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Outside my comfort zone


Swiss Cheezhead
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As some of you know, I have my own recipe for babybacks, which involves six hours in a slow-cooker. Well, in about 36 hours, I'll be cooking 12 racks of ribs for about 35 people...and the base exchange here in Iraq suddenly ran out of Crock Pots.

 

So, I need to know how to slow-cook ribs on the grill. I want to melt as much fat off as possible.

 

The grill is a big, barrel-style piece of work, so I have a good amount of space. I have plenty of charcoal, and I'll make do with the spice rubs and sauces that are available here.

 

How much charcoal should I use to cook six racks at a time?

 

How should I set up the charcoal?

 

Do I need to involve some aluminum foil?

 

Should I throw a metal bowl of water somewhere inside the grill (on the rack? on the coal level?) to keep it nice and moist in there?

 

How long do they need to cook?

 

Any help you guys can offer would be appreciated. :wacko: <---those mugs are filled with NA beer here in Iraq. :D

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JN is correct, in my view. An indirect cook is called for. I would recommend the "low and slow" method. Low temp with a slow cook. I go three hours, indirect, at about 230-250 degrees. Then I wrap the ribs in foil for an hour and continue the indirect process. For the last half hour or so, I go direct and sauce the ribs. If you have wood chunks (apple is nice) or wood chips soaked in water, put them in the coals for a nice smoky flavor. Do NOT use charcoal briquettes, use real lump charcoal.

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SO far, all good info. I would also add mopping with apple juice every 20 minutes or so after the first hour of cooking. The temperature is the most important thing, keeping it at the 230-250 recommended by unta will produce the best results. I would go by an over thermometer that you can use to monitor the temp. The ribs are done when they start to pull back from the edge of the bone. Definitely use lump charcoal and do anything you can to NOT use lighter fluid to start them. You can and will taste it in the ribs.

 

I might disagree with unta here a bit. I like to use a dry rub and serve them dry with a sauce on the table if people want it. This way, there is no chance of burning the sauce on the grill. Put the rub on the ribs the night before if using one.

 

A pan of water or juice in the grill will help to keep the temperatue down and make it easier to regulate it.

 

The amount of charcoal is directly proportionate to the temperature. I would start with one chimney starter full of charcoal and adjust accordingly.

 

Try to avoid having any of the meat directly over the charcoal. This is the indirect method of cooking. Some ribs will be closer to the charcoal than others, move them around to avoid overcooking in one place or another.

 

Try to make sure that the ribs are cooking bone side down, meat side up.

Edited by Kid Cid
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OK people, he's in Iraq, so he's not going to be to run to the local Costco for better supplies. :wacko:

 

As the others have said, if you can set the fire to one side, do it. Unta is right on the method. With ribs I do 2 hours on the heat, 2 hours in foil, and 1 hour back on the heat. Sauce the last 30 minutes.

 

When you put them in foil, go meat side down.

 

Try to cook them at 225 to 250 if you can, but make sure you have a water pan in there under the meat if you can set the fire to one side. The water pan will help keep the temp down.

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If you dont have access to a thermometer for the fire temp cook them over medium to low inderect heat. A rough way to judge this is counting Mississippi's. Hold your hand 4" above the grill. If you can hold it there for 5 to 8 seconds its around medium heat. 2 to 5 seconds is probably a bit hot.

 

Also, and I am not sure about this, but I doubt on the grill you be able to control the heat like some of the smokers these guys use. So the 2 hours on the grill, 2 hours in the foil, and the last hour on the grill might be too much time. I use that time frame for my smoker as well but I would assume the heat on the grill would be higher and you might need to cut the time down.

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SO far, all good info. I would also add mopping with apple juice every 20 minutes or so after the first hour of cooking. The temperature is the most important thing, keeping it at the 230-250 recommended by unta will produce the best results. I would go by an over thermometer that you can use to monitor the temp. The ribs are done when they start to pull back from the edge of the bone. Definitely use lump charcoal and do anything you can to NOT use lighter fluid to start them. You can and will taste it in the ribs.

 

I might disagree with unta here a bit. I like to use a dry rub and serve them dry with a sauce on the table if people want it. This way, there is no chance of burning the sauce on the grill. Put the rub on the ribs the night before if using one.

 

A pan of water or juice in the grill will help to keep the temperatue down and make it easier to regulate it.

 

The amount of charcoal is directly proportionate to the temperature. I would start with one chimney starter full of charcoal and adjust accordingly.

 

Try to avoid having any of the meat directly over the charcoal. This is the indirect method of cooking. Some ribs will be closer to the charcoal than others, move them around to avoid overcooking in one place or another.

 

Try to make sure that the ribs are cooking bone side down, meat side up.

 

You shouldn't disagree with me as you hurt my feelings.

 

I also use a dry rub but I put it on about 30-60 minutes before the ribs go on the grill. I like to sauce the ribs on the grill to carmelize the sugars in the sauce. I really enjoy that flavor. If you watch the ribs carefully, you won't burn the sauce. I guess it's just a matter of preference.

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You shouldn't disagree with me as you hurt my feelings.

 

I also use a dry rub but I put it on about 30-60 minutes before the ribs go on the grill. I like to sauce the ribs on the grill to carmelize the sugars in the sauce. I really enjoy that flavor. If you watch the ribs carefully, you won't burn the sauce. I guess it's just a matter of preference.

Yeah, that reallly is personal preference.

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I also use a dry rub but I put it on about 30-60 minutes before the ribs go on the grill. I like to sauce the ribs on the grill to carmelize the sugars in the sauce. I really enjoy that flavor. If you watch the ribs carefully, you won't burn the sauce. I guess it's just a matter of preference.

 

This is how I do it also. Exactly like this.

 

See, BBQ brings people of all colors together. I use a black smoker and unta uses a green one.

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Fellas, the ribs turned out great, and I couldn't have done it without you. :D

 

It ended up being about 45 people, so I cooked 12 racks of ribs, 24 burgers, and 30 brats. I was at the freaking grill from 3:15 till 7:30. Still, it was a big success.

 

I basically took all the tips you guys gave me here and ended up using a 1-1-1 method for cooking the ribs. I dry-rubbed them with salt, garlic powder and pepper, then threw them on indirect for an hour. Then I foiled each rack bone up, squirted some apple juice (out of a juice box from the chow hall :D) and added some Worcestershire sauce. I sealed the foil and cooked them for another hour, adding some water and more apple juice twice during the foil stage. Then, I took them out and lightly coated the meat side with BBQ sauce (Hunt's was my only option...I sure did miss my own :D) and cooked them for another hour right over the coals, which weren't very hot by that time of the night. They came out carmelized and crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside. Everybody was impressed.

 

Thank y'all SO much. :wacko:

Edited by Swiss Cheezhead
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Fellas, the ribs turned out great, and I couldn't have done it without you. :D

 

It ended up being about 45 people, so I cooked 12 racks of ribs, 24 burgers, and 30 brats. I was at the freaking grill from 3:15 till 7:30. Still, it was a big success.

 

I basically took all the tips you guys gave me here and ended up using a 1-1-1 method for cooking the ribs. I dry-rubbed them with salt, garlic powder and pepper, then threw them on indirect for an hour. Then I foiled each rack bone up, squirted some apple juice (out of a juice box from the chow hall :D) and added some Worcestershire sauce. I sealed the foil and cooked them for another hour, adding some water and more apple juice twice during the foil stage. Then, I took them out and lightly coated the meat side with BBQ sauce (Hunt's was my only option...I sure did miss my own :D) and cooked them for another hour right over the coals, which weren't very hot by that time of the night. They came out carmelized and crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside. Everybody was impressed.

 

Thank y'all SO much. :wacko:

Don't mean to hijack the thread - I assume military? I know dumb question... Just wanted to say thank yoy for your service - you have my utmost respect!!

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Glad eveything turned out well Swiss. Now you need to blog about this. I'll let you do a guest blog on my site if your interested. Just let me know.

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Fellas, the ribs turned out great, and I couldn't have done it without you. :D

 

It ended up being about 45 people, so I cooked 12 racks of ribs, 24 burgers, and 30 brats. I was at the freaking grill from 3:15 till 7:30. Still, it was a big success.

 

I basically took all the tips you guys gave me here and ended up using a 1-1-1 method for cooking the ribs. I dry-rubbed them with salt, garlic powder and pepper, then threw them on indirect for an hour. Then I foiled each rack bone up, squirted some apple juice (out of a juice box from the chow hall :D) and added some Worcestershire sauce. I sealed the foil and cooked them for another hour, adding some water and more apple juice twice during the foil stage. Then, I took them out and lightly coated the meat side with BBQ sauce (Hunt's was my only option...I sure did miss my own :D) and cooked them for another hour right over the coals, which weren't very hot by that time of the night. They came out carmelized and crispy on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside. Everybody was impressed.

 

Thank y'all SO much. :wacko:

 

:DNicely done.

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