Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
- About 3 cups hickory, oak, or other hardwood chips (optional but very nice)
- 1/2 Tablespoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon paprika
- About 4 pounds spareribs
Place the ribs away from the heat source (over the unlit burner of a gas grill) and cover the grill. You want a very cool fire, under 300 degrees F if possible (you should be able to hold your hand right over the area where the ribs are cooking with just a little discomfort). If you are using solid fuel, add a few lumps of charcoal or a few briquettes an hour, just enough to keep the fire going. Turn the ribs every half hour or so, adding more wood chips as needed.
Depending on the heat of your fire, after 2 to 6 hours the ribs will have lost much of their fat and developed an unquestionably cooked look. Just before you are ready to eat, raise the heat to high (or add a bunch more briquettes and wait awhile) and brown the ribs on both sides. Be very careful; they still should have enough fat on them to flare up and burn, ruining all your hard work in an instant. Watch them constantly and move them frequently. Browning will take about 10 minutes.
Serve immediately, with or without barbecue sauce.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Faster, easier, and still real good: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Rub the ribs all over as above, and place in a roasting pan in one layer. Bake, pouring off accumulated fat every 30 minutes or so, for about 2 hours, or until the ribs are cooked (if you are in a hurry, cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil). When you are ready to eat, roast the ribs at 500 degrees F. for about 10 minutes, or run them under the broiler, watching carefully, until nicely browned.
Sweet Grilled Ribs:
Use either oven or grill and omit the initial rub, simply sprinkling the ribs with salt and pepper. During the last half hour of slow cooking, begin basting the ribs with a mixture of 1 cup apricot or peach preserves or orange marmalade whisked with 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 Tablespoon vinegar, and 1 Tablespoon ketchup or Worcestershire sauce. Brown as in Step 3 above, basting once or twice more and being extra careful to prevent burning.
Chinese Grilled Ribs:
Use either oven or grill and omit the initial rub, simply sprinkling the ribs with salt and pepper. During the last half hour of slow-cooking, begin basting the ribs with a mixture of 3/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, 2 Tablespoons sherry or white wine, and 1 Tablespoon soy sauce. Brown as in Step 3, above, basting once or twice more and being extra careful to prevent burning.
Recipe Source: How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (Macmillan)
Reprinted with permission.