A Jab at the Ribs

I had been thinking about how to get my BBQ ribs to taste better, and decided to apply some tenderizing concepts to it this weekend.

and everybody's favourite ... baby back ribs!You see, acid and alcohol tenderize meats more quickly, and help the marinade flavours sink into the meat. (This is clear from the Korean bulgogi recipes that use kiwi in the marinade, and from ribs in beer, or from the Montreal corned beef marinaded in coke.)

I bought that huge pack of pork spareribs from Costco (the baby back ribs are twice the price, but not twice as good) and gave my new idea a try. Here's what I did, and they turned out yummy!

1. Trim the ribs and score the fatty underside. This lets the flavour into the meat while marinading, and lets the fat get out while you're grilling. Don't cut off all the fat -- it's holding that meat together so it doesn't just fall apart!
2. Marinate the ribs in beer and Coke -- 2 bottles and 1 can of Classic, respectively -- for 2+ hours. Top it off with water to make sure the ribs are covered. I stuck it in the fridge for that time.
3. Gently boil the ribs in that same marinade, and simmer for another 2+ hours. If your water is boiling too hard, the temperature is way too high, and your ribs will dry out.
4. Prep your smoking woodchips now (in the tinfoil pouch) and get your grill going.
5. Place the ribs on the grill, and cook over the lowest possible heat (lid down) for 45 minutes. We're trying to get as much of the smokey flavour as possible, without charring the ribs. (My grill doesn't do this very well, unfortunately.)
the secret's in the sauce!6. Brush the BBQ sauce over the ribs, both sides, and brush liberally. I used Cattlemen's BBQ sauce (hickory flavoured), and don't worry about it being too tangy; BBQ sauce tastes different after they have cooked onto the ribs. (I think they caramelize, like the marinade Coke.)
7. Turn up the heat to get the broiled outsides; you'll know when the fat is sizzling on the ribs already. My Weber Q does this nicely around medium heat.
8. Flip them over again, and brush the sauce again. You want to have done this twice on each side. Don't let the outsides get too crispy, because they'll be impossible to cut (when the insides are fall-off-the-bone tender).
9. Serve with a side of BBQ sauce, and enjoy!

Mmm ... let me know if you have any secret techniques too!

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