Monday, September 2, 2013


Okay, it's true, i claim to be a vegetarian.  Well, about 95% of the time.  It does seem that about once a week usually on Sundays, I make some spectacular food for all of my friends at my favorite home away from home, Ambassador Cigars West.  And it usually includes meat, as it does seem as though I am about the only person I know (living in Arizona anyway) that avoids meat.  So I eat it once in a while.  But today, is one of those holidays where it just seems to be a standard item, eating meat cooked out on the Barbie.  And sure, it could be halibut, or shrimp, or wild salmon, but for most, it's all about the ribs.  And I have done some ribs before, and I must admit, I like ribs. 

So, ribs can be done a myriad of ways, and in my life, I have done them so.  And all seem to produce a tasty and satisfying rib.  It is just how you want the specific end product to be.  So, to that end, let me talk about a few ways to make ribs.

Pre cook, then grill.  This is a method that does seem to add some extra flavor, and to make a rib that has way less fat.  It is easy, and takes less time than some other methods.  Take a big pot, or a very large baking pan and cut the ribs into sections that will lay in either.  Pour good dark beer over the ribs to cover.  If in a pot, bring to a boil and reduce to simmer, cover and cook about an hour and a half.  If in the oven, bake at 325 for about 3 hours.  Remove the ribs carefully and then put on a hot grill and caramelize on high heat.  Add sauce and brown the sauce on.  This makes a flavorful rib, and pretty much depends on the sauce for flavor, along with the beer it is cooked in.  A variation that makes for even more tender and flavorful ribs is to have a big pressure cooker and dry rub the ribs with a spice mix and then place the ribs in a basket with some beer in the bottom.  Cook at 15 lbs for 45 minutes and they will be falling apart and hard to remove. 

Ribs baked in sauce is also another method that I have done, and it is good only as long as the sauce is what you love.  It does bake out a lot of the fat and therefore a bit healthier.  It's pretty simple, cut the ribs up to fit in a baking pan and cover with sauce, cover and bake at 325 for about 4 hours or so.  Not my favorite, but then now days I am not a sauce guy anymore.

Smoked, like they should be.  For great ribs, you need to smoke them.  Make a rub, a little kosher salt, some garlic powder, chili powder, black pepper and evaporated cane juice if you want them sweeter.  Also a bunch of cumin makes the rub.  Rub it all over the ribs and place on the grills.  Smoke using wood chips of your choice for a minimum of 6 to 7 hours at 250.  The ribs should be falling off the bone.  Now comes the fun, Texas style, serve as is, no sauce.  Kansas City, add sauce and grill it on.  Carolina style, coat with mustard and vinegar and just toss in the trash. 

I find that after living in Texas and eating Texas style smoked barbecue (before going vegetarian) that I prefer the no sauce method of eating ribs.  A little hot sauce on the side, and smoky ribs with a deep rich flavor from a simple rub.  Yum.  They are in the smoker right now, we eat at 1 today with a big crowd, and I will take photos when I take them out.

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