Perfect barbecue ribs require patience, consistency
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
9/12/12 at 5:58 AM
To make fall-off-the-bone ribs, patience is key.
Getting in a hurry is the most common mistake that cooks make when they barbecue ribs, said Brandon Manly, said Rib Crib's pitmaster and a member of the company's competitive barbecue team, Pig Men.
Manly is one of several pitmasters from around the country who will be giving cooking demonstrations at the Rock 'N Rib Festival that starts Thursday outside the BOK Center.
"Barbecue is about being patient, really taking your time," Manly said. When people say their ribs are too tough, they got in a hurry and pulled them off too soon."
Keeping a consistent heat is also very important, he said.
When considering what ribs to buy, Manly recommends St. Louis style.
"They have a nice amount of fat, which makes them juicy," Manly said. "I just prefer them to baby-backs, which is what everyone knows. The St. Louis style of spareribs is more uniform. The baby-backs are very good, but they have less fat, making them more apt to dry out than St. Louis style."
It's important to trim the excess fat and the membrane across the bottom when you are preparing the ribs, he said.
Wrapping the ribs is another important step that cooks often overlook, he said. Cook the ribs to get the appropriate color and then wrap them in foil, Manly said.
As far as seasoning, Manly said that's a personal preference.
"I prefer a sweet and salty rub," he said. "Many things I do from a culinary perspective have sweet and salty components."
Manly also suggested taking a basic rub and adding your favorite things to it, such as smoky chipotle or some ground nutmeg or cinnamon.
We also caught up with Donnie Teel, of Buffalo's BBQ in Sperry, as he was driving to yet another barbecue competition and asked for some of his tips on cooking ribs. Teel has won some of the top barbecue championships in the country, and he averages about 30 cook-offs a year.
To win, you have to be good at cooking all four meats - brisket, pork butt, chicken and ribs.
Home barbecue cooks usually become adept at cooking ribs, he said.
"At cook-offs, the new cooks can usually do pretty well with the chicken and ribs because they cook them all the time in the backyard smokers," Teel said. "The brisket and pork takes a lot longer, so people don't usually take the time."
Teel always looks for a meaty slab of ribs, with just enough fat for flavor. A consistent amount of meat on every rib is also important.
"It should be consistent all the way down. You don't want any shiners, which is where the bone is exposed," Teel said.
Common mistakes with ribs are getting them too smoky, cooking them too long or not cooking them enough, he said.
"A lot of people think that you can't get enough smoke on them, but you can. They can be too smoky and you can't taste the meat," Teel said.
For spareribs, he said it takes about four hours at 275 to 300 degrees.
Rib festival includes cooking, tasting, music, concessions and ... tasting!
The Rock 'N Rib Festival, presented by Rib Crib, will be outside the BOK Center, starting Thursday.
The festival features championship barbecue, cooking demonstrations, concessions and a kids zone.
Seven teams from across the country will showcase their championship recipes. These professional pitmasters have been featured on the Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Food Network and compete around the world.
Fourteen bands will perform on the ONEOK Outdoor Stage.
In addition to barbecue ribs, beef, shrimp, catfish, chicken and a variety of concessions will be available. Snow cones, grilled corn, funnel cake, popcorn, cotton candy, corn dogs, deep-fried pickles, taco salads, kettle corn, smoothies and fresh-squeezed limeade will be for sale.
Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit tulsaworld.com/getsauced
BRANDON MANLY'S AWARD-WINNING BABY BACK RIBS
3 to 4 racks of baby-back ribs
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons apple juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper seasoning
1 cup margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
2 cups Rib Crib BBQ sauce, or your favorite
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1/4 cup hot BBQ sauce
1/4 cup apple juice
1 cup of Rib Rub, or use your favorite
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chipotle seasoning
1. Combine ingredients for slather, wrap and sauce in separate bowls. Cover and refrigerate as needed.
2. Remove the membrane from the ribs and pat dry. Evenly distribute the slather over each rib top and bottom.
3. Sprinkle with the rub and the chipotle seasoning top and bottom. Wrap in plastic wrap and store under refrigeration for two to three hours.
4. Remove from refrigeration and remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle tops only with brown sugar.
5. Heat smoker to 250 degrees with either apple wood or hickory wood. Smoke for two hours.
6. Remove and apply wrap mixture to top and bottom. Wrap in foil and return to the smoker for another two to three hours or until tender.
7. Remove from smoker and remove foil. Evenly apply sauce and grill on direct medium heat for four to five minutes per side.
8. Cut into individual ribs and enjoy.
- adapted from RibCrib.com
Common rib terms
Baby-back: Pork ribs cut from the blade and center section of the loin. They are small in size (1 1/4 to 2 1/4 pounds or more) and are less meaty, less fatty, and more tender than spareribs.
Bark: A brown crunchy crust that forms on the meat caused by seasonings in the rub.
Country-style ribs: Split pork chops from the blade end of the loin, or they're cut from the shoulder closest to the loin.
Rib tips: The flavorful ends removed from spareribs.
Dry rub: A blend of spices used to enhance the flavor of meats.
Shiners: Jargon for the rib where the meat has been cut too close to the bone and the bone "shines" through.
Short ribs: Beef short ribs are larger and usually more tender and meatier than their pork counterpart, pork spare ribs.
Slab: Pork ribs are sold in slabs. The number of bones in a whole slab will vary depending upon how the ribs were processed and trimmed. For both spareribs and loin back ribs, you should expect 11-14 bones in a whole slab.
Smoke ring: A bright pink ribbon of meat just below the surface.
Spareribs: Sold in two common styles - whole and St. Louis style - a whole slab of spareribs will have part of the sternum (breast bone) still attached with a strip of meat and rib cartilage along the edge of the slab, plus a flap of meat attached to the bone side of the slab, known as the skirt.
St. Louis style: Spareribs that have the brisket bone and all skirt meat removed.
Original Print Headline: Spare the ribs
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Pork ribs from Rib Crib are a Tulsa favorite. CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World
The pink layer of meat just under the surface is the smoke ring. CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World
“Barbecue is about being patient, really taking your time,” says Brandon Manly, pitmaster for Rib Crib. CHRISTOPHER SMITH/ Tulsa World