May 25, 2011
Love to barbecue ribs? Here are two more tips

bp barbecue pork ribs.JPG
CREDIT: David Wilson aka "Barbecue Bobby" turns over a rack of pork ribs at the late-great Cafe au Creme on Stockton Blvd. Bryan Patrick, Sacramento Bee.

Don't know about you, but I am a sucker for some properly smoked barbecue. I've spent many an afternoon in the backyard tending to my barrel smoker and trying to create some killer ribs: slow cooked at 225 degrees until the meat's just about to fall off the bone but still has some chew, plus finding that perfect blend of rub and sauce to take the flavor into the stratosphere.

I hadn't been so hungry in a while from writing a story, especially after getting off the phone with Jamie Purviance, the James Beard nominated author and barbecue master who lives in El Dorado Hills. Here's today's piece with plenty of tips for elevating your ribs.

But you know how it goes with newspapers. A lot of times we have too many tips and not enough space in the paper, so here are a couple more suggestions when you're ready to slow-cook that next slab of ribs:

In a space crunch, stack your ribs and rotate

I swear by my barrel smoker, but it's not long enough to handle more than a few slabs of ribs at a time. And if you're feeding a bunch of folks, this can be a problem. Here's a solution from Purviance:

"Take three or four ribs and stack in a pile," he says. "The inside ribs protect from the heat and this works very well, so every hour rotate their positions. The problem is that it doesn't brown the ribs well so you have to finish over direct heat."

If you're mopping your ribs, add a touch of bbq sauce

I generally like to mop my ribs every hour or so to keep them moist and impart some flavor. Adding sauce too early in the smoking process can be dicey, as you risk blackening the ribs through carmelization, but adding a touch of sauce to your mop can be a perfect flavor booster. Whether you're using a mop that's based with wine, water or juice, adding a little barbecue sauce can really make those ribs sing.

"Don't add the barbecue sauce to the point where it's near thick, but just so that it has those flavors," says Purviance. "What you're trying to do is echo flavors throughout the process."

Now, let's get to smoking some ribs, especially if Mother Nature lets up this Memorial Day weekend ...

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