Smoking with what you got, grill smoked baby back ribs
Wow, its been that long since my last post?! I have been sorely neglecting my poor blog and almost as much my taste for food! Well alot has happened since September, for one, last December we packed up all of our stuff and put it in a storage unit (or three) and that includes my beloved smokers – so I have been without my arsenal for nearly 7 full months now and it has been difficult. We find ourselves living with my in-laws while we are in limbo between our condo and our future home (which we are still looking for) and our stuff is far away. But, lucky for me my father in law has a nice gas smoker, unlucky for me today’s weather calls for severe storms and strong winds all day.
But let me back up, what in the world do I even need a smoker for today? Well as it turns out my brother is getting married next weekend (congratulations Dan) and I being ever so thoughtful forgot he may need a stag party before he enters into wedlock and so we find ourselves in need of some grub. So I find myself up against the wall we are out with friends tonight and then tomorrow its stag party time. Dan is pretty simple in his tastes but ribs are one thing he likes and one thing I like to make. So ribs it is, nothing special, usual rub and smoked using the 2-2-1 method (they are baby backs, for regular ribs the 3-2-1 method) but with the stinking gale happening outside my window using the gasser was out of the question, I would spend more time relighting the burner than actually cooking. So that left me with the charcoal, which would take more care than I could give it today or the gas grill…winner winner
chicken pork dinner.
Now I have heard that some of you (you know who you are) will take a rack of ribs and put it into a crock pot and turn it into gray mush and then top with some sauce, the words I have are not kind. Well no more! There are no longer excuses, today we will learn how to make ribs on the grill that are just a fuzz less awesome than those off a smoker, after all the one on the smoker get cool points.
Before we can figure out how to cook them on a grill we need to know what makes ribs so special in a smoker, there are a couple of things they are low heat for a long period of time, moisture from the water pan (personal opinion here) and smoke – after all it is a smoker. These are the things we will need to replicate in the grill.
The first and arguably the most important, or at least a close second piece of the equation to replicate is the low heat for long periods of time – I can hear you now, “…in a crockpot…” Gross! Anyways so to do that we will only be using one burner (your grill may be different), you will notice in the picture above that the two burners closest to the camera are turned off and just the one is on. Doing this I am able to maintain a nice 225-250°F cooking temperature (stinking wind, it would be easier without the gales) without much effort. So that was easy figure out where the grill can happily hold our temperature and leave it there, or at least until you are positive you need to adjust and KEEP THE LID CLOSED!
Next there is the smoke and well the water, they are pretty similar so I will cover them together. The first thing you will need are a couple of foil pans that will fit in your grill, unless you want use your good pans then by all means cast iron would be better. Take the grate out of your grill if it has the little under grate, sometimes called flavor bars, and set the foil pans directly over the burner you will be cooking with – fill one with water and line the bottom of the other with wood chips soaked in water.
Finally add ribs and cook as if it were on a smoker. Just like a smoker you will have to refill the water and the smoker chips as needed. Cook and enjoy, use your crockpot for soup and taking things to potlucks, where with any luck someone will steal it.