Ready to take your cookout to the next level? Let's talk ribs. The secret to the best grilled ribs ever is . . . your oven. Slow-roasting your ribs in the oven before finishing them on the grill is the best method we've found for juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs that don't require an expensive smoker or low temperature grill setup.
But before your ribs hit the oven, they need a little bit of prep. First, remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. This tough sheet of connective tissue cannot only leave your ribs chewy, but also prevents the meat from absorbing the seasoning and spice of the rub.
Now, about that rub. We've been through many different formulas here and have settled on the below recipe. Smoked salt and paprika enhance the flavor of the finished meat, but you could use regular salt and paprika if necessary.
The sugar in the rub is crucial. Think of it like micro-brine; the sugar works with the salt to help retain more moisture. The bottom line: sugar in the rub makes your ribs juicier.
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
To prep the ribs for the first stage of cooking (in the oven), lay them over a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold up the sides and pour in 1.5 fluid ounces (3 tablespoons) of cider vinegar.
Seal the foil, leaving enough room for the packet to fill with steam as it cooks. The vinegar helps tenderize the meat, while keeping it moist. Cook in a 325˚F oven until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes.
Remove the ribs from the oven, open the foil and allow the meat to cool. Baste the meat occasionally with the juices collected in the foil as it cools. Cut the ribs into potions and reheat on the grill, brushing with BBQ Sauce as they cook.
By Chef James Briscione, Institute of Culinary Education