At Fahrenheit 250 BBQ we have a passion for ribs—slow smoked, fall off the bone they’re so tender, flavor packed, finger lickin’ good ribs. As most people who know BBQ will tell you, BBQ is hard work, and it never gets easier, but you can get better at your slow-smoked techniques. We sat down with our Pitmaster, Jacob Carriker, and got down to business on the tips and tricks that he uses in the restaurant and at home to get his ribs to taste mmm, mmm good.
Q: What’s the secret to capturing the most flavor when cooking ribs?
A: When it comes to BBQ, the flavor is created by applying multiple layers of flavor and complexity. First, add a dry rub to penetrate the meat and impart a strong base of seasoning. The dry rub we use at Fahrenheit 250 consists of granulated garlic, granulated onion, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, brown sugar, cumin, garlic powder and chili powder. During the cooking process, the brown sugar caramelizes within in the rub and creates a crust, forming a second layer of flavor and texture. If you are smoking your ribs, the third layer of flavor comes from the wood and smoke. To me, this is the most important layer of flavor – who doesn’t love that smoky taste? Finally, the fourth layer of flavor is created when the fat renders from the low and slow cooking technique.
Q: Do you use a mop to apply sauce while cooking?
A: It is not necessary, but on occasion, I will use a mop to apply sauce to ribs when cooking at home.
Q: What are the different ways/techniques you can use to cook ribs at home?
A: The best way to cook ribs is to use a real wood smoker. If you aren’t able to cook with a wood smoker, I would suggest using a pellet, chip or wood disk smoker. If you already have a charcoal grill at home, you can get a lot of good flavors. I recommend cooking the ribs with the charcoal offset from the meat in this case. Propane grills can be difficult to work with, but with a little know-how you can, you can create smoke with a wood chip box. The upside with propane or gas grills is that you can control the temperature precisely. My last choice is to cook ribs in the oven. Let’s face it, ribs are meant to be cooked outside!
Q: How do you know when ribs are done?
A: I recommend using a nice thermometer to test the temperature of the meat. My favorite is this one (link “this one” to a good thermometer). You can check the temperature of the meat at any time through an app on your phone. You can also never go wrong with the old school way – pick up the slab and see if the ribs bend. The meat should fall off of the bone with little effort.
Q: Is there a technique you use when it comes to cutting ribs?
A: Flip your rack of ribs length up with the small part of the bone in the air. Then drag your knife against the bone on the right side.
Q: When is the best time to apply sauce?
A: There are two, and ONLY two times. A few minutes before pulling your ribs you can apply sauce on top, or toss them in the sauce after cutting the ribs. At home, I will usually toss my ribs with sauce after cutting them. Our sauce is prepared in-house and has been cooked down, so all of the flavors stand out on their own. There is no reason to cook the sauce again because it will change the flavor.
Q: Are there any other secrets that you can think of?
A: Stop checking your ribs.
Stop letting out the heat.
Let them rest.
Invite friends and family over to enjoy them with you!
Think you’ve got what it takes to make fall off the bone ribs at home? We’re here to help you out.
Throughout the month of July, we are offering a complete Make-at-Home Rib Kit. Our kits come with one rack of St. Louis-style ribs (approximately 3 lbs.), one 6 oz. Tin of rub, one 16 oz. Bottle of your choice of BBQ sauce, and Pitmaster instructions on how to prepare your ribs at home.
Order online or give us a call and stop by Fahrenheit 250 BBQ. With your bbq instructions and the tips you learned here, we guarantee your friends and family will start calling you pitmaster, too.