How to Make Homemade Ribs - Recipe
How to Make Homemade Ribs
Learn how to make Homemade Ribs with Walton's and Meatgistics. Watch the video, read the guide, and then post your questions or comments below.
What are Ribs?
Ribs generally refer to Pork or Beef ribs that are BBQ’d by smoking or slow cooking. Saint Louis Style and Baby Back Ribs are the most common “cuts” used, Saint Louis is a spare ribs are generally meatier while Baby Back Ribs tend to be smaller but a more tender. They can be dry rubbed, marinated or can be covered in BBQ sauce.
2 racks of spare ribs, around 3.5 lb each
We are going to be making two racks of Saint Louis style spare ribs. Since we can’t do anything without experimenting a little bit we are going to try something here to see if we can’t solve an issue a lot of people have with ribs which is that they dry out. So we are going to marinate one overnight in regular Pa’s Black Bull Marinade which contain s sodium phosphate and see if we can’t get the ribs to retain more moisture. With a thin cut of meat like this it may or may not make a difference but this was my best excuse to use to get to cook some ribs! The other one I am going to use a dry rub on. We will then weigh them before and after they go in the smoker if the one that had sodium phosphate really does retain more moisture it should lose less weight through the smoking process.
While Ribs are technically done at 145° you should cook them to 190-200 to really let the fat and collagen render, this will create the fall off the bone tenderness that you are looking for.
You will want to preheat your grill or smoker to 225 degrees and we want to slow cook these as much as possible. Since we have marinated this we aren’t going to rub any additional seasoning on the outside, they shouldn’t need it. If you absolutely need some sort of sauce on them have your favorite BBQ sauce ready to dip them in after they have cooked but again they shouldn’t need it, the smoke and the pork are the real flavors here.
Now you want to put them on the smoker with the fat side up, so the fat can render down through the meat, for about 2 1/2 hours. When they are almost done with the initial stage roll out some tin foil and put some butter and brown sugar on the foil and then lay the ribs down so the meat side is touching the brown sugar and butter. Then put it back on the grill for another two hours with the meat side up so the butter melts over the entire thing. You will want to leave them on there for another 2 hours. Once that time is up take them out and put them back on the grill with no foil to allow them to crisp up.
We used a marinade that contained cold phosphate to try to get the ribs to retain as much juice as possible. If your marinade does not include cold phosphate I definitely recommend adding some, it made a large difference in how juicy the ribs were.
Thermal Processing & Smoking
Stage 1 - 225° for 2.5 hours
Stage 2 - Wrap in foil and cook for another 2 hours at 225°
Stage 3 - Finish up on a grill if ribs seem to need it to firm up
Ribs might seem intimidating for some but they really are pretty simple to make. They do take a while since we have to get them up to 190-200° F so just make sure you have about 5-6 hours set aside. Both of the ribs were delicious, the one I marinaded was much juicier than the dry rub but both were definitely worth doing.
- If your ribs have the flap meat still attached to the underside you can remove it or leave it on.
- Make sure you remove the membrane from the bone side if it is still attached. You can pry them loose from the bone with something like a butter knife and then you should be able to rip the entire thing off fairly easily. These have already had the membrane removed and were squared up nicely.
The ribs that we marinated with Pa’s Black bull weighed 3.6 lb before and 2.8 lb after, the ones that we did the dry rub on weighed 3.4 lb before and 2.4 lb after. This indicates that the phosphate did have an effect and we lost less product during the smoking process.
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The smallest fresh raw ham I could get was 25 pounds. I have five pounds of Country Brown Sugar brine mix. I am thinking that for this big of a ham I should just go ahead & use the whole five pound container of Walton Country Brown Sugar mix with two gallons of water & a little muscadine wine to get a 20% pump. Inject the ham along the bones & vein. Add the remaining brine to the ham in my turkey frying pot & brine for five days before smoking for about 14 hours. I am trying something different with the turkey & the ham this time using wine barrel staves for the wood rather than my typical Pecan, Hickory, Oak, etc. Does the brine mix sound right for the 20% pump & brine, or do you think I should still calculate it all down to 2.5 pounds of mix still? Any thoughts, tips, suggestions, or ideas are always appreciated.
Thank you, I really appreciate it. That is what I pretty well figured I would do & just put everything in one of those Aluminum BBQ pans I keep then into the coolers lined with Blue Ice at the bottom. The transport is only 4-5 hours, so I think it should be OK, so long as I cool it all down over night first. The ham I ended up with is 25 pounds so I will do one pan for the turkey, another for the ham (that may end up shredded), & others for smoked oyster stuffing, cream corn, sweet potatoes, smoked mashed potatoes, etc. Thank you for all your help, I really appreciate it.
I wish we could help out more on this one, but this is using someone else’s recipe and process in a way I don’t feel comfortable with (since they recommend not using a cure or nitrite/nitrate). There really isn’t an answer I’d feel safe giving you since this is not something we’ve done and tested like this before.
My suggestion on hams is always to follow our standard recipe here:
My best alternative suggestion is to look for more information from a state University Meat Extension Department. They have usually done the proper research and development to provide better guidance. The University of Missouri has an article here that might be of help: https://extension2.missouri.edu/g2526
For the future, I’ll see if we can develop a recipe and process here to provide better guidance towards processing hams in this manner.
New to the forum and excited to learn! Looking to smoke my first batch of summers on my smoker. I noticed they have strings for hanging, but my smoker is set up more like a traditional barrel grill.
Questions: If I lay my summers on the grate of the smoker, will the casings burst/burn?
Thanks in advance!
The article does not cover when to cold smoke a cured ham. I have 16 wild hog hams in brine as of last night. I need to know at what point do I put them in the smoke house for this phase of the process.