I was worried this would be one rotisserie recipe too many. As I mentioned in my rotisserie baby back ribs post, I'm a big fan of barbecued spareribs, cooked low and slow. There are already a lot of good takes on how to do barbecued spareribs on the internet (especially at The Virtual Weber Bullet), and I wanted to add my own twist to it.
The St. Louis Cut of spareribs is what you want to use with a rotisserie. What does the St. Louis Cut mean? The big slab of spare ribs is trimmed of the skirt meat and rib tips before cooking. You want this cut for the rotisserie because the rib tips are the part that takes the longest to cook to tenderness. Either buy them pre-cut this way, or see Chris at the Virtual Weber Bullet for his Spare Rib Prep explanation, complete with pictures and video.
*I'll wait for you to come back. I've done the St. Louis Cut myself many times; once you see where the "line" of the rib tips are, it's easy to do.
Finally, I did the ribs in the Memphis Dry Ribs style, with just barbecue rub on them; no sauce. The crisp ribs you get from the rotisserie are perfect this way.
*You can serve sauce on the side, if you feel that you have to. Just promise me you'll take a taste of the ribs before covering them in barbecue sauce. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Recipe: Rotisserie St. Louis cut spareribs, dry rubbed
- Grill with Rotisserie attachment (I used a Weber kettle with the Rotisserie attachment; kettle is here and rotisserie attachment is here)
- Aluminum foil drip pan (9"x11", or whatever fits your grill)
- 2 slabs "St. Louis Cut" spareribs, membrane removed (see the video link above for prep information)
- 3 tsp kosher salt
- 3 tsp barbecue rub (recipe here)
- 2 fist sized chunks of smoking wood (preferably hickory)
- 2 tsp barbecue rub (optional, for an extra layer of rub right before serving)
1. Prep the ribs: Evenly sprinkle a teaspoon and a half of salt and rub on each slab of ribs. If you are cooking immediately, let the ribs rest at room temperature for at least one hour before cooking. Preferrably, wrap them in plastic wrap and let sit overnight in the refrigerator; take them out of the refrigerator one hour before cooking.
*If you use a store bought rub, check the ingredients. If salt is the first or second ingredient, don't add extra salt - just use the rub on the ribs.
*I use a gladware container; I put the wood in it, fill it with water, and seal the lid to keep the wood chunks submerged.
*Another test for doneness is to see if you can pull a bone loose. Pull on a bone in the middle of the slab. You should be able to pull it free of the meat with a little effort.
For a charcoal grill: after an hour, add 16 charcoal briquettes (8 to each pile of charcoal) to pick the heat back up. You can skip this if your ribs look like they're almost done.
6. Serve: Remove the ribs from the spit, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of rub on the meaty side of the ribs, and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Cut the ribs into serving size pieces by cutting between every second bone (that is, where you put your pilot holes), and serve.
*Barbecue sauce: If you really want wet ribs, wait until the ribs are cooked, then brush them with sauce. Put the lid back on and cook an extra 5 minutes, then brush the ribs with another layer of sauce, remove from the grill, and serve.
*Now, about those store-bought St. Louis Cut Ribs...I got two cryovac wrapped slabs from Farmland, and one of them wasn't really a St. Louis Cut. They (somehow) cut across the bones, and left the rib tips on the bottom of the ribs. It was the right shape, just cut at a weird angle. This slab came out a bit too chewy in the rib tip section. Next time I'm going to check the slab carefully to make sure that I can see the rib bones all the way across both sides of the package. Or I'm just going to cut my own ribs.
*I thought the Memphis Dry Rib approach would work well with the rotisserie cooking method. Boy howdy, was I right about that! These were REALLY good ribs. Will I give up my low and slow spareribs? Probably not. But these took less than half the time to cook, and were just as good.
Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
The Virtual Weber Bullet, if you want your ribs low and slow.
Stephen Raichlen - Ribs, Ribs, Ribs
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