The weather has begun to warm here in Corrales and everyone has spring fever. There was a time when I cooked seasonally; chilis and stews in the winter, barbecue in the summer. But long ago we discovered that chili was just as good in the summer and things made on the grill; steaks, barbecue ribs, grilled chicken were really tasty in the winter. However, during these first warm days grilling just sounds so much better. Tonight we kick off the season with barbecued ribs, rosemary roasted potatoes and cole slaw.
Our ribs are now a two step cooking process – smoked first then finished on the grill. I’m in charge of the smoking: George handles the grilling.
We prefer baby back or boneless country ribs, tho I have to admit we haven’t tried country ribs in the smoker – maybe in two weeks or so. Tonight it’s baby back ribs.
I start by prepping the ribs. Using a sharp knife,
I cut a slit in the membrane along the back of the ribs and, with the help of a paper towel, remove the membrane from the meat. then I cut the rib slab into two pieces. My stove top smoker isn’t big enough to handle a whole rack and George prefers to grill the rack in two pieces as it allows him to cook the pieces more evenly.
After the ribs are prepped I prepare the smoker. I added 2 tablespoons of Hickory Chips to my stove top smoker. I use the griddle burner on my stove as it provides heat most of the length of the pan. I smoked the ribs for about 18 minutes. We have found that is the optimum time to smoke if you are going to grill. You get the good smoke flavor with the grill providing the crusty finish. As you can see by this picture, the ribs are nowhere near done after their 15 minutes in the stovetop smoker. The meat has begun to turn brown but is still raw on the inside. By the way, stove top smoking , while it will never replace a true long rest in a wood chip smoker, is a pretty good substitute when you are in a hurry and clean up is pretty easy. I line the smoker tray with foil and spray a light coating of cooking spray on the rack. I can have this smoker cleaned and ready to go back into the cabinet in under 15 minutes while George is finishing the ribs . One less thing to do after dinner.
The rosemary potatoes – 3 small russet potatoes, peeled, sliced into wedges and coated with grapeseed oil and fresh minced rosemary – are ready for the oven. All I have to do is chop the cabbage and carrots for coleslaw and we’re good to go.
I ‘d love to share a picture of the finished ribs but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow!