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If you use a rub and a basting sauce on the same rack of
ribs, make certain that they use the same set of seasonings and do
not contradict each other.
Apply the rub - rather heavily from 5 minutes to 10 minutes
before putting the ribs on the grill. Sprinkle it on and rub it
in. If basting, apply one coat of the basting sauce and let it
dry, then apply another generous coat just before putting the meat
on the grill.
Preparing the Grill
Barbecuing spareribs will require 5-8 hours of consistent
heat from wood or charcoal coals at around 200-215 degrees.
Therefore, a generous bed of coals should be built in the grill.
Depending upon the capacity of the grill/fire box, the coals will
need to be replenished periodically - a period which only you and
your grill know. Maybe at this point, only the grill knows. But
that is something you must learn for each grill. So begin by
keeping a regular diary which records not only dates, times and
temperatures, but also the ambient temperature, humidity and wind
conditions. Record your results, as well. This will be very
important to you in learning to perfect your ribs.
Refer to Burning Wood and Blowing Smoke Chapter for wood
selection, fire starting and maintaining a replenishment pit.
Gas grill users can approximate the barbecue flavor by
putting green wood or dampened sawdust or wood chips in a
commercially produced container or wrapping in aluminum foil and
punching a few holes in it. Place the container close to the
flames and allow the smoke to build up before putting the ribs in.
Do not do this more than once or risk over smoking. Smoke flavor
is really absorbed in the early stages of cooking. Afterward,
additional smoke residue is deposited on the exterior to the
detriment of the flavor. Electric grillers follow suit.
Barbecuing, The Act
Place the ribs on the grill without their touching. Although some folk hang them vertically, turn them on their sides or creatively roll them up for small grills, I like to lay them flat. I want the juices, seasonings and rendered fat to stay in intimate contact with the meat as long as possible - more flavor is absorbed and surface stays moist longer. A moist surface means that meat can still absorb flavors and heat is transmitted faster and more efficiently through moist tissue.
Close the lid, and adjust the air intake - to reduce the air flow, and check back in about 15 minutes to assure that the temperature at meat level is around 200 degrees. Baste while you are there. Once you have stabilized the grill temperature, go away and play for at least 30 minutes. Check the grill again, and baste and turn if you are using a baste. Check at about 30 minute intervals until you can establish the proper interval for your grill. Even if you are not basting, you may need to turn the ribs and rearrange them because of temperature variances within the grill. Try to get equal heat to all ribs by moving them, if necessary. Do not let any part of them dry out or burn.
Barbecuing ribs, like any other barbecuing, allows lots of time for doing other things than standing around a grill worrying the meat. The total time will be about 5-8 hours, depending upon temperature and weather. Find something fun to do and go do it - checking back occasionally as needed. This is the time to practice becoming a real barbecuer by learning how to enjoy the time spent outdoors with friends and family.
Bye and bye, the rib meat will begin to withdraw from the ends of the bones. This is your signal that they are about ready to eat. It is also the time, if you choose, to reduce the heat and begin basting with the finishing sauce.
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Smoky's 5th basic position for really great barbecue'n.
'According to Smoky' is © by C. Clark Hale
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