Surprise guests, the people you care about most coming to visit you when it seems least convenient. The delicate balance of life thrown to the wind as now you have to figure out how you are going to entertain. The house… is a mess. Dinner plans… eat in or eat out? There are a ton of options and you have to work fast. All this and more came to light recently when my sister-in-law came to visit.
Now, the good news is that my sister in law is awesome. She is self sustaining, not fussy, and likes just about everything. So I thought, why not make up some ribs? They are fun, easy, and everyone thinks you are a hero when they hit the table. This time was no different.
Spare ribs are a great way to break into Bbq. The cook time is generally 4-6hrs on a smoker making it much less daunting then pulled pork or brisket. A couple quick tips I’ve learned smoking ribs: (1) Don’t go much over 250°. The higher the temp goes the more the meat pulls back from the rib. If you go too hot too fast they will look like that kid in school who’s pants weren’t long enough and you could see his awkward legs. (2) Trim them up before they hit the smoker. Spares are awesome and they can be packaged a lot of different ways. Watch a youtube video on how to trim a rack, youtube is your best friend. (3) Don’t wrap it in foil. There are so many people that suggest wrapping, DON’T DO IT! When you wrap them they get soggy. That’s right I said soggy. The bark is too moist and the profile changes. Go low, slow, and mist with cider vinegar every 30-60 minutes after the first three hours and you will be in good shape.
I trimmed them, rubbed them, loved them, and threw those ribs on the smoker. The wife and sister in law were off shopping for lunch and I was getting the house ready. I set my Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) for 250° and walked around the house with my remote thermometer to stay within my range. Temperature fluctuations are normal but the smaller variation range you keep the better the product. My goal is to keep my WSM within 10° of my target temperature.
The gals returned and the table was set. Fall in Jersey and Pennsylvania are amazing. The trees begin to turn and the weather goes from sweaty to pleasant around October. We grabbed a few good brews and I pulled the ribs. It is important to always rest your barbecue. To put it plain and simple, if you cut into your food too early it will dry out. Ribs need about 20-30 minutes and roasts like Boston butt or brisket need 30-45 minutes. Wrap them in foil so they stay hot. I like to chop up the ribs and place them onto a plate in a nice stack. The presentation is awesome and you don’t run the risk of having someone bite off more than they can chew. Many times when you cut someone a quarter or half rack they will be unable to finish and someone else who ordered light will be sad they didn’t have more.
The ribs were perfect and so was our evening. Sitting out on a wrap around porch with good food, good beer, and good company, we shared some stories and had a great evening. When you have family come visit do yourself a favor, fire up the grill.
Many of the best moments this day had to offer were in the cooking process. My sister-in-law and I spent a lot of time catching up next to my pit. Restaurants are distracting and you spend much of your time going to and from the location. Imagine being able to focus instead on just spending time with your family or friends. Skip the line. Skip the hassle. Cook something special and wow the family.