This was my first time making ribs. I've had plenty of "homemade" ribs, but I was never involved with the purchasing, prepping or cooking. I’ve only been there for the most important step, the eating. When I went to the store to buy ribs, I didn't realize the 10 lb pack had two slabs of ribs in it, so I bought two packs. Oh boy. Once the package was open, I was completely surprised that the slabs were double stacked. We ended up BBQ’ing one full pack for the 6 of us with leftovers. We left the other pack raw and broke it down into smaller bags for the freezer.
We did not use any BBQ sauce on these ribs, just the dry rub, and it tasted great. I didn’t want them to be too spicy so I only used 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper, next time I might bump it up to 1.5 tbsp because they weren’t spicy at all, just flavorful.
A word of advice before you start to mix up the dry rub: make sure you have enough spices. I didn’t even think to check, but luckily I had just enough chili powder, paprika and garlic powder to make a full recipe. We had about 1/2 cup of unused dry rub that we put in the freezer for future grilling.
Southern Style Dry Rub (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
FYI her recipe includes a detailed guide to buying, prepping and cooking ribs, check out the comment section of that post for additional info.
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika (sweet or hot)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup cracked black peppercorns
Prepping the Pork Spare Ribs:
Rinse off meat juices
Blot off excess water
Cut slab in half for easier handling
Place ribs on baking sheet
Massage the rub on every surface and inside every crevice
Cover with foil or plastic wrap and let it marinate overnight.
Cooking the Ribs:
Disclaimer: We have an infrared grill so cooking time will be different for more traditional grills. Cooking tips for other types of grills can be found at Smitten Kitchen’s post here.
Soak wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes before adding to the preheated grill. We have an infrared grill so we just threw the chips into the bottom of the "U". Our grill’s manual said that the ribs would cook quicker than when using traditional gas or charcoal grills.
We kept a close eye when flipping and moving the ribs around the grill until the meat started to twist around the bone. We didn’t really keep track of how long it took, but I think the whole process (cooking and resting) took about 2-2.5 hours. We let them rest under some foil for awhile (probably 20-30 min) before serving which also gave us time to roast the veggies and cook the cous cous, but more on that later.
The ribs were still nice and hot when we finally ate them, they turned out really well. They a nice crust from the rub on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. The leftovers were delicious too!