BBQ Pork Spare Ribs on 18″ Weber Charcoal Grill

I love BBQ ribs, but no one really makes it exactly the way I’d like it — spicy, but sweet. So I figured, why not use the beautiful grill that I bought earlier this summer. Last night, I did exactly that.

Equipment List:
1. Weber 18″ Charcoal Grill. Save your money and don’t settle for imitations. Weber is the only way to go if you use charcoal, and you’ll regret any other purchase.
2. Grill + Meat Thermometers — I now know the importance of having a remote thermometer. Not only will you keep the grill at the proper temperature longer, but you won’t get smoke in your eyes trying to read the thermometer. Next thing on my shopping list: Maverick ET-732
3. Bag of Charcoal — I use competition Kingsford (blue bag from Costco) or original Kingsford (white bag) if I’m in a pinch
4. Kingsford Chimney, if you don’t already have a , get one! You’ll thank yourself.
4. Bag of Smoke Wood Chips — I used Apple chips, you can use Mesquite or whatever.

Ingredient List:
1. RIBS! I use spare ribs. Most restaurants use spare ribs. It’s just a little hassle because you have to trim. You can use back ribs (baby backs are when back ribs weigh less than 1-3/4 lbs). (Currently 9/2011 $2.49/lbs spare and $3.99/lbs back at Costco)
2. Rub. I make my own and I think this is the most common recipe + Cayenne:
a.  3 Tbls Brown Sugar
b. 1.5 Tbls Pepper
c. 1.5 Tbls Salt
d. 1.5 Tbls Paprika
e.  1 Tbls Cayenne
f. 3 tspns Garlic Powder
3. BBQ Sauce. I just bought whatever was on sale at the market.

Food prep:
1. Trim your spare ribs (guide)
a.  Trim the skirt (thin piece of meat along the edge of the membrane)
b.  Peel the membrane (thin clear piece that runs along the ribs). Get it started with a butter knife. Then use your hands. My buddy uses a set of pliers but i feel it may be less sanitary, especially since I don’t remember where those pliers have been.
c. Trim your ribs. Ideally, you want it to be a square slab… may require cutting through a couple ribs.
2. Apply rub. Be generous.

The Show:
1. Use your Weber Chimney and light the charcoal.
a. Load the Chimney about 1/2 full with charcoal (if I have some unfinished charcoal left over, I’ll add some it too)

b. Crumble 1 or 2 sheets of newspaper into a loose ball and light it

c. Put the chimney over the fire and watch the charcoal light up (should take about 10-15 minutes for all the charcoal to be red)
(at 5 min)

(at 10 min)

(at 15 min)

(look at the beautiful glow)

2. Dump the charcoal onto 1 side of the grill, since we want to set up the grill for indirect cooking

3. Place an aluminum tray on the other side of the grill and fill it with water (some people use Apple juice, I think it’s a waste)

4. Put the grill back on and put another aluminum tray on the grill above the charcoal

5. Put your thermometer on the grill and wait for it to reach your grilling temperature of 200°F – 300°F. I stay within 200°F – 250°F, just remember, lower the temperature, longer the cooking.
6. Put a couple handfuls of woodchip
7. Put the ribs on the grill rib-side down over the water side.

8. Close the lid, with the vent on the ribs side so the smoke travels across the ribs.
9. Make sure all the vents are open.
10. Watch the grill temp — I add about 4 charcoal briquets every 30 minutes. As long as you’re watching regularly, you won’t have to relight them… just drop them in and the ones inside will light the ones you added.
11. At the 3 hour mark, I stop adding wood, just maintain the temperature
12. At the 3.5 hour mark, I take out the ribs and wrap it in aluminum foil
13. At the 4-4.5 hour mark, I’ll add more briquets to bring up the heat
14. At the 4.5-5 hour mark, I take out the ribs from aluminum foil add more  and apply bbq sauce. I’ll start off on the indirect side, flipping and adding BBQ sauce (2 layers on both sides). Then slowly push it over the fire for the charred taste. (Be careful it’s not too long else you’ll burn or over cook them)

Grand Finale:
After about 5-6 hours, you’re done! Enjoy!!!

I finished my first attempt on my new 18″ Weber grill at 1:30am and it came out quite well. I guess the key is to keep the heat lower than higher. If you mess up… you can keep it on a grill a little longer, else you’ll have to suffer the consequences of burnt meat.

Edit:  09/21/2011 – Added pictures of Kingsford Chimney

3 Responses to “BBQ Pork Spare Ribs on 18″ Weber Charcoal Grill”
  1. Leta says:

    I will need to try this before the summer ends!

  2. Dave says:

    Do you soke your chips? I could go back and check but I’m that lazy.
    One trick I use (because I’m that lazy and 1:30 AM does not exist), after the smoke is done, remove the ribs from the grill, wrap them in plastic wrap, then wrap them in foil. Put in the fridg until about 2.5 hours before you want to eat them. Heat the oven to about 200 – 225. put the ribs in a baking plan and into the oven. Go to the store and buy some PBR. Drink beer. Depending on how done you like your ribs 1.5 – 2.5 hours in the oven. Un-wrap the ribs, (drink beer) sauce em and return to the oven (drink beer) for 15 minutes (drink beer). Go to the store to get more PBR. Call your G/F to bail you out for the DWI. Eat the ribs (drink beer)

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