love.

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Barbecue Ribs Recipe

Note: You can use more or less rub, depending on your tastes.

More rub will make your ribs sweeter and spicier. Less will of course make them less sweet and spicy.

I suggest using the recommended amount to start with and adjust from there if you feel the need to do so.

You can keep notes to the amounts you use to customize and then consistently recreate your very own barbecue ribs recipe.

You can use the sauce for basting if you like, or serve it on the side, or not use any sauce at all. No sauce would be known as "dry ribs". If you are basting that beautiful rack, you'd be making "wet ribs".

  1. The night before you barbecue, apply 1/2 cup of the rub to the ribs, reserving the remaining 1/2 cup for the mop if you're using one. Place the racks in a large food safe bag, or wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 
  2. Prepare your smoker for cooking, bringing the temperature up to 250°F.
  3. Place the meat in your smoker and cook for about 3 1/2 hours, depending on the size of your ribs and the temperature of your smoker. Baste the ribs every hour and a half if you are using a mop.
  4. After about 3 1/2 hours, remove the ribs from the smoker and wrap them in aluminum foil. Return them to the smoker and cook for another hour or so. The ribs are done when you can hold them in your hand and rack feels "jiggly" is the best way I can describe it. You want them to lay out, but bend down slightly. You don't want the end of the rack pointing down; this is overdone.  Eventually you will get a feel for this. It's much easier and quicker than unwrapping the ribs, especially if you're cooking a lot of racks. You can also check by pulling two of the bones in the center of the rack and spreading them apart. If the meat pulls apart easily, the ribs are done. Do not overcook! The ribs will be dry.
  5. Remove them from the foil and brush them with some sauce, if desired. Cook for about another half hour, turning once. Remember though, always use a warm sauce. Putting something cold from your refrigerator on your meat will lower the temperature of whatever you're cooking. This means it will take you longer to serve your guests and cost you more in time and fuel.
  6. When the ribs are done, remove them from your barbecue. If serving dry ribs, sprinkle the ribs lightly with some of the barbecue rub. Let the ribs rest for 10-15 minutes. Slice between the bones. Serve with some barbecue sauce if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

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