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Father’s Day Menu: Smoked Ribs!

I know that Father’s Day isn’t until tomorrow, but I got a head-start on the meal that we are preparing for my dad:  smoked ribs!

My mom and dad had 8 kids (2 girls, 6 boys), so that makes it easy for dinner at Dad’s house on Sunday:  just assign each person a dish (or let them choose what they want to cook).

Don’t tell my family, but I love to cook, so it’s never a hassle when they ask me to bring a dish.  People have raved about my ribs (okay, so maybe it’s just Shannon that likes them, but that’s good enough for me!), so that’s what I am preparing for Dad.

It’s easy to smoke good ribs, all you need is smoke, heat, ribs, and patience (without one of the four, it’s a no-go!).  Of course, those are the basic things you need to get some basic smoked ribs; to go above and beyond, one must go above and beyond.

So, here’s my list of ingredients for smoked ribs:

  • ribs
  • dry rub seasoning
  • barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (fresh-ground is best, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • Coca-Cola
  • olive oil
  • beer

The first thing I do is try to find some ‘meaty’ ribs, but not too thick (if one side is thicker than the other, they will not cook evenly.  It’s okay for one side to be wider than the other, but not thicker).

On the bone-side of the ribs, there is a white membrane.  Use a paper towel to grab a corner of that membrane, and slowly peel it off of the ribs (this might take some practice).  Then, using your hands or an oil brush, lightly coat the meat side of the ribs with olive oil.  It’s best to do this on a baking pan.  Then, liberally apply the dry rub seasoning, only on the meat side.  Allow the dry rub to ‘set-in’ with the olive oil for 2 minutes, then shake off excess dry rub seasoning (that’s why I use the pan; I can use that unused dry rub on the next rack of ribs, if I’m doing more than one).

Once your ribs are seasoned, put them on a smoker (set to 225-250 degrees, with your choice of wood), bone-side down, for 3 hours.  Check the smoker every 20 minutes or so to make sure that it’s still producing smoke;  if not, add some wood chips.

While your ribs are smoking, chop the vegetables into tiny little pieces (I use a food processor).  Saute the veggies in olive oil until the onions are soft, then add the brown sugar and, on a low fire, allow the brown sugar to begin to ‘melt’ (about 7-10 minutes, but DON’T LET IT BURN!!  Low heat).

Add 1/2 a beer and two containers of plain or original barbecue sauce to the mix and bring to a slow simmer.  Lower the heat (I actually put my electric stove on the lowest setting) and allow to cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally (the sauce will thicken up nicely in that time, but watch fairly closely to keep it from burning.  It should only “bubble” every 5-7 seconds).

Once the ribs have smoked for 3 hours, turn off the heat on the sauce, and put each rack of ribs on a sheet of aluminum foil, meat-side up.  On each rack, spread 1 tablespoon applesauce and 1 tablespoon bbq sauce, then seal the ribs in foil, leaving one end open.  Pour in 2 tablespoons Coca-Cola, then seal.

Put the sealed foil packs onto a baking sheet with sides (in case the foil tears) and bake in the oven at 250 for 2 hours.

Take from oven, and carefully open the foil (watch for steam!!).  CAREFULLY remove the ribs, and put back onto the smoker for 1 hour at 200 degrees.  Pour the ‘juice’ from the foil packet back into the sauce, and put the heat on low, until the ribs are finished on the smoker.

While the ribs are smoking for the last hour, baste with the bbq sauce every 10 minutes.

After the hour is up, VERY CAREFULLY remove the ribs from the smoker.  Why am I reminding you to be careful?  Because they will be very tender, and my have a tendency to fall off the bone!!

Bon appetite, and Happy Father’s Day!  (Or any day, for this recipe is good anytime, anywhere!)

 

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