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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Three Easy Steps to Preparing St. Louis Spare Ribs


Yesterday I decided to get my barbecue fix on. It has been a long time since I prepared a batch of spare ribs and Saturday was definitely the day.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to prepare a decent rack of ribs off the grill. Just know the proper steps of trimming the silver skin and excess fat, preparing the ribs for pre-baking, then finally, grilling.

Step number one was to remove the silver skin from the back of the rack. The silver skin is that thin opaque or sometimes white but firm elastic film that covers pretty much the entire back of the rack of bones. I highly recommend a boning or filet knife to do the job. I had neither of those cutlery items, so I had to use one of my smaller chef’s knives that made the task rather cumbersome as it is not as flexible as the other knives. Basically start on one side of the rack and pry the knife edge under the skin, and work to peel the skin off using the assistance of the knife to try and get large sheets of this skin off in one or a few attempts. Please don’t skip this step. I have been to restaurants where the prep cooks were too lazy to trim the skin off the ribs. The texture of the cooked silver skin was akin to chomping down on thin paperboard stuck to the back of what should have been tasty ribs.  Leaving the silver skin remaining on ribs can make the barbecue dining experience less than desirable.


The second step of the process to rib preparation is getting the rack ready for baking. I do the “low and slow” method of 200 to 225 degrees in the oven for about four hours.  I pre-cook my ribs in a tomb of aluminum foil with a generous splash of red wine vinegar. ACV (or apple cider vinegar) will also surely work. I also add some fresh garlic, a few pepper corns and a dash of Montreal meat seasoning. In this case, I had to resort to garlic powder as my crisper was bare of the real thing. For additional flavor, I cut up a Vidalia onion and place on top of the ribs. The racks are then wrapped on top with additional foil and placed on cookie sheet and placed into oven.



Once the ribs are baked, I pull them from the oven and let them rest for about an hour.  Soon thereafter, I place them on a hot grill and sauce. I usually grill the racks about five minutes on each side before I generously sauce them and grill for additional four to five minutes on each side. The total grill time is about twenty minutes over medium heat. There is no set measurement to time and saucing. Some people like a light baste while others like me prefer to coat the ribs a few times over.  I will also leave it to the reader’s discretion on how grilled they want their ribs. Many people like the a little carbon or dark grilling marks on their ribs. Just be careful to not let time get away as to avoid blackened or charred meat.

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