Here at Cooking District HQ we are rather fond of ribs. We sous vide
them, glaze them with Jägermeister and Thai spices
or black bean and green onion
. We even make soup with them
But with Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and with it, the unofficial kick-off to summer and grilling season, we checked in with Pitmaster Mark Roper of Morgan’s Barbecue in Brooklyn for a primer on creating his Texas-style ribs at home:
Choose the right ribs for the occasion. A St. Louis cut (or Spare rib) provides the most meat and juiciness per serving, so ask your butcher for a few racks of these.
. Apply your preferred rub to the ribs. Morgan’s uses a salt and pepper-based rub, which delivers a nice crust to the ribs, while lightly infusing the meat to give the ribs the perfect flavor. Be generous with whichever rub you choose, on both sides of the racks. Be sure not to apply your rub to the ribs too far in advance — the salt will act as a curing agent and leave you with dry, overcooked ribs.
. If you are working with a standard charcoal grill, build a bed of hot coals on one side of the grill, fill an aluminum pan with water, and place directly above the coals.
Next step is adding the wood. You can find wood chips at most grocery stores — look for a type of wood that provides some moisture, or soak the wood chips in a water bath for an hour before using. Adding wood to the coals is a crucial step in the process of creating great smokey flavor.
Once the ribs are prepped, place them on the grill on the opposite side from the hot coals and water pan (providing indirect heat). The ideal temperature of your grill should be approximately 225 degrees.
To obtain the perfect tenderness, smoke the ribs for about three hours (depending on their size), wrap in aluminum foil, and place back on the grill for another hour.
Once the ribs have been smoked for three hours, you can unwrap the racks of ribs and finish on the grill up to another hour. Depending on personal taste, you can apply a light mop of barbecue sauce to the ribs, and finish on the grill for 2-3 minutes.