As I predicted, not all of my weekend plans would come to pass. I realized that it would be nearly impossible to BBQ my ribs on Sunday and do beer on Saturday since there was plenty of prep that still had to happen on Saturday. Primarily, I had to trim down the ribs which required time and space that wouldn’t have been available if I were brewing. Fortunately, the brewing only needs to wait a few more days and I can aim for this coming Saturday. The commitment to a single large endeavor was worth it though!
I definitely learned a few things leading up to just cooking the ribs. What I really wanted to do was make some of those brontosaurus sized ribs you can get from a BBQ joint. But as beef ribs are a much less common type of rib, I wasn’t even sure what they were called. After much research…I’m still not sure. But that’s ok because what I really wanted and didn’t know it was short ribs. The name is confusing because I’ve always associated short ribs with small, individually cut ribs that I would throw in the slow cooker.
But short ribs aren’t named that way because they’re short but because they come from a part of the cow called the short plate. And you can get a whole rack of them, usually 4 ribs. The ribs aren’t as standard sized as pork ribs but they can be anywhere from 3 – 6 inches long and the long version is what I really have been wanting to cook. So we called up our local butcher and sure enough, they had what we wanted.
Saturday was prep day which just meant trimming all of of the fat and silver skin off. Once that was done I applied salt to do a dry brine for around 18 hours. I’m always struggling to get the right amount but I’m happy to say that the meat was not over salted! Once it was salted it was back into the fridge until the next morning.
The other thing I did on Saturday, at Melanie’s suggestion, was prep the egg so I didn’t have to do it in the morning. This was a great idea and after the kids were bed, I spent about 30 minutes just cleaning everything out and getting a nice bed of lump charcoal laid out.
On Sunday, I got up at 6 am to get everything going. All I had to do to the grill was start the coals. I decided to try a new method and just placed my starter on top of the lump. This way I’d only light a few coals on top and potentially have fewer burning at any one time. I was hoping this would allow for more easily controlled lower temperatures (spoiler alert: it did).
Once the coals were going I got the plate setter in and got the grill up to temperature. This time with my temperature probe in the proper location! Once the grill was close to 225, I got the ribs back out and applied my rub. I used Meathead’s Big Bad Meat Rub. After that I put my temperature probe into the ribs and threw it all on the egg.
At that point, Melanie and I went for a run. I had the smart idea of pointing my SimpliSafe camera at my temperature monitor so I could check it while we were out and if I needed to, I could run home and play with the grill. But once I checked it half way in and saw everything was stable, I was able to run worry free.
I ran at 225 for 9 hours. At that point, my internal temperature was 180ish. I decided, for the sake of getting dinner on the table by 6pm, it would be ok to let the temperature go up since I’d been cooking at the very bottom of the suggested range. I let the Egg drift up to about 160 and I hit my target of 203 right at 10 1/2 hours.
Everything was great flavor and texture-wise. This was probably the best BBQ I’ve made on the grill. The meat was packed with flavor from the smoke and all of the magic of the low and slow cooking time made the meat just melt. Since I never wrap I also had a beautiful crust on the outside.
Overall, this whole cook went as smoothly as it possibly could have. I had no problem controlling my temperature and I really only had to adjust the vents every couple hours. I did have to bump up the temperature at the end but even then it stayed pretty low.
That doesn’t mean I won’t change anything. Some things I would do differently are:
- I need to get some wood chips for smoke. The lump I use imparts a beautiful smokey flavor (Cowboy Brand, Oak & Hickory). I want some cherry wood though to add some subtle notes.
- The rub I used was great but Melanie and I both felt the black pepper was a bit too strong. I still have plenty left so I’ll probably add some garlic and onion powder to cut the ratio down and use 2 tablespoons rather than 3 next time I make it.
- None of the BBQ I’ve made the last couple weeks have needed a sauce but I’d like to make one for next time.