Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ribs Smoked On a Gas Grill

Sustainable Pork Tour 2012 (Part 1)
I spent the past two days in the farmlands of Versailles (Ver-sales, not Ver-sigh), Ohio courtesy of the National Pork Board and have learned volumes about sustainable pork farming at Wuebker Farms.  I even held a piglet that was just minutes old.


I had a lot of preconceived notions changed and have a lot of topics to discuss so I need to break this into 3 posts.

My intial post is a recipe inspired by my visit in 3 ways.

First, I chose to do "baby back ribs*" since Wuebker Farms is basically an Ob/Maternity Ward for pigs.  Second, I decided to smoke ribs on my gas grill because Jeff and Alan cooked our lunch yesterday on this cooker that they bought for $250!
What a bargain!!! 

It's a gasser with an internal 6 rack rotisserie that they found for a steal when looking for a feed truck for the farm.  The third inspiration is that I based this recipe on a local BBQ sauce that Dena Wuebker recommended, D.B. Yummers.

She wanted to give me two bottles but TSA regulations won't allow you to carry liquids more than 3 ounces so they couldn't fly with me.  The sauce has a thick texture and you can see some of the bigger spices like red pepper flake in there.  It has a bold sweetness and a good kick of balanced heat.  I liked it enough that I ordered a 4 pack from them today.

Not a bad smoke ring for a gas grill.

Wuebker Ribs


For the rub
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1.5 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp smoked kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes*
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
For the mop
  • 1/2 cup D.B. Yummer's Mildly Spicy Barbecue Sauce
  • 1/4 cup cola
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Preheat gas grill to 250-275f and place your smoke packet directly above the burner.  For my Smoke Hollow grill, I turned only the left burner on and at the lowest setting.  That kept it around 260-270f. 
  2. Remove the membrane from the back of the rib (like I show in this post or the video is this really old post.).  Mix the rub ingredients together*.  Moisten the rib on both sides with a little cola (about 1-2 Tbsp) and then season it heavily with the dry rub.
  3. When the smoke pack starts smoking, place the rib on the grill bone side down and away from the burner and close the lid.
  4. Mix the mop ingredients together and lightly mop or spoon some over the rib about every 30-45 minutes.   This will layer flavors and keep a moist cooking environment.  
  5. Cook for 3 hours, then wrap in a double sheet of aluminum foil and return it to the grill.  Cook for 45 minutes.
  6. Remove from the foil and put back on the grill.  Cook until the rib bends easily when you hold one end with tongs, about another 45 minutes (4 1/2 hrs to 5 hours total time).  When they are almost done, brush on some of the straight barbecue sauce (not the mop).  
  7. Let rest for 10 minutes, slice and serve.
  • Ribs - These were packaged as "baby back ribs" but are actually loin back ribs.  The only difference is size, true baby backs are 1 1/2 or 2 pounds.  Back ribs can be heavier like these (2.9 lbs).  
  • Smoke Packet - For ideas on how to make a smoke packet, check out Patio Daddio's excellent tutorial.  I used a foil mini loaf pan with two Mojo-Qubes and got some of the best smoke I have ever had on a gas grill, it blew chips away as far as the quantity and consistency of smoke production.  
  • Red pepper flakes -  this is spicy as written.  Drop the quantity to 1/4 tsp for medium heat.
  • I ran my rub through a spice grinder for just a few seconds to get an even texture but you can use it just mixed together by hand.
  • If you want "fall off the bone" ribs (which are overcooked), leave them in the foil for an hour.
Close enough!

Wuebker Wub

I covered the Qubes with foil and poked about 8 holes in top.

I have three wood fired smokers but I chose to use the gas grill side of my Smoke Hollow grill just for fun. 

The rib is away from the burner while the smoke packet is directly on the burner (see under the grate to the right).

I don't have to mop when I use my Big Green Eggs but the gasser seems to be a drier environment.
I also mopped the bacon wrapped corn, figured it couldn't hurt.

Mmmmmmm ribs.

Served with bacon wrapped corn and Smokehouse Tradition Grillin' Beans.

Alexis couldn't get over the smoke flavor and said she wouldn't have known they were done on a gas grill if she hadn't seen it with her own two eyes.

I'll have two more posts up this week with a ton of pictures and information from my visit with the National Pork Board, Ohio Pork Producers Council, and Wuebker Farms.