Saturday, July 2, 2011

Grill Master Paul Does Ribs

Did that title get your attention?  He may be a self-proclaimed Grill Master, but nevertheless he is my Grill Master.  After all, I did buy him the grill for father's day three years ago.  I think he likes grilling because it gives him the opportunity to cook something without my interference.  Yes, he may ask me what the internal temperature of a pork tenderloin should be, but for the most part he is on his own.  There are four things I will never, ever, ever cook in the house...steak, hamburgers, fish (excluding shell fish) and ribs.  I dabble with the outdoor preparation of fish, but the meat is his domain.  He also makes an awesome beer can chicken.
Last summer, Paul, I mean the Grill Master, spent quite a bit of time perfecting his ribs.  He did a lot of experimenting with dry rubs which impart flavor throughout the meat.  As the ribs cook, they form a nice crust and seal in the juices.  He would cook the ribs long, low, and slow over indirect heat  to produce moist, succulent and tender ribs.  Since he cooks on a gas grill, he adds some wood chips to give it that smoked flavor.  At the very end, he brushes on just a bit of BBQ sauce which makes those ribs finger lickin' good.  I have to admit, dry rubbed ribs without any sauce taste mighty fine on their own.  I suggest you try some both ways.

These ribs take a bit of time to make, so you can't decide you want to make ribs an hour before you want to eat.   I think I will run through the actual process for you before I get to the recipe so you see what I mean.  First thing you will do is buy your ribs and trim them of excess fat and any silver skin.  Next you will massage the ribs with the dry rub (recipe to follow) and seal in a plastic bag for at least 8 hours.  Now go to the beach for a while or clean your house.  I chose the beach.  By the way, these are made on a gas grill, but you can certainly make them over charcoal using an indirect method of cooking. You're on your own as far as the timing goes if you use charcoal.
1/2 hour before you start grilling, soak your hickory chips in water.
Fill a can with water and cut up pieces of citrus - to be used for mopping and cooling (and adding some moisture to the environment)
3 hours before you want the ribs to be ready, get your grill warm and your wood chips smoking and get to grilling!
Remember, keep it low and slow....

Just a note about buying ribs:  Generally speaking, spare ribs are have more meat than baby back ribs.  Of course the amount of meat on a rack will vary.   A portion of baby backs is a half a slab.  A rack of meaty spareribs will feed 3 hungry people.  Multiply recipe to feed as many as your grill can hold and feed a crowd.

Grill Master Paul's Ribs
  • 1 rack of ribs
  • 1/2 cup of dry rub
  • 1 can fruit mop
  • optional BBQ sauce
The Prep:

Dry Rub
makes about a cup
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  You will use about half of this for a rack of ribs. Store what you don't use in an airtight container for future use.  

Trim a rack of spare ribs of excess fat and silver skin.  Cut off "skirt" and cut rack in half .  Massage a liberal amount of dry rub into the ribs.  Seal in plastic bag, removing the air, and refrigerate for 8-24 hours.

Getting Fired Up:

Soak a few handfuls of wood chips in water for 30 minutes. 
Take ribs out of refrigerator and allow ribs to sit at room temperature before grilling. 
Place wood chips in a foil packet and poke lots of holes through the top and bottom of the packet.   
Place the foil packet on the rack over the back burner of the grill.  Allow grill to heat up to 450 degrees with the grill lid shut.  Next to the packet,  place a can of fruit mop.

Fruit Mop
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 orange cut into 4 pieces
Place fruit in a clean can and fill with 2 cups of water.  (you can also use apple cider, cut up apples, and a few tablespoons of cider vinegar if you prefer)

After the woods chips begin to smoke, and the temperature of the grill has reached 450 degrees, turn off all but the back burner.  Lower the back burner to medium heat.  You will be cooking over indirect heat, meaning no meat will be placed over a direct flame.  The only thing over the flame is your wood chips and mop can.  Let temperature fall to 300 degrees before you put the ribs on the grill. 

Get Grilling!

When grill is 300 degrees, place ribs on grill (not over flame) meat side down. Temperature will drop once the meat is on the grill.  Close the cover, allow to cook at 225-250 degrees, adjusting  the rear burner as necessary to maintain temperature.  Allow to cook and smoke for half an hour.  Turn the ribs and cook the other side for half an hour.  Keep the lid closed as much as possible throughout the cooking process.  

After the first hour start applying fruit mop with a heavy brush every time you turn the ribs.  You will flip and mop every 20 minutes until the ribs are done, about another hour to an hour and a half more. They will form a lovely crust and stay moist inside. Total cooking time is 2 1/2 hours.

Critical points to remember: 
  • If any flame appears from melting fat or wood chips catching fire, immediately extinguish. Have a spray bottle of water handy.  (you can spray yourself as well if you get too hot!)
  • Don't let the temperature rise above 250 degrees during the cooking process.  If it starts to get too hot,  open the grill and use your fruit mop to cool things down a bit.
You can brush on some BBQ sauce at the end and grill on each side for 2 minutes more.  I have to warn you that this makes a mess of your grill.  We prefer to heat up a little sauce on the side and apply it after the ribs come off the grill.  You can also serve them without any sauce and leave the saucing up to each individual.  While your ribs are cooking you can whip up a batch of this sauce.  Let the ribs sit for 5 minutes before carving into individual pieces.  


Happy Independence Day America!


  1. Holy Smoke(d ribs) Batman!

  2. Oh my YUMMMY!!!!!! You need to teach my bf some tricks on the grill! He ALWAYS burns things on there! Your ribs looks fantastic!

    We just started following you! Saw you on food gawker! Look forward to some good bbq tips!