This makes fall-off-the-bone ribs that are great even without any sauces. You need a covered grill for this, an oven thermometer and an afternoon. If you don't have an afternoon to babysit them, you can wrap them in foil and finish them in the oven, but there's something extra about the flavor of a grill, even a gas fired one. A Zinfandel is perfect for these.
Three slabs of pork ribs
Olive oil for basting
Your favorite barbecue sauce (or mine)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/8 teaspoon thyme
1. Make the rub. Mix together the paprika, salt, sugar, black pepper, garlic powder, onion salt, cayenne pepper and thyme to make the rub.
2. Remove the thin membrane of fat from the back side of the ribs. If you can get ahold of it, it peels off easily. Try cutting a lit along a bone then using a piece of paper towel to grasp an edge. Removing it allows the rub and sauce to penetrate the meat better.
3. Slather the rub it on the ribs liberally, wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (But even an hour or so will improve the flavor.)
4. About four hours before you want to eat, turn the heat on the grill to high for 10 or 15 minutes. You want it hot enough to quickly brown the ribs - 500°F/260°C or so. (If can hold your hand about three inches over the grill for only a second or two before you have to pull it back the temperature is about right.)
5. Sear the meat on both sides—three to five minutes per side.
6. Then turn off all but one burner and move the meat to the side so it’s not over the flame. If you're using charcoal, push teh coals to one side and put the ribs on the other. Adjust the flame (or the lid) so that the temperature when the cover is down stays between 250°F/120°C and 275°F/135°C. If your grill isn’t equipped with an oven thermometer add it to your shopping list.
7. Alernatively, after browning the ribs, wrap them tightly in aluminum foil and place in an oven-proof pan. Roast at the above temperatures for three to three-and-an-half hours.
8. If using the grill method, turn the meat about every 30 minutes, basting with olive oil as needed to keep it moist.
9. After about three-and-a-half hours check the meat with a meat thermometer. It should be at about 170°F/75°C. Crank up the heat to 325°F/165°C for the last 15 minutes or so and baste with any barbeque sauce you might be using. If you baste it much earlier than that, the honey in the sauce will burn.
10. Serve with grilled vegetables, cornbread and beans.
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