Four Way Ribs
Baby back ribs are not always the star of the show when it comes to rib styles, but they are a crowd favorite and are suited for trying out some new flavors.
We are going with 4 different flavors for this cook. We split each rack in half and got started.
First of all you have to get your grill set up. Make sure your grill has enough charcoal to last 5 hours. I err on the side of more charcoal and just close up the grill after the cook to preserve what is left. For this cook we are using the Pro-Zone Base Rack, a Pizza Stone as a heat deflector, and a standard 18in grate. We start with one Aura Natural Fire Starter in the center. You don't want to get your fire going too hot too quickly or it will take a long time to come down. Having the temperature come up to where you want it slowly is a pro move.
The next step is trimming the ribs of excess fat and flaps. If you have a flap of meat there's a good chance it wont get an even amount of rub and smoke. Once the trimming is done make sure to remove the silverskin on the underside of the ribs. (Or don't, some people like the texture it provides when it gets crispy.) According to some removing the silverskin allows for more smoke penetration, we don't have any data to back it up but every time we have done it the ribs have been great, so why mess with it?
Time for flavor. For this cook we kept it simple with a 1/3 salt, 1/3 pepper, 1/3 garlic power rub. Where we got a little wild was coating the meat before the rub.
We went with four flavors for the four half racks. First off was the traditional, dry rub only. Second was an EVOO and rub. Third was an umami bomb paste and rub. Finally was the Aura HQ go to of mustard and rub.
Once your grill hits 230° its go time for the ribs. We really like the 2-2-1 method here. It's tried and true and it allows us to spend less time monitoring the grill and more time packing boxes. The 2-2-1 method is 2 hours with smoke, 2 hours wrapped in foil, and then one hour back in the smoke. No temperature changes needed. We add some apple chunks at the start but that is it. Once of the keys as always is to limit the amount of times you open your grill. Make sure your thermometer is probably calibrated so that you trust it.
After the first two hours wrap your ribs in foil. The goal here is to keep in as much moisture as possible so wrap them tight! You can also use unbleached butcher paper if you have some on hand. Put the wrapped ribs back on at the same temp.
After the two hours in the foil. Take the ribs off, remove the foil, and put the ribs back on uncovered for another hour at the same temperature. This lets the bark on the ribs firm up and develop a great texture. This is the step where you would also add additional sauce if desired. We opted not to. Note the interested dog, always a sign the ribs are going well.
After the final hour you are ready to go. Let the ribs rest for a bit if you can, but if you cant wait we wont tell. Dig in and enjoy!