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I decided to try barbecueing my own ribs. And I don't mean grilling (high heat) but cooking low and slow over indirect choarcoal heat with a touch of smoking.

You should plan on doing this over two days (three if you have the time).

First, unpack, rinse and pat dry your ribs. In this case I had six racks b/c I was cooking for church.


Using a spice rub of your choice, give each rack a rubdown, massaging the spices into the meat.


Transfer into a roasting pan or other container, wrap in saran wrap and store overnight in the fridge.


You can do everything else on day two, or if you have time or a lot of other things to prepare, you can stop when you're finished barbucueing, cool then refrigerate the ribs and then on day three, grill them so they're piping hot for serving.

For the barbecueing, I tried using some real wood charcoal which has a little more aroma, but burns a little quicker. This means you'll need to use more and since it costs more, it could double your charcoal bill, not that charcoal is that expensive. You also need to monitor it a little more often.

Here I'm using some El Galitto (The Chicken?) Mesquite Charcoal.Charcoal briquets, since they're engineered, provide more consistent heat for a little longer and Kingsford has started making briquets with Mesquite chips inside. I didn't notice a significant addition of flavor but oh well.

Since this is barbecueing and not grilling, you want temperatures to be around 250-300 degrees so you can cook low and slow over indirect heat.

To do this, don't use as much charcoal at one time. You will need to tend it constantly to keep the amounts correct though since small amounts of charcoal get used up faster.

Once you get your charcoal lit, move it to the side of your grill.

Place your meat on the opposite side of the grill so that it is not over the heat. Then close your lid and let it go for 4-8 hours, depending how committed you are to going slow.

You should check it every 30-60 minutes, more or less depending on how things are going, watching the coals and making sure there are enough to maintain heat (and not go out!)

You'll want to flip or rotate the ribs every hour or two to make sure they cook evenly.

If you want to add a little smoke flavor to the ribs, place some water soaked wood chips of your choice (applewood, hickory and mesquite are common choices) in an aluminum tray and place it on the hot coals.

This isn't quite true smoking, but should add a nice flavor to the meat.

Here are the ribs after 4 hours of barbecue, you can tell b/c my grill is now in the sun. The ribs have taken on a nice color and sheen and the wood chips are almost gone.

Since I did this over three days, I just replenished the coals and then left it until the coals died, another two hours or so before cooling the meat and refrigerating it for the night.

The finished ribs. Yum! Since I refrigerated these overnight for my BBQ, I basted them with sauce then heated them back up on the grill before serving.  

Here's a nice slice of a pork rib. The pink is a result of the smoking and long slow cooking, it is NOT raw.  

Here is a nice example of the smoke line, the pink area that indicates how far the smoke has penetrated into the meat.  

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