I am venturing into the danger zone. The zone of many opinions and ways to do something. A zone I try to avoid so I don’t make myself look like some hack, or offend anyone. But, After sitting in my freezer for a while, I had some ribs that needed cooking. So here we are. About to venture down the dark alley of opinions.
First a foremost, everyone knows a smoker makes the best ribs. I don’t have a smoker so I have to settle for the second best.
Secondly, I have always been leery of cooking ribs. For some reason I have it in my head its some mystic art that only seasoned pros with aprons can master. While that may still be true, I have overcome this fear and have come up with a method that makes ribs moist, tender, delicious and still able to pick it up by the bone without all the good bits sliding off. Best part is, it’s as easy as set a temp and timer and deal with the tempting smell for a few hours.
Low and slow is the game. Cooking them for an eternity allows the meat to separate from the bone and soften up. Just blasting them with heat would net you some chewy horrible ribs.
There are plenty of ways to cook ribs out there. Like I said before, smoking them is the way to go, in my opinion. So if you have a smoker, and smoke your ribs, stick to it. You’re the hero the world needs.
If you are like me and don’t have a smoker, here is the way I do it.
1 rack of baby back pork ribs, trimmed.
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 papaya cut up and blended
Your favorite seasonings. I use a dry rub blend from Salt Lick bbq in Austin Texas that you can find on their website, or you can use salt and pepper.
1. One hour before, combine your trimmed ribs and blended papaya in a ziplock bag and marinade outside of the refrigerator for one-two hours. Make sure you don’t go over two hours as the papaya has an enzyme that will break down your ribs too much and they will have an undesirable texture. You can skip this step and just dry marinade if you prefer.
2. Preheat your oven to 225. Take your marinated ribs and pat dry any access fruit juices. Using salt and pepper or your dry rub of preference, season the ribs making sure to rub in all the nooks and crannies.
3. Wrap the ribs in tinfoil and place onto a cookie sheet. Cook for 1-½ hours at 225 then up the temperature to 300 and continue cooking for another hour.
4. Take the ribs out of the tinfoil and transfer to your grill. Your grill should be set at medium-low and you want to cook the ribs over direct heat. Liberally apply BBQ to all sides of the ribs.
5. This step is where your preference comes in. I personally like my BBQ slightly caramelized and burnt while to other people that is blasphemy. If you are in the no burnt ends camp cook your ribs slightly off direct heat, otherwise cook directly above.
6. Your ribs are done when the meat is pulled back from the ends of the bone about ½ inch and you are able to twist the bone and feel it slightly break loose from the meat, about 10-15 minutes.