It’s hard to imagine a weekend barbeque without a rack of saucy ribs smoking nearby. Smoked ribs have a unique flavor that is hard to resist. However, many still don’t know how to smoke ribs properly. The good news is you don’t need to shell out a fortune on the latest smoker. Learn how to smoke ribs with any standard and a few ingredients at home.
How to Buy the Best Ribs
The best place to find fresh ribs is at the butcher’s or fresh food market. You can also choose the store-bought variety but most have preservatives injected to prevent them from spoiling. Most come already marinated or seasoned, which can be either a benefit or a disadvantage. Look for fresh ribs with a pink, healthy color. Avoid meat with discolored spots.
When it comes to the type of ribs, most cooks prefer St. Louis spare ribs. They are tender, meaty and absorb seasoning very well. Baby back ribs are also a good option but smoking them might be a bit of a challenge. While beef is the popular choice, pork ribs taste just as good.
Health Benefits of Smoked Ribs
Smoked ribs carry plenty of nutrients, from protein to vitamin B. Ribs, especially beef ribs; can contain as much as 60 grams of protein. The meat is also rich in vitamin B6 and B12, which promote a healthy metabolism, energy and strong muscle. Potassium is also on the meat’s nutritional profile, as well as oxygen-carrying iron and sodium.
How to Smoke Ribs at Home
It’s important for beginners to learn how to smoke ribs with a standard smoker. You can also improvise with a grill but the process can be quite complicated if you’re not experienced.
Seasoning ribs is a lesson on its own and should be approached with care. You have the choice of using a dry rub, a wet rub or store-bought marinade. Rubs are easy to make and require basic ingredients. You can make a dry rub with salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and other spices. There are many recipes online for wet rubs too.
To season ribs, first peel off the membrane that usually covers the meat. Rub on the seasoning and allow meat to marinade in it for 20 minutes or more.
Heat your smoker to 107 C or 225 F. Place your ribs in the smoker and cook for 5-6 hours, spraying them with a little water every hour.
Take ribs out of the smoker and marinade generously with homemade or store-bought barbeque sauce.
Wrap your ribs tightly in aluminum foil, adding a few tablespoons of apple juice, water, beer or broth inside the foil before closing.
Return ribs to the smoker to cook further for 2 hours.
Remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes to 1 hour uncovered. Taste for doneness and serve.
When ribs are smoked properly, they should be tender with flesh falling off the bone. To ensure the best flavor, give meat time to soak up your seasoning. Serve with mashed potatoes, salads, meat sauces and or fresh bread.
There are several recipes online for smoked ribs. Most of these apply to both baby back ribs and St. Louis style ribs. Jalapeno Jerk Baby Back Ribs is a good recipe that I have tried. It has the right amount of spice, and it is tender and tasty.