Summer may be over, but there’s nothing like a great cookout in the brisk fall air! Here are 11 tips to making the best pork ribs of your late BBQ season (you can transfer some of these inside if you want to do them in the oven…but who says you can only fire up the grill in the summer?):
1. Purchase ribs that are evenly covered in meat. In other words, don’t buy a slab that is fatty on one end and fleshy on the other. Avoid slabs that have exposed bones!
2. Allow for one pound of ribs per guest. This is a generous helping but for more impressive appetites, make it two!
3. When preparing the meat, make sure you remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs with a sharp knife. If you don’t it blocks the flavor intake.
4. Always marinate your ribs in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.
5. Don’t even think about boiling those ribs! Above all else, boiling the meat causes it to lose all its flavor. If you just have to pre-cook your ribs before slapping them on the cooking grate, try steaming your slabs instead as this will help lock the flavor in.
6. Before placing your ribs on the grate for barbecuing or smoking, make sure you coat the metal with a generous helping of oil.
7. Barbecuing demands constant attention! As soon as it goes on your grate, stay close by and keep an eye on it. Watch the cooking temperature and avoid going above 250 degrees Fahrenheit — the best ribs are cooked slowly over indirect heat for about five hours.
8. Put down that fork! Always use tongs to handle your meat once it’s on the grate. Why pierce the meat and let the flavor ooze out if you don’t have to?
9. If you’re going to baste during cooking stay away from anything with sugar in it. Your best bet is to use vinegar and/or water-based products only.
10. Only lay on the BBQ sauce in the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. Any sooner than that and the heat will cause the sauce to caramelize and burn your meat.
11. Let the ribs cool for 10-15 minutes before you serve them up. This is just a courtesy — you don’t want to singe your guests’ mouths with smoking hot sauce! You could lose some friends.