Making Life Delicious Since 1983

Tips For Cooking The Best Ribs

Cooking ribs might seem a bit intimidating but actually because they cook low and slow till they are fall-off-the-bone done, you have a better chance of perfection every single time. With our tips for cooking the best ribs you’ll learn preparation and knowing where to put them on the grill is the real trick!



Rib-stylesChoose Your Rib Style:

Baby Back Ribs (pork) are the most common and easiest to find. They are smaller, meatier and leaner than other types. These are the ribs we’ll cook in the how-to below.
Spareribs are larger with flat bones. They have more connective tissues, so after a long cooking time, they’ll get very tender.
St. Louis-style Ribs are spareribs with the rib tips removed. They have a more uniform, rectangular shape than the other types. They’re trickier to cook, so you might want to start experimenting with baby-backs or spareribs first.
Country-style Ribs (pork) thick cut rib chops taken from the front end of the loin near the shoulder.
Short Ribs (beef) are meaty but tough so they are perfect for the slow cooker, a long low braise, or perfect to use in soup, stews & chili.


cleanyourgrill-tasteofhomeChoose Your Tools:

If you’re gonna grill them make sure you have a big enough grilling area that you can cook indirectly (the meat on one side and the fire on the other). Ribs need a good long slow cook, so you don’t want it sitting on top of a fire.

If you’re slow cooking in a pot or braising, make sure your ribs are short enough to fit properly. Short Ribs & Country Style are the best for this technique.

Make sure you have a meat thermometer! Temperature is a key element to perfect ribs and knowing when they are done. Make sure when you place your thermometer into the meat it’s not touching bone (which will be hotter than the actual meat) and that you are sticking in only to the middle (don’t poke through to the fire!)
The usual ‘finished’ temperature of pork is 145°F, however, the collagen found inside the ribs needs plenty of time to become tender for that perfect bite and that begins to happen when temperatures inside the meat reach 165°F. It’s best to continue cooking your ribs until they reach around 195°F to 203°F for maximum tender bite.

prepping-ribs-tasteofhomePrepping The Meat

Most store-bought ribs have what’s known as silverskin, a membrane over the underside of the ribs. Sometimes butchers will remove it for you but if not don’t worry, it’s not that hard to remove!
To remove the membrane, insert a knife between the membrane and the meat at one end of the ribs. Be careful not to pierce the membrane as it’s easier to remove in one whole piece. Work your fingers under the skin to loosen it and then you’re going to tug it off. Wrap a paper towel around your hand so you can get a good grip (it’s a little slick!). Gently but firmly, pull off the silverskin membrane.


cooking-with-ry-rib-rubAdding Flavors
Marinades? Spice Rubs? Slathering on the sauce?
All three are great ways to add flavor and all three work great alone and all together as well.
Marinades: For ribs especially, a marinade will help flavor and tenderize. Soak your ribs well and leave them sitting in the marinade overnight for best results. Turn them over before you go to sleep. Or if you have big enough zip lock bags give em’ a good squish all about and leave them to swim in the tasty juices!
Spice Rubs: For best results of adding your spice rub to ribs take the ribs out of the fridge, drain and discard any marinade if you soaked them first. Regardless always pat the ribs dry (this helps the spice rub stick). Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the ribs, patting it with your fingertips to encourage it to adhere. Our Rib Rib is phenomenal and award-winning for a reason! But we have an endless array of choices like Revr’n Ray’s Rubs, Pig In A Poke, and famous Dano’s Seasoning is a great low sodium, no sugar option and ALL are delicious on ribs! Or if you’re wanting to start making your own rib rub from scratch check out our starter recipe HERE for Bootlegger BBQ Rub, inspired by Cooking with Ry and featuring our Bourbon Powder!
Sauces: Leave the sauce till then end! It’s best to cook only with your rub on for that low & slow period on the grill or in the oven, and then that last 15-25 minutes is when you sauce or glaze them so you don’t burn up all that sweet stickiness! Our Sweet Bourbon Glaze is amazing as a finish on ribs. And if you’re making your short ribs or country ribs in the slow cooker, the Bourbon Glaze is a perfect option to START with, glaze the meat and then throw it into your slow cooker and cook away till done.
Indoor Cooking Flavor Tip: Want that ‘grill’ flavor but cooking your ribs in the oven or in the slowcooker? Use Liquid Smoke! Add a dash of this liquid magic to your marinades and have instant chargrilled flavor.

meat-tempGrilling Time
The real secret to how to cook ribs: Cook them over indirect flames, and give them time. This lets the connective tissue melt away, leaving you with perfectly tender ribs. If you cook them too fast, over high heat, the meat can turn out chewy and tough.
First, preheat a clean grill to medium heat (about 200°F), then oil the grill with some oil or ghee on a paper towel and use your tongs to hold it and wipe the grates.
Place the ribs right on the grill, using tongs to maneuver them into place. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat for 30 minutes on each side.
After the first hour, move the ribs to direct medium heat and cook 20-40 minutes longer, or until the pork is tender. Occasionally your can turn and baste with the reserved marinade (or barbecue sauce or glaze but watch closely that it doesnt burn and wait till the end to apply).

ribs-olde-town-spice-shoppeKnow When They’re Done!
“Falling off the bone” isn’t the best way to end your rib’s ‘grill time”. You want to get them off the grill just before they are falling about. Start testing for doneness once the meat begins to pull away from the ends of the bones. When you see this it’s time to check! Pierce the meat with a fork and the tines should glide through easily. You also can twist a rib bone a little bit with your tongs; you should feel it move easily but not fall apart from the meat. If the meat falls off the bone, your ribs could be overcooked actually so keep the sauce handy.
It’s ideal to cook your ribs to a temperature of about 190°F. This high temperature melts the tough collagen in muscle fiber, resulting in a tender rib.
And importantly let your ribs rest! As mouthwatering as they might be give your ribs 10-15 minutes, you’ll want to split them up into manageable portions. Using a sharp chef’s knife, carefully cut them into two-bone sections. Make the cuts as close to the bone as possible so there’s a lot of meat on each one.

Get grilling and make life delicious!




Tip inspiration and some photos from the MANY MANY grillers that come into the shoppe, Taste of Home, Cooking with Ry, and years of practice of our own!

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