One of the first blog posts I wrote was on the subject of ribs. Us Canadians love ribs, we love to grill and in fact you’ll find some of my posts where I grill in the middle of winter!
I recently had friends over for a BBQ and although it was mostly a Greek feast, I included some Canadian faves in the mix.
Be it friends, family or readers of my blog – these ribs are tried & true…they have never failed me in being delicious, fall-off-the-bone tender and easy to prepare.
Canada Day is coming up tomorrow and I thought it timely to post this fantastic and easy recipe for ribs. As a side, you can also try your hand at the Montreal Steak Spice potatoes...another favourite for the backyard party.
First off…I am in no way going to argue with the fact that BBQ anything (over wood or charcoal) can be beat – it can’t! The gas grill, the oven and other amenities for cooking are luxuries and time-savers.
Here’s my approach to ribs, be it baby-back or spare ribs:
- I never EVER boil my ribs;
- This method works in the oven, on the BBQ/gas grill or a combo of both oven and grill;
- Always take the time to remove the silver-skin on the underside of the ribs;
- Apply the dry rub of your choice the evening before cooking
I’ve found the whole boiling of ribs to be unnecessary…somehow I think flavour is being lost. Cover/tent the ribs with foil and you’ll find the meat to render down to “fall off the bone”.
An important aspect to tasty and tender ribs is to remove the silver-skin on the underside of the ribs. I simply use a boning (flexible knife) and scrape the end of the underside of the ribs to loosen some of the skin – just enough to grab with my fingers and then I just pull it off and discard.
This is important so that the rub adheres to the underside and when you’re eating the ribs, you’re not trying to gnaw into something rubbery. Remove it.
As for a dry rub…it’s really up to your personal tastes. I find the best and tastiest results are when I apply a dry rub the night before I cook my ribs. The flavours really penetrate the meat and I even see a smoke ring (from the spices) even though I sometimes just use the oven.
Before I get onto the recipe, you have to try mixing some thinly sliced potatoes with melted butter or olive oil and tossing them in a Montreal Steak Seasoning. For those not from Canada or not familiar with Montreal Steak Seasoning, it’s one of the most popular ways us Canadians season a steak because frankly, it’s simply delicious.
If you can’t find a Montreal Steak Seasoning, you can make your own blend and save it in a jar:
The original post for Montreal Steak Spice Potatoes appeared way back in the early days of my blog but it’s real simple: Slice about 1 large potato per person and toss in a bowl with olive oil (or melted butter) and seasoning. Wrap well in aluminum foil and place in your BBQ or gas grill over indirect heat for about 30-40 minutes.
Finally, back to the ribs. You can cook your ribs from start to finish either in your oven, on the grill (gas or charcoal) or a combination of both. Sometimes, if I have a busy day of prep and there’s no room on the grill for ribs to be on all day (or the lid is going to be opened & closed), I simply pre-cook the ribs in the oven on a baking tray with a rack, cover them with foil and cook for about 70-90 minutes, 375F oven.
Later in the day, you can simply throw your ribs on the grill (indirect heat) and warm through and apply your favourite BBQ sauce at the end. Speaking of BBQ sauce, a regular BBQ sauce works fine as a base (I use Diana’s brand). I simply mix the sauce with some garlic powder, splash of vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce and some Chipotle sauce for heat and smoky flavours.
You can also add some liquid smoke into the mix but I resist as my dry rub (the most important factor for flavour) contains hickory salt. The night before I am to cook my ribs, I sprinkle hickory (smoked) salt, garlic powder, black pepper, sweet paprika and dried thyme on both sides of the ribs.
I lay them on the rack and baking tray, cover with foil and place in the fridge overnight until they are ready for cooking. Here’s a simple ratio for my dry rub for ribs:
3 Tbsp. hickory salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
1 tsp. dry thyme
You can mix a jar full of this blend for future use, I just included a mixture that’s good for one rack of ribs.
So, by this time – you’re ready to cook your ribs, you can pre-heat your oven to 375F or pre-heat your gas or charcoal grill to about the same internal temperature.
The ribs cook in the oven (covered with foil) for about 1 hr. and 15 minutes and then the foil comes off and the ribs are cooked for another 15 minutes, just enough time to give them that deep brown colour.
If using your gas or charcoal grill, cook the ribs over indirect heat for about 90 minutes and you should get that same “fall off the bone” end result.
Please note: it’s best you put a pan underneath the grill to catch any drippings. Pork ribs will render alot of fat.
Finally, have your favourite BBQ sauce mix handy and simply brush the sauce on at at very end. Your ribs should fall off the bone, the meat juicy and flaky and upon biting into a rib, you’ll even see the smoke ring that’s penetrated the meat!
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