Looking to step up your BBQ game this summer? You can do no better than perfectly smoked pork ribs. To help you make it happen, we’ve got advice from a true pro, Pitmaster Mark Roper of Morgan’s Barbecue. Located near Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (home of the Nets and Islanders), the joint serves up delicious Texas-style barbecue ribs, smoked overnight in their in-house smoker. To prepare something similar, follow these steps.
1. Choose the right ribs. A St. Louis cut (or Spare rib) provides the most meat and juiciness per serving, so ask your butcher for a few racks of this variety.
2. Apply your preferred rub. Morgan’s uses a salt and pepper-based rub, which delivers a nice crust while lightly infusing the meat with the perfect flavor. Be generous with whichever rub you choose, on both sides of the racks. Just be sure not to apply it too far in advance— the salt will act as a curing agent, leaving you with dry, overcooked ribs.
3. Arrange your coals. If you are working with a standard charcoal grill (the classic Weber, for instance), build a bed of hot coals on one side of the grill, fill an aluminum pan with water, and place it directly above the coals.
4. Add the wood. You can find wood chips at most grocery stores, but you’ll want to look for a type of wood that provides some moisture, or soak the wood chips in a water bath for an hour before using. Adding wood to the coals is a crucial step in the process of imparting the smoke flavor.
5. Heat properly. Once the ribs are prepped, place them on the grill on the opposite side of the hot coals and water pan (providing indirect heat). The ideal temperature of your grill should be approximately 225 degrees.
6. Watch the clock. To obtain the perfect tenderness, smoke the racks of ribs for about three hours. Then wrap them in aluminum foil and place back on the grill for another hour.
7. Finish riiight. At this point, you can unwrap the ribs and finish on the grill up to another hour. If you like, apply a light mop of barbecue sauce to the ribs, then finish on the grill for another two or three minutes. Then place on a big plate, plunk that down on the table and take a bow.
Good stuff: Outdoor seating at Morgan’s, and Roper with a serving of smoked pork ribs.