A few weeks back I said that I was going to share this recipe and the story that goes with it. Thanksgiving got in the way and the Leftover Smoked Dutch Oven Turkey Soup made it on to the blog in place of this one. So with out further delay let’s talk Ribs!
I got this idea a month or so before I decided to do this cook, a friend that does way more smoking than I do was by the office and when we have time I like to ask questions and swap stories with him. He was planning to do some cherry marinaded ribs and put them on the smoker that following weekend. I am a big fan of cherry flavoring and it just seemed like a great way to smoke ribs. I asked him if he minded if I gave this a shot and posted it here for the world to see, he said he did not mind since he had not shared “his” recipe with me and this one would be mine to create.
So here we go….
As you get further along with smoking foods you will want to read a few web blogs and look over the abundance of recipes and methods out here that can guide you along as you learn this art. The most prominent rib smoking method is something that is called the 3-2-1 method, this translates to 3 hours of smoke, 2 hours in foil on the grill and 1 hour out of the foil and in the smoke. There are a few variations 2-2-1 or a 3-2. With these methods you do not have to “mop” them with a sauce at the end if you apply the sauce inside the foil.
There is always the put them directly on the grill method and not foil them at any point in time but to “slather” them with a “mop” sauce towards the end of the smoke. I have done this on on my gas grill which is easier to keep the temperature up but lacks the charcoal flavor that most of us love. I have used wood chips on this grill and it does a good job.
I did the 3-2-1 with these which is a total of 6 hours of cook time. you will need to allow time to foil these and to bring the temp of the smoker back up. I smoked these at 250 and was able to keep the temp up for most of the cook. On the Brinkman, opening the top loses a huge amount of heat, so I suggest that when you are going to work on the ribs with the smoker open you add add a hand full of charcoal just before you open the smoker so that it will have a small temp spike and be able to get back to temp when you cover it up. I monitor the temp with the digital Maverick ET 732 ad since these are ribs I do not use the food probe feature.
Your going to need cherry-wood and a few apple-wood chunks for the smoke. A good quality lump charcoal, I use the Big Green Egg charcoal (available at you local BGE distributor) as well as the Royal oak lump charcoal (available at Home Depot) Your electric charcoal starter or a charcoal chimney to start the coals.
What do we do to prepare the ribs ….
First we will need to trim the ribs and pull that membrane off the underside of the rib sections. Here is a you tube video of how to do it. http://youtu.be/0vJbrTdPgGM
NEXT is the marinade
1/2 medium onion chopped then minced
1 1/2 TB salt
1 TB ground cumin
1 tsp. crushed black pepper
1 tsp Ancho pepper
2 racks of Spare ribs….you can use the Country ribs if you want
3/4 of a 1 litter Cherry cola soda I used about 24 oz of a Cherry Coke.
1 cup Cherry Syrup which most grocery stores will have.
1 jar of cherry preserves . Get the kind that had chunks of cherries in it.
Mix the onion, salt, cumin, black pepper, and Ancho pepper. Put the ribs in a large non reactive container a glass dish or bag, and coat the ribs with with seasoning. Pour in the Cherry Soda (coke for me) and the cherry juice, cover the dish or seal the bag, and put in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. You can marinade for a few hours but overnight will give the ribs the best flavor. A note here about sectioning your ribs. I have been cutting these ribs into 4 or 5 rib sections to place on the smoker, I plan to try and keep them in one continuous rack for my next cook to see if they are easier to handle. You can lay them flat on the smoker grill but you need to make sure that they will fit on the grill so that the lid will close. Size your rib sections accordingly.
When you are ready to start your smoker fill it with a good quality lump charcoal and bring it up to temperature then add in the cherry-wood and a chunk or 2 of apple-wood. You will need to add water to your pan if you are using a water based Smoker like the Brinkman.
Take the ribs out of their marinade, saving the marinade, and place your ribs in the rib rack (if you are using one) or lay them directly on the grill (make sure they will fit before you start the smoker) and put them on your preheated smoker. Return the smoker back to 250 and cook for 3 hours in smoke. Add charcoal and cherry-wood as needed to keep the ribs in smoke.
We are going to use the marinade to make a “mop” base and a BBQ sauce to use on the table.
You saved the marinade so now, while ribs are cooking, pour the marinade into a saucepan and place over medium high heat. Bring the marinade to a boil and reduce the heat simmer on Medium low till it reduces by about half and turns syrupy you will need to stir it to keep it from burning. Add in the cherry preserves and continue to stir and cook for another 10 minutes or so.
Keep it warm until you are ready for it.
Now that you have reduced the marinade you will use it to baste the ribs when you foil them. In the 2 section of the 3-2-1 rib cook method you will open the smoker and remove your ribs to place them in a foil wrap to make them juicy. Be sure to close the smoker while you do this part so that you can maintain the temp inside the smoker, you may want to add a little charcoal after you remove the ribs to foil. At this time you will use the cooked marinade to baste the ribs in. “slather”them good and foil them tight to seal in the baste. Return them to the Smoker to cook for another 2 hours. Hold the marinade on warm and use it at the dinner table when you turn the animals loose on your ribs.
Now we are in the home stretch.
After the ribs have done this second part of the 3-2-1 method you will remove the ribs from the smoker (be sure to add a little charcoal to the smoker to maintain temp) and unwrap the ribs to return them back to the smoker. At this time add cherry and apple wood chunks to the charcoals to get the smoke back up working. You are going to keep the ribs on for another 1 hour in smoke.
You will notice that the meat has started to pull away from the bones this is a very good sign!
This is an easy cook just be sure you have enough to satisfy the masses.
So enjoy, and I’ll look for you again next week!