Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ribs: A Christmas Story. Part II

When I woke up Christmas morning, I was more giddy than I had been since the year Santa brought me an entire pyramid of Micro Machines.  I was excited to go to church and open presents with my Oklahoma family, but just between us, I was a little distracted.  I could not wait to fire up my Big Green Egg and smoke the ribs I had prepared the night before.

The look on my face throughout the entire process of smoking ribs.
(Screenshot from "A Christmas Story")

If you haven’t read the previous post about how I prepared these ribs, please do so here.  If you don't plan on actually making ribs, the only thing you really need to know is that we’re doing a rib rub taste test between the new class of Kansas City BBQ greatness and one of the old Kansas City staples that put KC ‘Que on the map.

Two Kansas City Champions:  The Squeal Hog Rub vs. Arthur Bryant's Meat and Rib Rub

Today, you’re going to need your prepared ribs, a spray bottle, apple juice, foil, wood chips, a smoker, and your appetite.

First thing’s first.  Go get your dog’s food bowl and fill it up with apple wood chips and water.  You can use your favorite kind of wood, but apple is a pretty classic combo with pork.  Let this soak for at least 30 minutes.

Try and control yourself, Rufus.  We all know you love to devour all of my apple wood chips.

I realize that most people reading this either don’t have a smoker or have a different style of smoker than my Big Green Egg.  You’re not going to hurt my feelings if you skip ahead.  Just make sure your smoker is set to 225 degrees.  For those of you with a BGE or who are just curious, continue reading.

Fill up your BGE with charcoal that goes about 2 inches above the bottom side vents.  This will be a lot of charcoal, but you don’t want to run out.

Sprinkle on a good amount of wood chips all over the charcoal and light a starter in the middle. 

The Big Green Egg DVD will tell you to make a spiral with the wood chips.  I have tried this at least a half-dozen times and failed miserably every time.  Just throw the chips on and make sure they're evenly distributed throughout.

Let the fire heat up for a good 10 minutes with the lid open.  After it seems that a couple of coals are nice and hot, you can close the lid and open up your top and bottom vents all the way.

Keep an eye on your thermometer.  While you’re waiting on the fire to heat up, gather your ribs, rib rack, place setter, and drip pan. 

Heat up the BGE to 275-300 degrees.  This will make sure that enough coals are heated up to not die out later. 

Once the temperature reaches this point, CLOSE ALL THE VENTS.  This will remove oxygen from inside the grill and slowly cool down the fire inside. 

You want the temperature to drop back down to 225 degrees.

When you’ve reached 225 degrees, open up the BGE, promptly insert your place setter LEGS UP, and put your drip pan in the middle of the place setter.  Then put on the grill grate.

Put the rib rack on the grill and place the ribs into the rack.  If you don’t have a rack, just put them meaty side up.

Close the lid and wait around for a couple minutes to see what the temperature does.  Most likely, the rush of oxygen from opening up the grill for so long heated the up coals too much.  You might have to close all the vents again to drop the temperature back down to 225 degrees.

Once you’ve hit your mark of 225, open the bottom vent about ½ inch, adjust the top vent to be open by just a bit, and start your timer for 30 minutes.

You can just barely see the opening in this picture.

While the clock is ticking, go grab your spray bottle and fill it up with apple juice. 

Return to the ribs after 30 minutes have passed and spray down the ribs with a generous mist of apple juice.  This part is pretty straight-forward, so you might want to find a happy little helper to do the work for you.

I've never seen a little girl so excited to get up from her new toys so she can spray apple juice on ribs!

Close the lid and get your temperature back to 225.  Spray the ribs every thirty minutes for the first three hours they are in the smoker.

After three hours have passed and you’ve sprayed the ribs a total of 5 times, remove the ribs and wrap each one individually in foil.  Place the wrapped ribs back in the rack and close the lid.

Pig. Foil. Duck Boots.

The foil will accomplish 2 things.  First, it will get the ribs to that fall-off-the-bone tender that so many people love.  Second, it will keep the ribs from absorbing too much smoke flavor.

Smoke the foil-wrapped ribs for another 2 hours.  There will be no need to open the smoker during this time, so go take a nap or play outside in the snow.

Or both. 
(Screenshot from "A Christmas Story")

After two hours have passed, remove the ribs from the foil.  By this time, the meat should be receding up the bone a bit, but they wont be ready just yet.

Unwrapping my presents.

Return the ribs to the rack or simply place them bone side down on the grill.  Spray them  again with apple juice and close the lid for another 30 minutes at 225 degrees.

After another 30 minutes (5 hours and 30 minutes total), check the temperature of the ribs.  If they read over 170 degrees, then they’re done.  If not, wait another 30 minutes and check again. 

Two of my racks got done in about 5 hours and 30 minutes.

The last behemoth took a total of 6 hours and 30 minutes to cook through.

After you let them rest for 10 minutes, grab a sharp knife and start cutting them up!

Man, these ribs were pretty much perfect.

Fall-off-the-bone tender.

Serve’em up with a little bit of your favorite sauce for dipping.

I like my ribs dry so I can put the sauce on myself.  If you prefer wet ribs, then start brushing on the sauce 20-30 minutes before the ribs are done in order to get that nice glaze.

So who was the big winner??

While all the ribs were licked clean, the clear winner was Arthur Bryant’s Meat and Rib Rub.  Arthur Bryant’s rub was well balanced and complimented the ribs, while The Squeal may have been a bit too sweet and its flavor was a little over-powering.  Fortunately for you, Arthur Bryant’s Meat and Rib Rub is available online and at the Bass Pro Shop nearest you.

At the end of the day, the best part about Christmas is giving gifts to the ones you love.  I was glad that I got to share these delicious ribs with my family in Oklahoma.  I think this little guy was pretty happy too.

Cash said, "These are the best ribs I've ever had in my whole life."  Even though he's only 5, I'll take the compliment!

Don't forget to register to win a free jar of Magic Dust!  More details here.


  1. I spy Head Country bbq sauce!! That is the BEST!! When we first moved to TX I used to have my cousin send me Head Country care packages, thankfully they carry it in TX now!!

  2. Yup! Head Country is a great sauce. Chelsi was the first introduced it to me. I've come to find out that pretty much everybody in Oklahoma has Head Country in their fridge. I think it's best on ribs!