Friday, March 5, 2010

Memphis Style Barbecue Ribs

Memphis Style Barbecue Ribs
makes about 4 – 6  servings

This recipe  is the  evolution of a spice mixture I became aware of when I  was a young Marine  stationed at Naval Air Station Millington Tennessee outside Memphis.  Some  of the keys to good ribs are to  remove  the "silver skin", partially slicing between each rib prior to cooking, and cooking slow and low (slowly over a low flame with plenty of smoke).  I think the addition of cumin to the traditional Memphis dry rub gives it a refreshing and slightly Mediterranean flavour surprise.

        6 pounds spare ribs
1 3/4 cups cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups apple cider
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup BBQ Rub (recipe follows)
3 cups wood chips
Vinegar Sauce (recipe  follows), optional
1.  If your ribs have not been already trimmed by the butcher, trim them as follows:
2.  Place the ribs meat-side up on a cutting board. There is a line of fat at the base of the ribs; cut along it to remove the rib tips, they're composed of cartilage and add nothing to the ribs. Turn the meat over, rib-side up.
3.  Cut off the flap of meat on the inside of the ribs. (The reason for removing these pieces is that they will burn well before the ribs are done. You can marinate and season these flaps with the rest of the ribs and grill them over direct heat for about 15 minutes, turning once. They are delicious.)
4.  With the rib-side up, work a sharp knife under the tough, silver-skin like membrane that covers the bones. Working from one rib to the next, pull the membrane off the rib. (For a better grip, grab the membrane with a paper towel.) The membrane may tear and you may have to start over, but be patient – removing the membrane allows the spices and smoke to penetrate the ribs, and makes the ribs much more attractive and easy to eat.  This is also a good time to slice partially between each rib to make separating them later easier.
5.  In a shallow, plastic or non-reactive pan or bowl large enough to hold the ribs, mix together 1 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup cider, garlic, bay leaves, 2 tablespoons hot sauce and the salt. Put the ribs in this marinade, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours, turning once during this time.
6.  Remove the ribs from the pan 2 hours before you plan to cook them and pat them dry. Discard the marinade.
7.  Sprinkle the ribs all over with 1/2 cup of the rub, patting it on with your fingers. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 1/2 hours.
8.  Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour before grilling; this will help prevent the meat from "seizing up" and becoming tough when placed on the grill.
9.  Mix the remaining 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 3/4 cup cider, and 1 tablespoon hot sauce. You will apply this basting liquid to the ribs about once every hour or so with a spray bottle.
10. (optional) Soak about 3 cups of wood chips (hickory, oak or apple) for at least 1/2 hour in cold water.
11.  Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for indirect grilling over low heat . (optional) Drain and add 1 cup of the wood chips (for a gas grill, place  wood chips in a disposable aluminum pan under the grating where they can smolder and smoke).
12.  Place ribs  on the grill meat side down and grill the ribs, covered, until they are crispy, and the meat has pulled back from the bone, 3 to 4 hours, depending on the heat of your grill. Spray the ribs with the vinegar-cider mixture every hour, and turn them once during grilling. Don't forget to add more wood chips (optional)—and, if using charcoal, more coals—as needed (check every hour or so). You should have enough soaked wood chips for about 3 hours of cooking time; if your ribs take longer, you will need to soak more chips.
13.  If the ribs are done before you are ready to eat, wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil and leave them over very low, indirect heat for up to 1 hour.
14.  Remove the ribs from the grill, spray or baste with any remaining basting liquid, and sprinkle with the remaining the 1/4 cup of rub. Serve as is, or with Vinegar Sauce.

Makes about 1 cup or about enough for 8 pounds of Memphis style ribs
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons coarse salt, such as kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1.  In a sealable, clean container large enough for all  the ingredients,  combine the ingredients and seal the container.   Shake  the container briskly to completely and evenly distribute all the ingredients.
2.  Label the sealed container and store in a  cool, dark place until needed.

Vinegar Sauce
makes about 2 ½ cups
2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Use immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Next Week's Posting: Soupe a l'Oignon au Fromage (French Onion Soup)


Nikki said...

These are yummy. I need to remember to not look at your blog until AFTER I eat my breakfast. Do you think ribs is an acceptable breakfast food?

calou said...

Thanks for your comment! You know I've found that traveling to Taiwan that the people there eat Chinese food for breakfast and when I was in Italy the Italians eat Italian food for breakfast s-o-o-o by that logic I guess its perfectly ok if Americans eat American food (my Memphis Style Barbecue Ribs) for breakfast. Enjoy, I've been told if you eat them accompanied by a diet coke they're not fattening! Buon Appetito!

andrea123larabee said...

Yuummm! With warm weather finally arriving in the south, I think I'll get out and clean up the BBQ Grill. Kerris would love these as well as our friends. Ribs are not something I've attempted in my cooking adventures. Thank you for the recipe!

Andrea L.

calou said...

I hope you try them soon, we love them . . . they are definitely as good as they look. I suggest removing the "silver skin" as I suggest and slicing the ribs partially through it makes the serving much easier. Buon Appetito!

Foodie Blog