Josephine’s Panty Secret’s to Perfectly Smoked Ribs
For those of us in the omnivorous realm, one of life’s greatest pleasures is a rack of perfectly smoked ribs. Pork or beef, dry or wet, savory or sweet, the flavor combinations are numerous. Pair your favorites with the right time to cook and the perfect temperatures and you will have delectable ribs in no time. When competitive BBQ teams smoke ribs, they concentrate on cooking to a specific temperature, not how long it takes to cook. Of course, this is dependent on them not missing judging.
You want to cook your ribs until the thickest part is at least 160º F. This is the temperature at which connective tissue can break down and make the ribs as juicy as they can be. Cook them at a lower temperature for a longer period to allow those tissues to break down enough.
In the competitive barbecuing world, teams smoke their ribs dry! No, really, there is no barbecue sauce used in their process. Josephine’s Spice Blends are great for adding flavor directly to the meat, not just settling the flavor on top of the meat. Be sure to give that meat enough time to let the flavors really penetrate the meat. 8-10 hours is a good rule of thumb for this.
Just because there is no sauce during the smoking process does not mean that these competitors don’t want their ribs to be kept moist! This is where a mop rub comes in. A simple mop can be made up with just 2 tablespoons of our Smokey Molasses Blend with one cup of apple cider vinegar or beer. Use a small brush to “mop” this on the ribs while they are cooking. Alternatively, you could use a clean spray bottle and just spray the mop on while you are cooking the ribs. This method has a little less control to it than the brush, but it covers more area quickly. Each has their pros and cons, so experiment and see what you like best.
Get your ribs from your local butcher, not a grocery store chain where they may have been previously frozen. The ribs you select should be pink in color, and you should only buy them when you are ready to cook them, up to two days in advance. Don’t buy them any further in advance than that, otherwise they won’t be as fresh or tasty.
The night before you are going to smoke your ribs, remove the membrane off the back of the ribs. Many of competitive teams swear by this method for juicier ribs, but there is some debate about whether you really need to do it or not.
Add an extremely thin coating of olive oil, mustard, vinegar, honey, or Worcestershire sauce to your ribs before you smoke them. This thin layer of liquid will act as a bonding agent that helps the spice blends hold onto the ribs better. The better your rub holds, the more flavor your ribs will retain.
Coat both sides of your ribs with our blends! Be liberal with it. You can use up to 2 tablespoons of blend per pound of meat. After you’ve added the blend to the ribs, massage it in using your hands. Coat both sides evenly.
Keep your ribs overnight in the fridge to allow the blend to seep into the ribs.
Take your ribs out of the refrigerator at least one hour before you are going to start smoking them. Let them get to room temperature before they cook. The theory behind this is that the meat will cook more evenly if it is left to reach a temperature closer to the temperature you will consume it. Cooking a cold piece of meat will lead to uneven smoking because it will warm up at different times. At least if it is room temperature, it has more of a fighting chance of cooking evenly all the way through. There is some debate about this theory as well, but it has proved to be helpful in cooking the best ribs.
When pre-heating your smoker to 255º F., don’t rely on the thermometer on the smoker, as these tend to read hotter than the actual temperature that the ribs are cooking at. Use an oven thermometer for a more accurate read and place it right on the rack that the ribs will be cooking on.
Choose the wood you’re going to smoke your ribs with. Depending on where you live, you may find that you have easier access to some smoking woods than others. In the south hickory tends to be the favorite, in the southwest it is mesquite, and in the west and northwest, alder is the preferred wood. With that said you can get just about any popular type online, thanks to the advances of modern technology. Competitive BBQ teams use a wide selection. Some of the most popular include:
It should take baby back ribs about 5 to 6 hours to be perfectly smoked. Depending on the type of ribs you are cooking times may vary. Mop your ribs every 45 minutes for the perfect smoking to mopping ratio. For the last 30 minutes of the smoking process, apply your mop, wrap the ribs up in heavy duty aluminum foil, and place them back on the smoker. Wrapping them in foil will make them very tender because it will force the meat to reabsorb the liquids lost during this cook time.
Just one final helpful hint before you go off and make the best ribs you have ever eaten. Be sure your exhaust damper is wide open, as trapping smoke in your smoker will give your ribs a very bitter taste. This will completely negate all the effort you put into perfectly seasoning you ribs. Give some of these or all these tricks a try and you will be smoking ribs like a pro in no time!
Bourbon Molasses Blend
Our Bourbon Molasses Blend is incredibly unique and delicious! Granulated Molasses, Smoked Hickory Salt and Orange Zest make it mouthwatering on Beef, Chicken, Pork, Seafood and yes, even vegetables!