The rub should be applied to the whole surface of the rack of ribs, and in a thick enough layer to heavily coat the meat. Too much smoke can overpower the meat's flavor. Wear protective gloves when adding charcoal and wood chips to the fire to avoid burns. Start at one end of the rack and with a blunt knife, work your way under the membrane along the surface of the last bone. Knowing how to use an offset smoker will help you create rich and tender meat that literally falls off the bone. When you use an offset smoker, you risk the ribs coming out so tough that you can barely chew the meat. When cooked at low temperatures the membrane will remain tough and will detract from the eating experience. For a rack of ribs, you should let the meat rest for about 10 minutes after you take it out of the smoker. firewood or charcoal – about 20-30 briquettes + more as needed During the first few hours is when the meat absorbs the most smoke flavor, so make sure that you are producing a good supply of smoke during this time. Make sure you cut away any loose pieces of meat or fat, as these will dry out while cooking. Add one wood chunk and a handful of chips to the charcoal fire inside the firebox every 40 minutes or so. Rub a generous amount of dry rub onto the rib racks on top and bottom so all meat is coated with a thin layer. The last part is to take note of your ribs. Sometimes you can get it in one grab, and other times the rack is a little stubborn and it might take a few tries to get the majority of the membrane off. Divine theme by Restored 316. Using a paper towel, grab hold of the membrane and peel it off. About 6 hours before cooking, set up your smoker to hold a temperature around 225 F (110 C). When buying the ribs, you want to look for a full rack that is even in thickness throughout; if the rack is thin on one side and thick on the other it won't cook evenly. If thermometers are attached to the smoking chamber, try to keep the internal chamber temperature at about 200 degrees throughout the process for even cooking and smoking. Repeat this process for about eight hours, keeping the firebox door shut when not adding wood or coal. Wet wood will provide more smoke later. The good thing is it's easy to remove the membrane if you do it correctly. For your smoker, you need to make sure you have plenty of fuel (remember, this is a long cooking process), whether it be charcoal or whatever your smoker burns, as well as wood chunks which will help you control the level of heat.Also handy is a reliable meat thermometer, heavy-duty aluminum foil (if you intend to wrap your ribs), and a large knife. Be careful or you will lose the shape of the ribs and simply end up with a pile of rib meat. You can wrap the ribs while cooking or leave them as-is (or do a combination), use a dry rub and a sauce or no sauce at all, and cook the ribs fully in the smoker for tenderness inside and outside, or finish cooking over a high heat for a crispy exterior. kitchenlifetoday.com/how-long-to-smoke-ribs-in-a-charcoal-smoker « White Chocolate Flower Bark – Yes, with Edible Flowers! One to two racks of spare or baby back ribs, A good rib rub (Famous Dave's is good, or consult "BBQ USA" by Steven Raichlen), Five pounds of hickory chunks for smoking, Bag of cherry or apple wood chips for smoking, Large bowl or basin of water for soaking wood chips and chunks, Charcoal grill with a side firebox attachment. There is a risk that the ribs may come out under-cooked, too. If you guide it down directly between the bones you should be able to pass the knife through easily. If the ribs are very tender the meat will tear apart more easily than it will cut. Begin this step at least nine hours before dining time. By using The Spruce Eats, you accept our, Mathias Genterczewsky / EyeEm / Getty Images, Finishing the Ribs and Using a Barbecue Sauce, Resting, Cutting, and Serving Barbecue Pork Ribs. Regulate this through the side vent and smoke stack of the firebox and grilling chamber. How To Smoke Meat On A Charcoal Grill. You will want a strong smoke source at the beginning of the cooking time and again towards the end of the cooking time if you intend to add sauce to the ribs while they are on the smoker. Tools: spray bottle with water or vinegar. You can just let your barbecue ribs smoke as they are, but many people swear by what is known as the 3-2-1 method. Place ribs on the cooking grate of the smoking chamber (the main cooking surface inside the charcoal grill). When placing the ribs in the smoker, make sure you do not stretch out the rack of ribs; stretching out the rack can increase the toughness of the meat when fully cooked. Place the ribs in the center of the cooking area where the smoke can move evenly around all sides of the rack. Too spicy? The first question you need to ask yourself is about the surface of the meat. It is easiest to carve ribs by setting them standing up on the meaty side (bones should be sticking out a little on the top side). If, however, you prefer fall-off-the-bone ribs, then you should definitely wrap them for the 2 hours. Keep the coals contained to one side by surrounding it with wood chips like oak or apple, which will cook the meat with indirect heat and smoke. From this point forward you want to be careful how you handle the rack of ribs. To follow this method, you will need a traditional barbecue meat smoker. Of course, the nature of ribs is that they have a meaty side and a not-so-meaty side, so you can't get a perfect evenness. Also handy is a reliable meat thermometer, heavy-duty aluminum foil (if you intend to wrap your ribs), and a large knife. Too sweet? This means that you will need to arrange your hot coals on either side of the grill, so that they are not directly below the meat you are smoking. Once your ribs are getting close to done (look for an internal temperature around 170 F/75 C), it is time to think about how you want the ribs to be served. If you wrapped the ribs, start applying the sauce as soon as the foil comes off. Build a small charcoal fire in the side firebox of the grill and allow coals to catch to the point they glow red or are completely gray. Instead, do the opposite: Once you place the rack in the smoker, push it together gently from the ends. You can use a sweet rub, a spicy rub, or a savory rib rub—the choice is yours. The trick is to put the rack of ribs over the high heat for about 2 minutes a side. Just look for a rack of ribs that isn't too lopsided. (Meat shrinks as it cooks and you don't want to impede that from happening.) Keep at least two inches of space between rib racks, with bone sides down, and keep the chamber door shut as much as possible during cooking to minimize heat and smoke loss. Smoked ribs are a dish that can either go terribly wrong or terribly right. Get it free when you sign up for our newsletter. With your ribs trimmed and your smoker hot, it's time to put on the rub. Marc Chase is a veteran investigative newspaper reporter and editor of 12 years. If you apply the rub too early your ribs will get a "hammy" flavor and they could end up being dried out; by applying the rub closer to cooking time, you will get all the flavor without the texture of the meat being altered by the salt and spices. Keep extra chunks and chips in water during the smoking process to keep them wet.
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