Memorial Day Ribs

Scott Thomas
"Grillin' Fools"
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slab of spare ribs, uncooked
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There’s nothing better than some meat placed over hot grill grates, filling the air with that wonderful aroma that can only come from grilling.

Aaaaah, Memorial Day Weekend: this is the day when so many weekend warriors pull covers off their grills for the first time of the year and crank up the heat. It’s time to start creating many memorable outdoor meals throughout the dog days of summer and…hopefully…beyond.

If you are scouting for ideas, you have come to the right place. Be a little daring this year and grill up something that will not be forgotten an hour after your guests leave – ribs. And in particular, a style of ribs named for the city I live: St. Louis-Style ribs. These are spare ribs have the rib tips, cartilage and sternum bone removed which makes the ribs rectangular in shape allowing them to cook more evenly than other ribs. The uniformity also makes for great presentation and is a favorite of competition grillers.

Most people like to go low and slow when cooking ribs. They put the temperature on the smoker between 190-225°F and smoke the ribs for up to six hours. Now, if you are having people over at 2:00 p.m. , this means you need to light the grill at 7:30 a.m. to get the ribs on by 8:00. It’s the weekend and you want to sleep in, so save some time and go with the high heat method. The name is a bit of a misnomer in that the target temperature of the grill is anywhere from 275-325°F, but the medium heat method just doesn’t have the same alliteration as high heat. The beautiful thing about the high heat method is that spare ribs are done in about 2.5 hours at 300°F. Sleep in, have a big breakfast and crank up the smoker (or your Char-Broil® TRU-Infrared™ Smoker, Roaster, Grill) at 11:00 instead of 7:30. Baby back ribs will be done right at about 2 hours. If you want them to fall off the bone, smoke for 90 minutes, place in foil, add some beer, wine, or BBQ sauce and put back on the grill for another hour. The steaming action will make them fall off the bone.

To liven things up even more, deep six the traditional BBQ sauce and go with this Eastern Mediterranean-inspired rub. When you sauce ribs, the sauce is the show. When you rub ribs, the rub complements the meat and the smoke; it does not overpower it.

Rub Ingredients:

2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

This is enough rub for one slab. Adjust the amounts according to how many slabs you plan to grill.

Mix the rub ingredients in a bowl. Remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs and then salt that side and apply a layer of course salt and then the rub. Flip over, salt and rub:

Rub ingredients applied to slab of ribs
Rubbed Ribs – Trimmed rib tip in the background.

Prepare the smoker for 275-325°F and place the ribs on the grill. I used hickory for this smoke:

Ribs with rub applied on the grill, uncooked
On the Grill with the Rib Tip, also rubbed, for a sample later.

After 90 minutes the meat is pulling back from the bones, but the rub looks a little mealy:

Meat pulling back from the bones on spare ribs on the grill
90 minutes into the grilling process.

I drizzled a little white wine to moisten the rub, but beer or apple juice works well too.

Here they are at the 2.5 hour mark, ready to be sliced:

Spare ribs off the grill, ready to be sliced
Slice Away!

While Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of the summer and BBQ season, the real reason for the holiday is to honor the fallen soldiers who have died protecting this country. When I’m not blogging, I work in IT at the Jefferson Barracks Medical Center in St. Louis. It’s a Veterans’ Administration medical center nestled between the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s largest military cemeteries at 331 acres, and more than 158,000 internments. On any given day, I can hear a lone bugler playing Taps or the honor guard firing 21 rounds into the air. I get a daily reminder of the brave men and women who have fought and died for our country. For the rest of us, the reminder is Memorial Day, so please take a moment from the Memorial Day festivities and pay tribute to the reason for the holiday by thanking a living vet for their service, say a prayer for the families of the fallen, or donate to a veterans’ charity. Those whot have fought, and more importantly, those who have died fighting, have earned it. This is why we celebrate Memorial Day:

JB Cemetery, american flag planted in front of graves
The real reason for Memorial Day
Memorial Day Ribs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 3

Serving Size: 3-4 rib bones

Calories per serving: -

Fat per serving: -

Ingredients

  • 1 slab of spare ribs
  • Course salt to coat the slab
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

Instructions

  1. Peel the membrane from the back of the ribs
  2. Coat the bone side with salt and then combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and apply a layer of the rub to the ribs
  3. Flip the ribs over to the meat side and repeat the salt and the rub
  4. Set the smoker to 275-325°F and place the ribs on the grill
  5. When the meat pulls back from the bone about a half inch the ribs are done, approximately 2.5 hours
  6. Remove from the heat, slice and serve

Notes

For fall off the bone ribs, at 90 minutes, place the slab in foil with liquid (beer, wine, apple juice, or even honey or syrup), place back on the smoker for another hour.

http://www.charbroil.com/community/memorial-day-ribs/

6 thoughts on “Memorial Day Ribs

  1. Wonderful article Scott! Great recipe and directions for making mouthwatering ribs. I can’t wait to try them. I come from a military family and appreciate that you support the troops every day. Thank you Scott!!

  2. Directions for cooking are very incomplete.
    I have a big red. Assume they cook indirect, but it is not stated.

  3. I just bought a smoker and I can’t wait to use it. I did a beef tenderloin once and put on mustard once before the rub. Now I wouldn’t do it any other way. Yellow or brown it just adds another layer of great flavor.

  4. Just tried this recipe. Nowhere near done after 3 hours. took them off after 90 minutes (as recommended) and put them back on. Left them on for another 2 hours. Sadly, they were very tough. I make baby backs all the time with fall off the bone love. Used my brand new Char-Broil® electric smoker for the first time and didn’t work as expected. Wasted to racks. Boo. Hope the brisket turns out better.

    1. What temperature did you have the grill? These should not have been fall off the bone at that time. Fall off the bone is a little overdone in terms of ribs. You need to go longer for fall off the bone ribs, then put them in foil for about 90 minutes with a little liquid (beer, wine, or even syrup or honey).

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