When you are looking for something to cook on a warm summer day, there’s nothing better than cooking outside. Cooking outside allows you to take advantage of the warm, sunny weather. It also allows you to take the cooking out of your kitchen and not tax your air conditioner any further than you already have. There is one undisputed king of the grill: spare ribs. Spare ribs are the larger ribs of pork. Whether you’ve got a large smoker or a fairly small grill, you need to cook them slowly. You need to make as much space as possible in your grill so you can let them cook slowly.
Mise En Place
First, you need to establish your “mise en place”. This is a concept from professional chefs of getting everything in its place before you start cooking, which means you need to make sure you have enough charcoal for your grill if you’re using a charcoal grill; in the case of a gas grill, make sure you have enough propane for your grill. You are also going to want some kind of wood chips for creating a wood smoke. Practically any smoking chips will work; hickory is a go-to staple of smoking. Apple and other fruit woods are also very popular. Pecan is another good smoking chip choice as well.
You need aluminum foil for the wood chips. Finally, assemble your rib rub. You can buy a pre-mixed rib rub, or you can mix your own. If you are planning to mix your own, you can go in many different directions. A simple all-purpose rub consists of salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, red pepper, and dry mustard. If you like your ribs a little bit sweeter, adding brown sugar is a good idea. Sugar will caramelize to create a good bark on your ribs; it’s imperative to keep the temperature down, though. Sugar can burn if the temperature gets too high. Once you’ve got the rib rub ready, it’s time to start your grill.
Start Your Grill
If you have a smoker, you simply need to put the charcoal in the smoking component. A charcoal starter is a great choice. With a charcoal starter, you just stuff newspaper in the bottom and light the newspaper. In about 15 to 20 minutes, you’re ready to cook. You know your charcoals are ready for cooking at that point.
If you’re using a gas grill, put it on low and make sure the ribs are not over the open flame. When the fat begins to render, it can catch flame. Flare-ups can burn the bottom of your ribs. If you have a smaller grill, make a ring of charcoals around the edge of the grill. The ring should be three briquettes wide. Light two columns of charcoals; as the ribs cook, each set of charcoals will light the next set of charcoals. These charcoals will keep the temperature down and create good smoke. Wrap your wood chips in aluminum foil and poke holes all over the foil. When the charcoals are hot, put the packet of chips on the coals and allow them to start smoking. Add your ribs to the grill when it gets between 225 and 275 degrees Fahrenheit.