When NOW came up with the concept for this week's cover story on DIY barbecue, Tom Davis of Stockyard's (699 St Clair W, at Christie, 416-658-9666, thestockyards.ca) was at the top of our recipe wish-list. The recipe he gave us for his truly astounding southern US-style slow-cooked and smoked pork ribs proved so lengthy and beyond the skills of someone illegally barbecuing with a hibachi on a fire escape, we didn't run it. Besides, wasn't Davis afraid the competition would now know how to copy him.
"It's information that's out there on the internet anyway," laughs the self-taught barbecue king. "Besides, I left a couple of key things out."
Here's Davis' recipe in his own words!
2 racks of spare or baby-back pork ribs or 8 beef short-ribs cut lengthwise into 2" to 3" pieces
(The spice ratio of Davis' signature rub - which keeps for months in air-tight container - is so specific, it's measured by weight.)
500 g brown sugar
300 g chilli powder
7 g cayenne
7 g sweet paprika
65 g fine sea salt (not table salt!!!)
8 g garlic powder
3 g onion powder
3 g cumin
20 black peppercorns
1 g dry oregano
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup dry rub
hickory or apple wood chips soaked in water for an hour
tin foil, cast iron pan or small coffee tin to place the wood chips in to smoulder.
foil pan (1/2 size or full size depending on the size of your grill)
flathead screw driver to remove membrane on back side of ribs (If not removed, the rub will not adhere to the underside of the ribs)
Make the rub and basting sauce.
Remove the membrane from the ribs: Hold larger end of rack and insert screw driver under the membrane at the second bone and cut (YouTube video for reference).
With paper towel in hand for extra grip, rip off the membrane. Rub ribs with dry rub (this can be done a day ahead).
Prep the grill. We want a hot side and a cold side to achieve indirect heat (225F) for the 4 to 5 hour smoking process (ie hot side on the lowest setting, cold side off). Remove all grill grates.
On the unlit cold side, place foil pan filled with apple juice on the burners below the grates. Replace grates and put rubbed ribs on grill over the pan. Light hot side on low with grates off, close lid and walk away. Check temperature after 15 minutes, 30 then 45, and make any adjustment to the heat so that it comes as close to the magic 225-250F as possible.
After 45 minutes, we want to add smoke, not earlier as the ribs' surface needs to be dry, as smoke will not penetrate properly if the meat is wet and could attain an acrid aftertaste. Take a handful of wood chips and place in can, cast iron pan, or foil pouch (perforate with fork to let smoke escape) and place directly on the hot side burner. Leave grates off. Close lid and go have a beer or two for at least the next half hour.
Check wood chips and add more if required. After 90 minutes, you can start basting. Do not turn ribs over ever! Baste every half hour and add chips when needed for the next 2-1/2 hours.
At 4 hours, ribs should be done to competition standards with a little bit of give at the bone!
At 5 hrs, they fall from the bone.
Serve with barbecue sauce on the side.[rssbreak]