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.
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:
Prepare the smoker for 275-325°F and place the ribs on the grill. I used hickory for this smoke:
After 90 minutes the meat is pulling back from the bones, but the rub looks a little mealy:
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:
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:
- 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
- Peel the membrane from the back of the ribs
- 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
- Flip the ribs over to the meat side and repeat the salt and the rub
- Set the smoker to 275-325°F and place the ribs on the grill
- When the meat pulls back from the bone about a half inch the ribs are done, approximately 2.5 hours
- Remove from the heat, slice and serve
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.