Wow! It's 80 degrees and I'm home from work. Mother Nature didn't let me down. Visitors who come to visit the seaside city of Pacific Grove, California complain how cold and overcast summers are. Yes, I know that! I've lived on the Monterey Peninsula since 1963! What I do know is that September is when some of the most beautiful weather comes to this beautiful part of the world. If we're lucky, blue skies and 70 degree temperatures stick around until October. I don't live in Pacific Grove, but I work here. I commute 25 miles inland to where I live in the sunbelt of the Salinas Valley. In this fertile valley, is where I can enjoy plenty of sunshine, strawberries, corn and plenty of summer vegetables for a few extra weeks. That also means that grilling season doesn't end with Labor Day. Pumpkins and winter vegetables will be transformed into pies, soups and stews-- but not just yet! Speaking of Labor Day, these are the ribs that we grilled and they were amazing!
pulled pork, tri tip and now-- these baby back ribs! I've grilled ribs before and I've tried all kinds of recommended tips. Year ago, I was told to braise them in water and then grill them. Nope, that didn't work. I've oven-roasted ribs, per Tyler Florence. They were good, but they couldn't compare to honest-to-goodness grilled ribs. My best friend, of 34 years, is known for her legendary ribs. At least, that's what I hear, but I had yet to experience them first hand. Two weeks ago, we drove north to the Bay Area to visit. She made them for us and I have to admit they are legendary! She graciously showed me how she does it. It's simple, but it's all about "technique". So, here are the tips we have learned with the help of this book and our own trial and error with grilling:
- We enjoy adding rubs to meat. You can buy them at the store or learn to make your own. I've done both.
- I like to let the meat come to room temperature before grilling.
- Learning to cook meat with indirect heat is the key. As amateurs, we used to throw the meat right on top of the coals-- which led to burned meat/sauce and mediocre results. Now we understand to cook it low and slow.
- We never baste the meat with sauce, until the very end-- if at all.
- Soaking wood chips and then adding them over coals creates a flavorful smoke. It kicks the flavor up a few more notches.
- It's worth an extra dollar or two, per pound, to buy quality meat. If you're always looking for bargain meat prices, try buying from a reputable butcher who sells grass fed meat. Trust me, you'll truly taste the difference. Whole Foods ribs cost $1.00 more, per pound, than my local large grocery chain. No hormones and free-range.
To make these particular ribs, I bought McCormick Schilling Grillmates Rub for Pork. That's what "Pat" uses...
Pat adds some garlic salt & seaoned salt. Instead, I added some Susie-Q Brands Seasoning mix. I love this product!
pulled pork post, that shows you all about indirect heat grilling and adding wood chips for smoky flavor. Like my best friend, Pat, did-- we cooked these for about 1 1/2 hours, with the Weber grill cover on, with the meat away (not on top) of the coals. Halfway through cooking, we added more coals. We added the soaked Susie-Q Red Oak Wood Chips to the coals for the last 15 minutes.
The meat has pulled away form the bones, and it's ready!
Look at that color, from the rub!
How off-the-bone tender does this look?!
I basted half of the ribs with my homemade barbecue sauce. Personally, I prefer no sauce, because I want to taste the flavor of the grill, oak chips, rub and seasoning.
The barbecue sauce recipe is at the bottom of this page. I really like this one, if you enjoy a tomato based sauce with some flavor kick and garlic. Yummy!