Saturday, April 22, 2006


I like good ribs. Pork spareribs cooked slowly over an open fire. Milady likes ribs. Likes them a lot. The problem with cooking ribs is that when Milady gets "rib hungry", we tend to get on the motorcycle and find a rib joint. That makes good sense when there are only two of us. Ribs are easy to find in barbeque hungry Louisiana, and we get to explore restaurants and rib joints that we wouldn't find if I were cooking ribs at home.

This weekend, though, we were hosting a birthday party for my grandson, and I decided to cook ribs. I called my resident expert, who runs a rib joint in Natchitoches, LA, and asked him.

"Ribs are easy, Dad". My resident expert is also my youngest son. "Cook them for six hours. I like to give them a good dry rub, then cook them at 350 for four hours, then marinate them in a good sauce for a couple of hours, then put them back on the pit for two hours. Watch 'em close those last two hours, they'll start to fall apart."

So, I did what the boy told me. He didn't give explicit instructions, because he grew up cooking at my elbow and we think a lot alike. I dry-rubbed the ribs with Tony Chachere's and put them in the oven for four hours, then took them out and marinated them with a marinade of half cheap barbeque sauce and half beer. I added a shake or two of Tabasco sauce, some Worchestireshire, and a sprinkle of garlic powder. I made a hell of a mess in the Lady's oven, which I have to clean shortly.

Then, I put them on the pit, keeping them mopped with that same marinade mixture. One rack started falling apart after about an hour. The other two racks maintained their composure until I put on the sausage.

The ribs are stacked on the left, and the pit is covered in sausage. Moving the ribs was difficult as the meat had separated from the bones. I let the sausage brown on the grill then loaded everything into trays. Inside, Milady had cooked beans and a potato salad, with good garlic bread.

These are wet ribs. The marinade sauce is in the container to the left of the pit. I used a common, cheap-bought-at-Harbor-Freight brush to continue to marinate the meat while it cooked. Everytime I turned those ribs, they got a brushing with that sauce. These are wet ribs. It is a cooking philosophy that has stood the test of time.

Other places cook barbeque dry, without the marinate added during the cooking cycle. A pox on those places. This is barbeque like it was intended to be.

Time for me to clean the oven. Next time I'll do the whole thing on the pit. It's a lot easier to clean than that oven.


Anonymous said...


If youre worried about not having enough people to feed the next time your fixing ribs Ill be more than happy to fly out from Reno.


Nick said...

I tend to prefer St. Louis style, rubbed w/ a mixture of good creole seasoning (Tony's is too salty many times) and paprika. Don's Specialty Meats in Carencro makes their own meat seasoning which is that type of blend. I like my ribs dry, and I will add a little bit of sauce to them on my plate, kind of just spinkling the sauce.

I like to take regular Masterpiece or Kraft BBQ sauce, heat it up and mix in apple jelly for a sweet taste and pour a little Jack Daniels for a hint of burbon.

Pawpaw said...

Nick. That sauce recipe sounds great, except that Jack Daniels is not bourbon. Jack Daniels is sour mash whiskey. However, I will try a touch of whiskey in my next batch.

j said...

I by golly hate to order ribs in a barbeque joint and get served dry ribs with a bowl of sauce. Ain't 1 barbeque joint in 1,000 make good ribs. Chickens, either.

Biggun6969 said...

I happen to have the same pit you have there in the picture. Those cast-grates make it nice. I usually build a charcoal fire in the fire box on the side and a smaller one inside the pit, set at its lowest level. I have found that a fire in the fire box on the side by itself just doesn’t get hot enough. Back to the ribs. What I have found that works good is to start off with the seasoned ribs with some Worcestershire sauce wrapped in aluminum foil. But it takes a lot less time than you think to cook. I do not fully cook them in the foil; I finish them on the open pit, basting often. Stubbs makes some basting sauce than my son and I really like. They sell it at Wal-mart. Later.