Look what I did:
My first ribs in 7 years, and they were outstandingly, mouth-wateringly spectacular. I remember enough of my last rib sampling to know that these ribs were worth the high premium ($2.50 a rib bone!) for more than just the relatively happy pasture-based life that my extra dollars afforded this animal - they were also complex in flavor with well distributed fat. There wasn't a speck of gristle on this rack.
The slow roast in the oven idea comes straight from Greg's dad (thanks, Jim). The ribs are liberally seasoned, placed over a rack of simmering water in the oven and slowly steamed over the course of the afternoon. The salt acts as a brine (keeping moisture in). The longer the ribs steam, the more tender and fall-off-the-bone the meat becomes. In the last 20 minutes of cooking, the ribs are placed on a low fire grill and basted several times with barbeque sauce. This last step on the grill built up a mouth watering crust of savory, sweet, tangy barbeque sauce. These ribs were, in a word: awesome. There are some human activities, like pulling melt-in-your-mouth roasted meat off the bone, that are just so primal, and...I want more.
Awesome Pork Ribs
I chose a very simple dry rub and used store bought barbeque sauce (I used "Bone Sucking Sauce" brand - I couldn't not try it, with that title - watch out, the link has music). You could put anything in the rub you like, so long as there is a good amount of salt in the first step. I'm not sure if a one hour brine actually tenderizes, but I found warnings, online, that brining overnight "might" make the meat too salty - so, extend the brining time at your own risk.
Combine the ingredients for the dry rub:
1 tbsp sea salt or kosher salt
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
4-5 lb humanely raised pork ribs, ~2 servings (trimmed of fat if necessary - mine did not require this step)
in cool water and drain for a moment. Place the ribs in a deep baking dish and rub with seasonings. Cover and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to several hours. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Remove the ribs from the fridge and place them on a grate or cooling rack. Cover the bottom of the roasting pan in silver foil and place the grate or rack with the ribs on top. Form a tent out of aluminum foil and place in the oven. Pour in:
3 cups water
After the first hour, remove the ribs with tongs onto a plate or cutting board. Smear both sides liberally with
3-5 tbsp mustard
Continue cooking, turning the ribs every hour, for 3-4 hours. You can cook the ribs for up to 6-7 hours, so long as the heat is low and you keep an eye on them. Make sure the internal temperature has reached at least 160 degrees (but don't stop there! the ribs get tender from prolonged cooking). Get the grill preheated to medium-low heat and place
1 cup good barbeque sauce
in a small dish. Transfer the ribs to the grill and baste each side. Grill on low or medium heat, basting every 5 minutes, for about 20 minutes, or until a good thick barbeque crust has formed. If necessary, turn the flame up to high for a moment to char the meat - but make sure to keep an eye on it so that it won't burn. Serve and enjoy!