By Cap'n Ron
This an easy way of smoking Country Style Ribs, when you don't have a smoker.
Pan Smoked, Country Style Ribs
The question is: "How would you smoke ribs, when you don't have a smoker?" It's really quite easy, if you've got either a grill with a side burner, or a single butane burner, more about the butane burners later.
It seems I've that I've been spending a lot of time away from the boat lately, and have not had a charcoal grill available at all. So, I've been cooking on gas grills with side burners. Now, I haven't (regularly) used a gas grill in a lot of years. Plus I was probably one of the last hold outs to get one, and it was a gift, at that. I found that I missed the flavor of burning charcoal, but really liked the convenience. I lived in Northern New Hampshire at that time, and I was able to sneak out on my deck at -50 degrees F. to grill hamburgers or a quick steak.
So I'm back to gas, but not totally happy. The ones I've been using aren't the least expensive out there, but I can't seem to get them to down low enough to "slow cook" or to "smoke" with. I tend to cook a lot of meat at a time (I love cooking for leftovers), and it takes a lot of playing with the meat to get it all to cook evenly. Then I realized that there's side burners, I think that they're one of the most underutilized options on any gas grill.
I've smoked hot dogs, in a restaurant using this method, so I figured that it was a no-brainer to try it at home. It worked great, and for those of you who might use a smoker only occasionally, it's a great, easy method for smoking almost any meat. In this case I've done Country Style Ribs, but I've also smoked Turkey Legs for a smoked Turkey Salad Wrap. Both times it worked great, and I know that I'll be using it in the future.
You've got to appreciate the fact that there are ALWAYS trade offs in life. These side burners don't seem to turn down as low as I would like them to. You've got 2 settings, High / High, and Low / High. And be ready for some real heavy smoky flavor in your end product. When I smoked the Turkey Legs, the mesquite was so strong (in a good way) that had got heart burn after eating the turkey. And that was after it was turned into salad, with plenty of Mayonnaise.
Butane burners are real popular for caterers, and quite often seen around boats or RV's. They can be purchased at most restaurant supply stores, along with their fuel, are can be ordered on the internet. Here's my favorite place for puckering restaurant stuff. These burners are versatile and can be purchased for less than $20.00.
So don't be put off by having to go out a special cooker, just to smoke ribs, chicken, or even turkey. If you do pick up a butane burner, you'll find yourself using it quite often in your house, when you need an extra burner to cook a dinner party, This is a great alternative, and you have to find a place to store it because the garbage can works real well. And, as easy as this method is to use, I don't think that I would try it
- 1/2 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Butt Kickin' Blacken, Southwest Blend
- 2 Tablespoons Coarse Kosher Salt
- 2 Pounds Country Style Pork Ribs
- 1 Cup Mesquite Chips
Other Things You'll Need
- An Aluminum Baking Tray
- Aluminum Foil
1. Begin making the rub. This is easy, you just mix all the ingredients together. And soak the chips in water.
The chips should be done early in the day.
2. Prepare the pan by rolling up some aluminum foil and setting it in the bottom. This will keep the ribs from resting in the wood chips. Although the picture doesn't show it, I DID put another row of foil rolls on top of the one you see pictured.
3. Coat the ribs real good with the rub, place the soaked wood chips in the bottom of the aluminum pan, then place the ribs on top of the rolls of aluminum foil.
From my experience of smoking Turkey Legs, using the same method, I realized that I needed to add another row of foil tubes, to get the meat a little further above the chips. I also realized that it works better if you tent the foil covering as shown in the next step. Tenting permits the smoke to get to the top of the ribs better.
4. Tightly cover the pan, with the ribs with aluminum foil, being sure to "tent the covering, so it doesn't touch the ribs.
5. Set the pan on the side burner of your grill, and turn it to it's lowest setting.
6. Let them cook for about an hour, then open the top and check on them. You'll probably have to reverse the pan on the grill. And, it's a good idea to turn the ribs over. Now would be a good time to baste with BBQ sauce, but it's not really necessary, because the rub becomes the sauce.
7. Cook for another half hour, and check them again. They're done when you lift one up and it falls apart. If it doesn't, give them another 15 minutes and check again.
Be sure you don't overcook the ribs, or they'll end up dry, instead of being moist and chewy.
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