Ribs, oh yeah!

A couple of years ago, I entered the Mainely Grillin and Chillin BBQ Festival in Eliot, Maine, also known as the Maine State BBQ Championships. I enteerd with my dad. We both make some pretty good BBQ, and wanted to see where we stood.

It was a great learning experience.... Cooking at home for fun is a very different beast than cooking in competition. My Ribs and Pulled Pork showed for it, since I came in DFL for both. Our chicken was bad, but I blame that on equipment, although I dont think we DFL'd on that one... someone made worse chicken than we did. My dad's Brisket came in 7th, which was good. He forgot to bring his usual Beef rub, and ended up using my Pork Rub, it came out great. I havent barbequed since then until this weekend.

So I found a recipe that intrigued me for Root Beer Ribs. It was Fathers Day, what the heck.... I'm not a huge recipe guy, so here is the way I make ribs. Get a rack of ribs (or 2 or 3..) Put the Ribs on a baking sheet. Make some Rub. My rub is pretty much:
  • 1 Part Kosher Salt
  • 2 Parts Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Part Chili Pepper
  • 1 part Cumin
  • 1 Part Garlic Powder
I'm a big eyeballer for BBQ, so you will have to wing it on the rub .... Rub the rub into the meat, let it sit for a while while you get the coals going. There is only one way to barbeque, using charcoal. You can do it in the oven, you can do it in a crock pot, you can par boil on the stove, you can do it on a gas grill, but the only real way to do it is over charcoal. I'm a Weber Man. My dad is a Weber Man...I believe its the best tool for the job.
This is all the grill you will really ever need. - Weber  22.5-Inch One-Touch Gold Charcoal Grill, Black

 I realized when I looked at the photos that I really need to clean off my grill. It looks much scuzzier in the pictures than it does in real life. So, get your coals good and ready.

There are people that swear you have to use lump charcoal, I'm not there, for me it is expensive and burns too hot. Im also a Kingsford Man. I like it the best, I know how it burns and what to expect from it. I used to start it in a chimney, but dont anymore, I use the lighter fluid starter. Its much faster, and any time I can save some time using charcoal, its better all around. I had a short BBQ window... Church got out at 11, had to do some shopping for food, and people were coming over at 4. The fire had to be ready at 1, or else. Take your wood chips, or hunks and put them in a bucket of water. I really don't think it matters if you use mesquite or hickory... or cherry, or apple, or whatever.... Just no Pine, use hardwoods. To me all hardwood smoke tastes the same, like smoke. While the fire was getting ready, I made the sauce. Sauce Recipe:
  • 2 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 T Cumin
  • 1 T Garlic Powder
  • 1 T Chili Powder
Cook these together for a minute or so...
  • 2/3 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/2 Can of Root Beer
  • a couple of big glugs of Soy Sauce
  • about the same amount of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • same black pepper
Cook that all down for a few  minutes, and voila you have sauce.

 Your coals should be nice and ash covered by now, thats how you know they are ready. Use the indirect method. That means put the coals on one side of the grill, put the meat on the other, you DO NOT want the meat right over the heat. Slow and steady wins the day. Add the chunks of wood to the top of the coals Put the ribs on the grill. Cover up, wait. After an hour or so, open up and check the ribs. Lookin Good. Cover back up and do something else. Weed the garden a bit... make some coleslaw... play some banjo...shoot some arrows, whatever... Another hour or so.... Look at that smoke... Another half hour or so....Open up and baste the ribs. I used to poo poo these silicone brushes, but they work great, and don't burn, and don't shed bristles onto the meat...

Your ribs should be nice and glazed...

about every 20 minutes, check 'em, glaze 'em, flip em.

They will be ready when they are ready.

Slice em up and enjoy!

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