Friday, April 6, 2012

Prairie Beef Ribs

It’s Easter and we’re barbecuing! In the Canadian prairies, barbecue means beef and beef ribs are a favorite. Some people claim beef ribs are tough and fatty when barbecued and they’re absolutely right – that is, if you don’t know how to cook them.

Beef short ribs are cut from the bottom end of the rib cage called the "plate" or from the chuck area and the meat is as tough as brisket. However, if your beef ribs are cooking up tough you’re simply not cooking them long enough. Beef ribs can only be tenderized through a long, slow cooking process and smoking is the perfect way to do them.

Many people pre-boil ribs for tenderness. My advice is DON’T! You’re just robbing yourself of a whole lot of flavor and it will require more barbecue sauce than you can imagine to make them even begin to taste decent.

Think of it this way, if ribs need plenty of sauce to taste good, then the cook needs more practice slow cooking or smoking ribs. I don’t serve sauce on my ribs and I definitely don’t baste the ribs with sauce while they’re cooking. There’s nothing wrong with barbecue sauce, but it should be used as a compliment to the meat, not as a replacement for lack of flavor.

You can certainly marinate ribs in the refrigerator overnight but for traditional Canadian beef ribs, just put on a good dry rub a few hours before cooking and that should be the extent of your flavouring. Rubs are easy to mix together and they keep in your cupboard for whenever you want them.

Rubs are mixtures of many dry ingredients from spices such as red and black pepper, cumin, ginger and dry mustard to onion flakes, allspice and garlic powder. Dried herbs such as basil, rosemary, parsley or thyme. If you want a bit of a sweet flavour, you can add brown sugar to the mix and for a spicy rib, throw in some cayenne and chili powder, ancho or chipotle peppers to give it a bit of heat.

Mix these ingredients together and store them in an airtight container until your ready to use them. Then just pat a good layer of rub over the ribs and massage it into the meat. Let them sit refrigerated for a few hours before smoking them.

For complete recipe and smoking instructions, click here

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