One of the best things about summer is barbequing and savoring all the yumminess that comes off a grill. I still haven’t done much actual grilling myself, but B has become quite good at it, and we enjoy all kinds of meats while the weather is warm.
My dad is a barbeque master, and I’m not just talking about using a propane grill. Ever since I can remember, he has had a Weber barbeque on which he prepares slowly smoked beef ribs that are the best I have ever tasted.
Growing up, Dad did much of the cooking, and his grilled and barbequed meals were definitely his best. Mouth-watering chicken, tender steaks, delicate salmon, and oh, those ribs!
Anyone who has tasted Dad’s ribs is sure to request them whenever they visit, but we don’t always get what we want since making ribs the “right” way is labor and time intensive. Plus the fact that the butchers don’t always have beef ribs, so they tend to be a seasonal indulgence. I’ll take them whenever I can!
While visiting this summer, Dad made some ribs for us. For the first time (probably ever), I watched him walk through the steps and paid attention. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to replicate his rib recipe, unless I first purchase and then learn how to use a Weber, but I loved learning about the process and talking to Dad about what he does to make such delicious food.
Dad first soaks hickory chips (or mesquite if hickory is not available) in water for a couple of hours. He uses these to create smoke within the barbeque, and let me tell you, it smells and tastes amazing. He then heats the charcoal until it is white hot, and prepares the ribs.
First, he removes the ribs from their packaging and uses a sharp knife to split the thicker part of the meat between the ribs a bit so they cook more evenly.
Dad then removes the membrane so the ribs are easier to eat (that membrane is tough!). He also removes some of the fat so it doesn’t flare up when he takes off the top of the barbeque. Melting fat dripping on hot coals can mean serious flames!
Next, he arranges the ribs on racks so they lie flat and therefore cook evenly. Then he seasons the ribs (he uses an all purpose seasoning) and covers them with wax paper until the ribs come up to room temperature. This is key: cold ribs will take much longer to cook through and may result in tough meat.
Dad smokes the ribs for about two hours. He does a fast smoke since there is no regulator on the smoker (he just uses a Weber bbq). The heat is only regulated with the coals and time. He used to slow cook the ribs in the oven until they were partially done, then he transferred them to the Weber. Now he does the entire cooking in the Weber, which saves a bit of labor and produces a better smoky flavor.
We served the ribs with Crispy Coconut Kale and some Brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and shallots (I’ll post my recipe someday…). And then we chowed down.
There is nothing like eating meaty, flavorful, smoky beef ribs in the company of your family, who love you unconditionally and enjoy sharing good meals with you. Even when you eat so many ribs you cannot move from the dinner table. Even when you have bits of rib stuck in your teeth and being “saved for later” on your cheeks. And even when you eat the last rib for a snack later that night…
…which I most certainly did not do (this time)!