Last weekend, I attended one of Premier Grilling’s occasional ‘cue classes. If you have an unnatural fascination with pork ribs, you would have fit right in with the rest of the twenty of us students who attended the four hour, hands-on workshop. Our instructor was Rob Russell, a member of Three Little Pigs BBQ Team, an 8-time winner of the prestigious American Royal BBQ Cook Off.
Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version of what you need to know for the test:
•Peel off the fibrous membrane that covers the ribs before you do anything else.
•Smear a light coat of yellow mustard on both sides of the rack of ribs. The vinegar in the mustard helps tenderize the meat, and the mustard helps the seasonings adhere to the meat.
•Generously sprinkle your favorite seasoning mix on the ribs. Usually, this consists of a mixture that contains sugar, salt, pepper and paprika, plus optional ingredients like onion powder, garlic powder and cumin.
•Use only good quality lump charcoal, which is 100% wood and no filler. Do not use briquettes, which are full of chemical additives and filler.
•Cook the ribs meat-side down at about 250 degrees over indirect, smoky heat for about three hours, then wrap them in foil and cook them another 2 hours at 250. After that, remove them from the foil and cook them at 250 for another hour or so. The ribs are done when the meat retracts enough to show a quarter inch of rib bone protruding from beyond the meaty edge.
•Like a good steak, after you remove the meat from the heat, let the meat rest about 10 minutes before you cut into it.
•Extra Credit: slather honey and butter on your ribs during the last 30 minutes of cooking to glaze them.
And the best tip I learned? How to stack 6 racks of ribs on end so you can smoke a ton of meat on a small set-up. Here’s the secret…
The next class on the syllabus is a fall seminar on making wild game jerky. Brian Rush and the other guys who own Premiere Grilling are real ‘cue lovers. I like what they’re doing. I think you will too.