I love barbecue. I eat it almost every day and it’s my favorite food. I especially like ribs, which are the most popular cut of meat in America. They come with a lot of different names depending on what part of the country you’re from.
When we lived in Texas, my wife cooked up some amazing ribs. She would smoke them for hours on end until they were perfectly done and tender. Then she’d slice them into thick strips with a sharp knife and serve them with plenty of sauce, onions and pickles. I was hooked!
That’s when I decided to start smoking my own ribs at home. I bought a pellet smoker and started experimenting. I found that you can make great smoked ribs by smoking them at relatively low temperatures (low enough so that your meat doesn’t dry out). The secret is cooking them very slowly while using wood pellets instead of charcoal or hardwood lump wood.
The results were fantastic! I was able to get ribs just as good as those served by my favorite Tex-Mex restaurant. So if you want to try your hand at barbecuing ribs at home, here’s how to do it…
Step 1: Buy Your Pellets
You need to buy a pellet smoker to smoke your ribs. You can find them at any big box store or on Amazon.com for about $100 – $150.
Once you have your smoker, you will also need to order some pellets. You should be able to find them on Amazon.com for less than $10 per pound.
Don’t go cheap! These pellets are made from sawdust and other organic materials, not wood chips. If you use cheap pellets, you’ll never be able to achieve the same level of smoky flavor as if you used real wood pellets.
Step 2: Clean and Season Your Meat
Before you even think about putting your meat in the smoker, you need to clean and season it well. Start by taking all of the meat off of the bones. Make sure you remove all of the fat and gristle too.
Next, rinse your meat under cold running water to remove any blood or other debris. Pat it dry with paper towels. Finally, rub the meat with melted butter and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Prepare Your Firebox & Charcoal/Wood Pellets
Put two large chunks of unlit charcoal in the bottom of the firebox. This provides more heat and helps keep the temperature relatively steady throughout the cooking process.
Now fill the rest of the space inside the firebox with the wood pellets. A single layer should cover the charcoal completely. Don’t pack the pellets too tightly or they won’t burn properly. You want a bed of coals that’s just above the top edge of the pellets but not so high that you can’t reach the grill rack easily.
Step 4: Place Your Meat in the Pellet Smoker
After you’ve prepared your firebox, place your meat (rib racks) on the grill rack and close the door. Now turn on your smoker and let it preheat for 15 minutes before adding the meat. Once the unit has reached operating temperature, add the wood pellets to the firebox. Close the lid and cook for 6 – 8 hours at 225 degrees F (107 degrees C), or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F (66 degrees C).
If you don’t have a thermometer, just poke the meat with a fork and see if the juices run clear. Also, remember that these are slow roasting times so there won’t be much shrinkage at this stage.
Step 5: Flip the Meat and Cook It Again
When the first side is finished cooking, you’ll need to flip it over. This will expose the second side, which will finish cooking in about 30 minutes. Once the meat is done, take it out of the cooker and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it thin.
If you’re having problems getting the meat to cook properly, check the following common pitfalls:
Too Much Smoke
If you open the door when your meat isn’t ready yet, you may be causing condensation to form on the sides of the cooker. This makes things difficult because you lose the ability to see the meat. The solution? Open the door only when necessary.
Too Little Heat
Make sure your firebox is burning hot enough. You want to see flames coming out of the chimney. If your firebox isn’t producing enough heat, you might need to use larger pieces of charcoal or add more wood pellets. Just be careful not to overcrowd the firebox.
Trying to Use Cheap Wood Pellets
The biggest problem with buying cheap wood pellets is that they tend to produce a lot of smoke. This can make things tough when you’re trying to control the airflow to create a nice, gradual smoke flavor. If you can’t find good quality pellets, try soaking them overnight in water before using them. This will help to reduce their tendency to produce lots of smoke.
Not Enough Time
Remember, this method takes 6 – 8 hours to cook. If you put the meat in at 7 a.m., you’ll probably have to wait until 9 p.m. before you can enjoy your delicious smoked rib dinner. That said, you can always set your timer for half an hour earlier if you really want to speed up the process. Check here for more information https://www.sfgate.com/market/article/best-pellet-smokers-17523054.php.