Smoking Ribs Can be Simple and Fun

            There are a million ways to enjoy a meaty tender rib.  Whether you like it dripping with sauce, burnt to a crisp, or unbearably spicy you can learn to make them like a pro.  Smoking and grilling are as American as apple pie but that doesn't mean you have to be a world class chef to make them.  Even if you don’t have a grill or smoker you can make them without a problem.  The most important thing to remember when making ribs is to get the temperature right, everything else is secondary.

Smoking ribs is probably the most popular way to cook them in the United States. It is a lengthy process but results in some very unique and intense flavor that really can't be matched by other cooking methods.  To smoke a rib, it is necessary to either have a smoker or a grill that can be temporarily converted into one.  Using a grill means placing the meat on one side of the grill while the heat source is generated from the other.  Small boxes can be used to contain the wood chips necessary to impart smoke on the meat.  Never cook ribs above 250 degrees Fahrenheit, as this will lead to less juicy and tougher meat.  The length of time is not set; look for the meat to pull back away from the bone and use an internal thermometer to make sure the core meat temperature is up to USDA safety standards.  It generally is impossible to overcook ribs if you make sure to keep the temperature right.  

Another great way to make ribs is to either put them in a crock pot or in the oven.  The idea is low and slow as with other cooking methods so don't crank it up to high on the crock pot or 500 degrees in the oven.  In a Crockpot it is generally easiest to include the sauce with the meat, in the oven bake at low temperature without sauce.  In all methods of cooking, dry rubs can be used to enhance flavor.  Brown sugar, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and other ingredients can be used to rub into the meat prior to smoking or baking.

At the end of the day making ribs is made best the way you like it. If you remember a few simple tips, such as keep the temperature low, don't parboil the meat prior to smoking it, and don't over smoke the meat it will turn out fine.  Ribs don't have a season so enjoy cooking them year round in different forms and fashions.