If you have the right technique, you are going to be able to smoke the perfect slab of ribs. I have competed in competition BBQ for over 10 years… and I have learned the hard way what it takes to cook the ribs that win contests and beat-out every other rib out there.
They can be wet ribs, muddy ribs or dry ribs that depends on your personal preference. But there are a few simple steps that will work with any sauce, dry rub or recipe that you MUST follow to get the competition-quality rib that will blow your friends and family away.
Forget about that BBQ restaurant that cooks the best rib you ever tasted with these steps you are going to take your ribs to a whole, new level.
Tip #1: Remove the membrane
On the bone side of your pork ribs, there is a paper-thin membrane that covers the entire slab – and this thin membrane has to go!
Some people recommend leaving the membrane on for all kinds of ridiculous reasons… but the last thing you want to do is take a bite of your rib and have a tough piece of membrane attached to the bone.
Not only that, when you leave that membrane on, you prevent your dry rub and your sauce from absorbing flavors. I hate to bite into a rib that has only been seasoned on one side.
Tip #2: Ribs Should Be Mahogany – Not Black
You want your ribs to not just TASTE amazing, but you want them to LOOK amazing too. We eat with our eyes first, so the appearance is very important!
This is why you want to prevent your ribs from burning. The most common way that ribs burn is with a high-sugar dry rub. If you start with a dry rub with a lot of sugar, you are going to end with black ribs because sugar burns fast – and all that sugar on your ribs will burn and leave you with a bitter, black rib. Not good BBQ.
Tip #3: Season Your Ribs!
You want your ribs to have flavor that enhances the pork… and the best method is to get a good dry rub and put it on your ribs liberally – and let it set for about 30 minutes before you put them on the smoker. This allows the fibers in the meat to “open up”… start absorbing the flavors in the rub and get prepared for the smoker penetration.
Tip #4 Don’t Over-Smoker
You are going to put your ribs on a 225 smoker – and they are going to start absorbing that smoke instantly. But after about 2 hours (when they reach an internal temp of 160 degrees) those pores are going to start closing and they are going to stop absorbing that smoke.
If you continue to add smoke at this point – you are going to end up with a bitter, foul-tasting rib. You want a good smoky taste on your meat – but giving those ribs more than 2 hours of smoke will send it into overkill.
If you just switch to a good, clean charcoal after those two hours and continue to cook your ribs slow and low – your pork will turn-out great!
Tip #5: Getting that WOW Factor In Your Ribs…
If you want to get that “Wow” factor on your ribs, you need to use a finishing rub that has a little sweet and a big kick! You can experiment with different rubs and different levels of sweet and heat, but make sure your rubs aren’t in the smoker long enough for the sugar to caramelize and turn dark.