Whether you like them fall of the bone, or with a competition bite, pork ribs are awesome, and learning how to cook pork ribs is one of the easiest things you can do.
I remember cooking my first rack of pork ribs about 10 years ago, and the absolute mess I made of them until I discovered how easy they were. Now, they are my favourite thing to make, and will be on the smoker at least every couple of weeks.
Making great ribs is not a difficult thing to do. The 3-2-1 method is used a lot, particularly in the US, however here in Australia, our ribs are a little leaner. Why? Our friend Cam from BBQ Spit Rotisseries explains:
Because the ribs tend to be less meaty, the three things we look for when we’re cooking are:
In our video, we use Borrowdale Free Range Pork ribs, which we love using because of the amount of meat on them. We got these as a full plate or ribs, meaning the baby backs and the spare ribs were all one piece of meat, and had our butcher split them up for us.
How to cook pork ribs
- 1 full plate of pork ribs, split into spares and baby backs
- BBQ rub (we use Moonshine BBQ Spiced Heat)
- Sauce for glazing (we used Lanes Kinda Sweet in our video)
- Heat Beads coconut shell briquettes (or your favourite briquette)
- Smoking wood (we used apple)
- Set up your kettle using the snake method and the Heat Beads briquettes. We used the coconut shell (blue bag) as they tend to burn hotter, and bring the kettle to 275F. We run ribs on the higher end as they can take it.
- Square your ribs up by removing any hard fat and any jagged half bones from the ends, and remove the membrane by loosening with a spoon and using paper towel to pull it away
- Cover in the spice rub and let stand for half an hour
- Place on the kettle over a water pan, add your smoking wood to the charcoal and close the lid
- About an hour in, start looking at the colour on your ribs, you want them to be be developing a mahogany colour.
- Once happy with the colour, wrap tightly in a double layer of foil with sugar, honey and butter. Make sure this wrap is tight as you don’t want the ribs to steam in the packet. Return to the smoker for another
- At this point, check for temp between the bones. We took these to about 195 before we took them out of the wrap.
- Remove from the foil and place back on the rack meat side up.
- Mix the wrap juices with your sauce and add cubes of butter until melted. This will give your glaze a nice consistency and shine.
- Brush on the glaze and let it set for 15-20 mins.
- Once the glaze is set, remove the racks to a chopping board or pink paper, meat side down. Use a slicer to cut between the bones, then plate and serve.