After a week of letting my Cajun Brothers cook for me, I wasn't sure if I still remembered how... So, for my first cook after my vacation, I trod on familiar territory.
I have already blogged about cooking spareribs. You can click HERE for that post. If you need to check the basics, go ahead and take a look at that post for the nuts and bolts of smoking spareribs. For those, I used a spicy dry rub. For these, I wanted to use a combination of Chinese 5 Spice rub and a wet rub of jelly...
Here's what I did...
I had just put my wife's delicate taste buds through the ringer with a week of Cajun food. She had to carefully read each menu to make sure that she got just the right combination of spice without the painful heat she does not care for. As my last tribute to JACKIEtober, I agreed to sweeten these up a bit.
So, after doing a bit of trimming of the fat, removing that membrane from the bottom of the ribs, I added just a light coating of the Chinese 5-spice rub I got from Steven Raichen's Book, HOW TO GRILL. He taught me how to make my own, but a store bought batch can do in a pinch. I selected this rub because it has no salt added. I generally avoid salt, and never add salt at the table. I did notice that after a week of eating out, my salt level was feeling pretty high. I vigorously rubbed the rub into the meat (it's called rub, not sprinkle). Especially when applying a wet rub (jelly in this case, usually a mustard base), you want to get the seasonings into the meat so that when you do start adding the jelly it does not lift the rub off.
I added some jalapeno peach jelly to each side of the ribs. While there is some jalapeno kick, the peach sweet balances the taste nicely (hey, you didn;t really think I was going to make candy ribs did you). The jelly does not need to be rubbed in as vigorously. Just get a nice thin even coating. About any brand of quality marmalade will do, never tried Welch's grape, that combination does not appeal to me, but I have heard of others using that. I really like the peach or raspberry flavoring.
Onto the smoker...
If you look closely, you can see that I used my double stack rack for these. This way, they laid flat. Spareribs take up a LOT of room in the smoker. It is possible to use a rib rack and stand them straight, but then you need to trim the rack to the rib bones and cook the "bonus" meat section separate.
Low and slow... 225 degrees for about 5 hours. I checked temps, and they needed about another hour or two. While the smoker was open, I applied a final layer of jelly on the ribs to act as a glaze. The original layer of jelly had already soaked onto the meat and/or dried out. I wanted to add a layer of moisture (and it will glaze up pretty)!
2 hours later (7 hours total)... cooked, moist and tender!
see... Glazed up pretty!
Spareribs, unlike babyback ribs provides not only the meat around the ribs, but also some "spare" meat that is perfect to trim off and use for other things...
Like this meal I made the next night... Just a little cut up onion, a little red and green pepper, a little garlic and some of the "spare" rib meat diced up and a quickie stir fry. I still have enough "spare" rib meat left to make grilled pizzas on Friday night.
Said it before, say it again... Spareribs need a press agent like babybacks must have. You get all the great taste that you associate with babybacks, plus that extra bit of meat can be used for leftovers. I paid $1.19 a pound for these (on sale). I never see babybacks for less than $2.99, and usually much more.
I am cheap, but I eat like a king... And oh yeah... Just as good as they look, the combination of the dry rub and the jelly really made these stand out!