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The Secrets To The Perfect Ribs

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Ribs are one of the grill and bbq master’s favorite ingredients. They lend themselves to an infinite variations of rubs, marinades, glazes and even woods for the smoker. Cooked slowly, artfully, they become a matter of pride, a prize that is won by patience, care and the secret touch of the one who smokes or grills them. Pork, beef, even bison and venison, spare, short, rib racks, if you’ve got ribs, and a little creativity and know-how, you’re just a short (or really long, depending your style) step away from something delicious.

Read on for some tips on how to make the best ribs!

Don't overthink it

Purists will say to use fresh fruit for glazes, and tomato sauce instead of ketchup – we say, use anything you like! A great ketchup is sweet and just acid enough, no need to go crazy withread o homemade tomato sauce. There are plenty of artisan preserves and jams that work wonderfully with pork ribs, so really, don’t slave over a kitchen stove making your own (who has that kind of time, anyway?).

Keep it simple.

A great rack of ribs from when sourced from a reputable vendor (us!), natural, antibiotic free and preferably free-range, has a flavor that’s innate and usually doesn’t need a lot of intervention. So pick a simple, bold rub- go for spicy, earthy, or perhaps a really sweet and smoky. A sweet rub or marinade made with stone fruit like plums, peaches or apricots welcomes that addition of some heat and smoke, while an earthy rub speaks on its own.

Spice it Up!

Make use of chiles! Don’t shy away from heat, especially if you’ve got a rib rack with lots of fat – think Wagyu or Berkshire pork. Pair a jalapeno or chipotle in the form of a sweet preserve, which will offset that spiciness. Paired with the smoke of the grill or smoker, it can be a killer combination.


If you’re going to grill your ribs, you want a lot of heat. We’re talking at least 300F, so you’ll be using a lot of wood or charcoal. Keep the temperature level and constant, but also make use of a two-zone fire, with a cooler section to move the ribs once they’re done – or if they’re risking being OVER done.

Know your apple from your cherry

What wood is best for smoking and grilling meat? Experiment with different types of wood! The rule of thumb is you want something mild for fish and poultry, medium flavors for pork, and the stronger, bolder woods for red meat. Adler wood is a mild smoky and sweet wood perfect for fish; try fruity and sweet Apple for pork and lamb; sweet Cherry turns meat a rich brown color, and is a great versatile wood for most kind of meats; hickory is a southern barbecue favorite, used predominantly for bacon and pork ribs; intense, bold Mesquite is a Texas icon, and is perfect for red meats and brisket.

Time is your friend.

If you’re in a rush, ribs are definitely not in the menu. Not only ribs take their sweet ol’ time to cook and smoke to get that fall-off-the-bone texture, the flavor of a rub or marinade needs time to soak and absorb. Allow at least 8 hours for ribs to wallow in the rub or marinade – 12 is excellent. The flavors need to really penetrate, and only time can give you that result.

This entry was posted in Grilling, Recent Posts, The Grill Blog and View All Posts on June 25, 2018 by

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