The perfect barbecue rib is one of the most sought-after delicacies by connoisseurs as well as backyard chefs. Contestants in barbecue cook-offs around the country prepare secret recipes in hopes of taking home the grand prize for the best ribs, so there may be as many recipes in these competitions as there are contestants. However, the secret of great ribs is not only in the ingredients, but it is also in the method of preparation. In his book, “Barbecue! The Bible,” Steven Raichlen emphasizes the importance of slow cooking, noting that Kansas City’s KC Masterpiece Restaurant slow cooks its baby back ribs for 12 hours.
Make a dry rub by shaking together brown sugar, paprika and garlic powder in a resealable plastic freezer bag.
Lay ribs on a cutting board with the inner side facing up. Use a butter knife to begin separating the membrane from the ribs. Once the membrane starts to separate from the bone, use your hands to pull it off. Trim any excess fat with a sharp knife.
Slather both sides of the rack of ribs with yellow mustard. Don’t be afraid of the mustard taste; it will not be present when the ribs are cooked. The purpose of the mustard is to tenderize the meat.
Rub the dry rub mixture over the entire rack of ribs and seal in plastic wrap for at least 12 hours in the refrigerator. The longer the ribs marinate in the mustard and dry rub, the more tender the meat will be.
Place the ribs in a glass or stainless steel baking pan, and bake it in a 275 degree F oven for three hours. At the end of the third hour, you can brush on your favorite barbecue sauce and bake for another hour. If you wish to have smoked ribs instead of oven-baked, place the ribs in a smoker and smoke for at least six hours. Finish the ribs by grilling them over charcoal after coating them with sauce.
- Cooking the ribs at too high a temperature will result in meat that is dry and tough.