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Pork Spare Ribs

edited 7:08AM in EggHead Forum
I picked up three 3.5 lb pork spare ribs (not baby back) from my butcher. I want to cook them on my ELG BGE. The problem is my picky family. They like tender ribs, but still with some texture/chew and they do not like smokey food. I like dry rubs, but they like wet ribs (with the sauce carmelized on). I have a good vinegary tomatoe based sauce. Any recommendations?


  • FatDogFatDog Posts: 39

    I believe the song says "you can't please everyone, so you have to please yourself". I do my ribs with a dry rub and a coating of yellow mustard then a 3-1-1 (or some variation). In the last hour, I sauce them with a mixture of 4 parts Sonny's (or some other brand) BBQ sauce, 1 part grape jelly, and 1/2 part Maker's Mark. I zap the jelly and BBQ sauce in the microwave to just melt the jelly then blend in the Maker's Mark. The process must be OK because the ribs tend to disappear.
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,298
    At 3.5 lb, I'd have to guess they are nicely trimmed. They should get done fairly quickly. If you are looking for more chew than fall off the bone, you can just cook them about 1/2 an hour shorter.

    There will be a little smoke flavor from just using lump, although it will be faint. Adding sauce may smother that.

    I'd be sure to get a really good crust of rub on the ribs. A fair amount of sugar helps for that. Then just have some plain Open Pit sauce pre-warmed. Brush on a 10-15 minutes before pulling.

    Or, for a less carmelized but very succulent sauce, add a bit of pineapple juice to the base sauce, heat till steaming in a good sized pot, and dunk the ribs just before serving.
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    No problem......with three racks you can make everyone happy. I would cook one just like you like them, It's the other two you need to fine tune.

    Some time in foil will make a rib tender, the more time, the more tender. Some time in foil will also protect the ribs from becoming overly smoky. If you wait too long to go into the foil, they may be too smoky for the (and I'm shooting from the hip here) why not try something like 2 hours on the pit, then move into foil, returning to the pit. Check them in 1 hour. Chances are they will need more foil time for the tenderness you want, but you won't know until you check. Once they are to the right tenderness, you can hold them in a cooler until your dry ribs are close, then put the family ribs onto the cooker and add some sauce. (Or they might not need to go to the grill at all, just sauce and serve).

    You may or may not have heard of a guy named Bill Milroy, but picking up tips from guys like Bill, Stogie, Old Dave, and many, many others it is clear that foil is a tool, not a rule. And if you choose to use it, it must be used correctly..... here is a snip from my cookin’ notes; It's a introduction by Old Dave, then he added one of Bill's posts (circa 2001), followed by Dave's additional comments. The one thing they don't mention is warming whatever liquid before going into the foil, which I think is important. Here we go..

    (Old Dave) I see a lot of different methods of the 3-1-1 or the 3-2-1 rib methods on this forum and many of them get away from the original method which was posted on the BBQ Forum on 2/13/2001. Bill Milroy (Texas Rib Ranger) was the fellow that made this method very popular and is still used by many competition cooks as well as backyard cooks. I will cut and paste his post.

    (Bill Milroy) I've been cooking in compentions for 24 years and started using foil back then and still do.Jumpin Jim passed along one of his secrets so here comes mine. Smoke your ribs for 2-3 hours then wrap with foil. Before you put the ribs in the foil put some Brown Sugar & Honey on the foil put meat side down,then put some on the ribs then close the foil. Before closing completely put some Apple juice (about 2-3 oz.) and put back on cooker.After about an hour check Ribs if done pull them. About 30 min. before turn-in mix juice off rib with Texas Rib Rangers Spicy sauce and baste Ribs on grill to glaze them. Mix about 3 parts sauce to 1 part juice. Now you know the Rib Rangers story.
    Good Luck and Happy Q'n Bill

    (Old Dave) To add to his post as I have used his method since he put it up, it is very important to be sure to put the meat side down in the foil. This time in the foil, the ribs are braising during this period and for this to work, you can't exceed the amount of juice in the foil from his recipe or it won't work. If you place more juice in the foil, it won't get to a boil and that is really what you want. Another tip--Ribs are very thin and really cool down quickly when they are out of the cooker for any step in your process. I find that it is best to have my foil boat with all the ingredients in place ready on my table beside the cooker so I can quickly take a slab off the cooker, wrap, and get it back on the cooker. Again, it must get to a boil for it to work and if your ribs cool down too much, it may take much longer or just flat won't work in the time frame of your foil period.
    Anyway, that's the way I see it and hope it helps someone.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • Send them to Chili's or some place like that.2.gif

    Cook and eat the good ribs yourowndamnedself :P :evil:
  • just wandering if anyone can tell me if I need to use the plate setter with cooking the ribs?
    just got my grill this week.
    the dvd says nothing with ribs of using the plate setter.
    What have you found?

    Also, I have tried to get the temp. down and I am not very good at it.
    Tried closing the two vents slowly to get the temp. down and the fire ends up
    going out.

    Please help....anyone....
  • StanleyStanley Posts: 623
    Best to catch your target temp on the way up, rather than trying to ramp down. In bringing the temp down, though, you have to remember that the Egg is slow to react to adjustments to draft or vent - you may be trying to rush your adjustment and choking it off.
  • HaggisHaggis Posts: 998
    You don't "need" the platesetter but you might want to use something else to establish an indirect cook. Before I got my platesetter I used a low grate with a metal pizza pan on it to block the direct heat, then some bricks on edge with a higher grate resting on them. But there are other ways to accomplish the same thing.

    Bring the temp down is always harder than getting it up, so try not to exceed your target by too much (ignoring the first blast of heat that firestarters can produce.)

    Presuming your Egg doesn't have any significant leaks around the gasket and that you have a decent fire established (maybe 15-20 minutes after lighting) but haven't gone way high in temp, a rule of thumb is that a 1/4 inch opening at the lower vent will bring you somewhere close to a 300 degree dome temperature. I don't know how the spark screen affects that rule but its a good starting point and I've found it pretty accurate using Royal Oak lump (yesterday I used Weekend Warrior and found that 1/4 inch only took me to 250 - which was where I wanted to be.) There are variables in that, of course, so your mileage may vary.
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