At Morgan’s BBQ in Brooklyn, NY, we are serving up traditional, Texas-style barbecue on a daily basis. Here are a few tips from on how to transform your backyard barbecue from the ordinary to the extraordinary (Warning #1: you should cook more than anticipated, as seconds will be in high demand).
Hamburgers and hotdogs are the great staples of every American backyard barbecue, but why not elevate your barbecue and treat your guests to the wonders of perfectly smoked pork ribs? At Morgan’s, we smoke our ribs for eight hours in our in-house smoker, but you can make a similar product at home by following a few simple steps.
First, you’ll need to choose the right ribs for the occasion. A St. Louis cut (or Spare rib) provides the most meat and juiciness per serving, so be sure to ask your butcher for a few racks of these beauties (if you prefer baby backs, please read on, as the tips below can be applied to smoking any type of rib).
Next, apply your preferred rub to the ribs. At Morgan’s, we use a salt and pepper-based rub (with a few secret ingredients), which delivers a nice crust to the ribs, while lightly infusing the meat to give the ribs the perfect flavor. Be generous with whichever rub you choose, on both sides of the racks, as this will enhance the flavor of the ribs. (Warning #2: do not apply your rub to the ribs too far in advance, for the salt will act as a curing agent to the meat, and leave you with dry, overcooked ribs.)
If you are working with a standard charcoal grill (the classic Weber, for instance), you will want to build a bed of hot coals on one side of the grill, fill an aluminum pan with water, and place directly above the coals. The next, and most crucial step, is adding the wood. You can find wood chips at most grocery stores these days, but you’ll want to look for a type of wood that provides some moisture (or, soak the wood chips in a water bath for an hour before using). Adding wood to the coals is a crucial step in the process of creating the smoke flavor to your ribs.
Once the ribs are prepped, place them on the grill on the opposite side of the hot coals and water pan (providing indirect heat). The ideal temperature of your grill should be approximately 225 degrees. To obtain the perfect tenderness, smoke the ribs for about three hours (depending on their size), wrap in aluminum foil, and place back on the grill for another hour. Once this is finished, you can unwrap the racks of ribs and finish on the grill up to another hour (or until your guests can no longer wait). If you have a great rub, as we do at Morgan’s, you’ll find no need to add a BBQ sauce. However, if your guests insist, apply a light mop of sauce to the ribs, and finish on the grill for 2-3 minutes -- just be sure to avoid any splatter on your white pants (it is Memorial Day, after all).