Smoker grill 101: Master this culinary art through patience and practice | Home & Garden

Recipe: Smoked country-style pork ribs

The size and marbling of these make it a perfect meat for beginners on the smoker grill. Try to find the more-red-than-pink ribs that are all a similar size, on the heftier side works best, with or without bones. Trim any fat caps that are thicker than a quarter inch; they won’t render well on this relatively short smoke.

Let the ribs sit out of the fridge a bit while you preheat your grill. Add a water pan to the smoker to keep the temperature more consistent and help keep the meat from drying out. When the grill hits about 200 degrees, start giving the ribs a good dose of your preferred spice rub. At 225, put the ribs directly on the grill or use grill pads to avoid indentations in the meat. Every half hour or so for the first couple of hours of cooking, spray the ribs with apple juice to keep the outside from drying too much.

Once the ribs get to 150-160 degrees, be ready for them to get stubborn about hitting the desired temperature for tenderness and fat rendering: 180-190 degrees. Do not be tempted to raise the temperature on the grill over 250 degrees to get there. If you are pressed for time, you can foil the ribs or wrap them in peach paper (the uncoated, unbleached product butchers use) and keep the grill at 225-250 for the rest of the cook.

If you’re all about the bark, put the ribs back on the grill uncovered when they hit 180 degrees; pull them off around 190 and let them rest uncovered to keep a nice crust. If you prefer to serve them softer, pulled-pork style, try braising the ribs. Cover them in barbecue sauce or baked beans and cook covered in a foil pan for the last 20 degrees of the cook.


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