Rotisserie, Sunday dinner
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Rotisserie Spareribs, Dry Rubbed


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.

*Of course, the other deciding factor was the sale on “St. Louis Cut” spareribs at my local grocery store. More on that in the notes section…
 
My fear was that spareribs need the low and slow treatment, to tenderize them, and they wouldn’t work on the rotisserie. Would they come out burned on the outside, and tough on the inside? Or would I succeed in my crispy, tender pork rib quest?
*Don’t touch that dial! Stay tuned to find out! Never mind that you wouldn’t be reading this if it didn’t work!

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

Equipment:

  • 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)

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:
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.



Ribs rubbbed, rested, and ready to go


2. Prep the smoking wood: Submerge the smoking wood in water for 1 hour before cooking.
*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.

3. Prepare the grill: Prepare your rotisserie for cooking on medium-low heat, about 300°F. (see details here). For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney that’s half full of charcoal, wait for it to be covered with ash, then pour it in two equal piles on the sides of the grill, and put the drip pan in the middle, between the piles. Then I put the wood chunk on top of the charcoal.

Chimney half full, covered with ash.
(Note that the charcoal baskets are where I’m going to put the coals)
 
4. Skewer the ribs: Using a sharp, thin bladed knife, like a paring knife, make a pilot hole between every two ribs. Then weave the ribs onto the skewer through the holes you just made.




Making the pilot holes




Weaving the ribs onto the spit




Ribs on the spit, ready to go
5. Cook the ribs: Put the skewer of ribs on the rotisserie, and start it spinning. Cook with the lid closed for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, depending on the heat of your grill (mine took about 2 hours). You’re done when the ribs are nicely browned, and the meat has pulled back from the bones on the end of the slab by about 1/2″.
*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.

Variations:
*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.

Notes:
*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.

*Two slabs of ribs was a tight fit on my kettle grill’s spit, as you can see from the pictures. I had to squeeze them a bit to get them to fit on the skewer. If I cooked this on my Weber Summit, I wouldn’t have had a space problem, but the taste from the smoking wood on the charcoal kettle made up for the little bit of extra work.

*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.

Related Posts:



Inspired by:
The Virtual Weber Bullet, if you want your ribs low and slow.
Stephen Raichlen – Ribs, Ribs, Ribs


Check out my cookbook, Rotisserie Grilling.

Everything you could ask about the rotisserie,
plus 50 (mostly) new recipes to get you cooking.

It’s a Kindle e-book, so you can download it and start reading immediately!


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Filed under: Rotisserie, Sunday dinner

by

Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    We just tried spareribs on the rotisserie last night. (We never would have had it not been for this site!) We tried this in the spirit of exploration not knowing what to expect. We were looking for a spare-ribs-on-the-gas-grill recipe and everything was “4-5 hours”, not an option.

    Holy ribness. I woke up thinking about these, they were so good. NOT greasy, tender but with a little chew, crispy, porky goodness.

    We actually marinated ours for a few hours in cola, apple cider vinegar, some herbs de provence and a TON of garlic. Then made them w/ the memphis-style rub and sticky end-coat of spicy bbq sauce. Rib nirvana. On a rotisserie. In 1.5 hours.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  2. Michael Singerman says

    Hey Mike I’ve made this recipe several times and boy oh boy is it great. Crispy and flavorful on the outside, and nice and juicy on the inside. I’m actually make them again later today for a Kentucky Derby party, but I wet brined them overnight just to see how it turns out. Can’t wait! Hope you’re not too jealous…

    Thanks again and keep up the great work!

  3. Janet says

    Can you rotisserie these ribs on a gas grill? If so, what temp should I set it to? Thanks, looking forward to trying them.

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