Whenever I see beef rib racks at the local market during the summer I’m tempted to buy, buy, buy. However, I have to limit myself to making these once a month during the summer, not once a week. These meaty ribs get two hours of heavy smoke on the grill followed by three hours in a slow oven. I usually combine the smoking portion of this recipe with some gardening so I can easily monitor the smoke level of the grill and baste the ribs frequently with sop sauce to keep them moist. It’s a little tedious, but well worth the trouble. I have a hickory tree in my yard, so I gather up fallen branches and save them for the smoking process. You should use bagged hardwood chips, they are available almost everywhere.
This recipe takes a little time and attention but it’s not difficult and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to make real Texas barbecue at home. After you smoke them, you can forget about them in the oven for three hours. Serve them up with grilled corn, beans, slaw, and slices of white bread. My Southwestern Potato Salad recipe also makes a great side dish.
For the ribs:
- 1 bag hardwood chips
- Four ½ beef rib racks or 2 whole racks
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup sop sauce (recipe to follow)
- 1 ½ cups barbecue sauce, preferably Stubs
For the sop sauce:
- 6 ounces beer
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
For the ribs:
Soak the hardwood chips in a bucket of water for a couple of hours. You will be cooking with indirect heat. Remove the grate over one side of your grill. Before lighting, make a drip pan using aluminum foil and place it under the side with a grate. If you are using a gas grill, light the side of the grill without the grate. If you are using a Weber, make 2 small piles of coals on opposite sides of the kettle, making sure the coals line up under the hinged parts of the grill rack. Make a large drip pan with aluminum foil and place it between the piles of coals to catch the fat from the ribs as they cook. Then light the coal piles.
Rinse the rib racks and pat them dry with paper towels. Remove the membrane on the back of the rib racks. Flip them so the bone side is up. With a boning knife separate the translucent membrane from the meat on one corner of the rib rack. Grab hold of the membrane with a dry paper towel and continue to pull until the entire membrane is removed. Coat each of the rib racks with the paprika, garlic salt, chili powder, ground cumin, black pepper, and sugar. Set them aside and make the sop sauce.
For the sop sauce:
Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
When the coals are ready, take the ribs and sop sauce to the grill. Add a couple handfuls of wood chips directly to the hot coals and place the rib racks on the grill directly over the drip pans on the cool parts of the grill where they will cook with indirect heat. Cover tightly and smoke for 2 hours, replenishing the wood chips as needed every few minutes to keep up a heavy smoke. Slather on the sop sauce frequently throughout to keep the racks moist.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. After 2 hours of smoke, remove the rib racks from the grill and put them on sheet pans. Bring them into the kitchen and cover them tightly with aluminum foil. Cook in the oven for 3 hours, then remove from the oven and turn it off. Uncover the rib racks and pour off the grease. Slather the ribs with barbecue sauce and return them to the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove the racks and cut them into individual ribs. Plate them with corn, beans, slaw and white bread and lots of paper towels.