The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks


Tue Sep 1, 2015

Apricot-Glazed Barbecue Ribs

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Apricot-glazed Ribs

Ever since taking up competition barbecue, I've become obsessed with finding a way to make the most consistently perfect slow-smoked pork ribs that can elicit awards from faceless judges. In the process, my rib method has grown to include all sorts of meticulous steps, like wrapping the ribs in foil at just the right time, adding a braising liquid to get them perfectly tender, and monitoring the temperature more closely than doctors keeping tabs on patient's vitals in the ICU.

The resulting competition ribs have earned me a few trophies, but they're honestly not the kind I love most. You see, I'd rather use a simpler method and push the flavor with additional spices and heat, but that can be risky in a competition setting, since I don't want to take that chance on judges with sensitive palates.

So at the beginning of last summer, I decided it was time to get back to my barbecue roots and smoke up some racks of ribs using a less intensive method, instead focusing on hitting those bolder flavors that can make barbecue so incredible. Of course, going with my standard sauce and rub would have been a little too easy on me, so I came up with a new apricot barbecue sauce and complementary rub to make these glistening beauties extra special.

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Tue Jun 2, 2015

Memphis-Style Dry Ribs

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Memphis Dry-rubbed Ribs

Back in the day, I'd call pretty much any rib I didn't slather with sauce, "dry ribs." Not only were they indeed dry, but they looked and tasted like the dry ribs I've always been served at restaurants. It wasn't until I had some excellent dry ribs at Peg Leg Porker, down in Nashville, that I understood just what I'd been missing. So I got to talking to pitmaster Carey Bringle about what sets his ribs apart from the crowd.

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Tue Mar 10, 2015

Chinese Char Siu Spare Ribs

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Char Siu Spareribs

It's very likely my first pork rib was at a Chinese restaurant. Growing up in the suburbs of D.C., barbecue was not prolific, but Chinese restaurants were, and boy did my family love going to them. A dinner out for Chinese meant one thing to me back then—pu pu platter. In a love for all things appetizers, which still persists today, the pu pu platter was like mecca. I got to have it all—beef skewers, fried wontons, egg rolls, and, of course, spare ribs. I became aquatinted with these sweet and sticky, sometimes tough, spare ribs at a young age, and my fondness for them has yet to cease. It only made sense that I learn to cook them myself so I could have great Chinese spare ribs all the time, especially since I'm stuck in the weird bad-Chinese-food vortex for Astoria, Queens, in a city otherwise known for excellent Chinese.

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Tue Aug 26, 2014

Texas-Style Beef Short Ribs

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Texas-style Beef Ribs

Texas has bred in me a true appreciation for beef barbecue—it is my favorite type, but also the hardest for me to get right. While I love a great brisket, a perfect beef rib is even better with its super beefy flavor, luscious soft fat, and blackened peppery crust. Stick me in Louie Mueller and tell me I can only order one item, and I'm going for that damn beef rib, it's just so good. I've been in a constant state of trying to find a path to transcendent beef ribs like that using my Weber bullet, which looks like a cute little play thing compared to those giant Texas tanks. I can't say these ribs are there yet, but this represents a big step up from past attempts.

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Tue May 27, 2014

Balsamic Glazed Baby Back Ribs

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Balsamic Galzed Baby Back Ribs

I know most of us are not only fair-weather grillers, but still, there's something magical in the air after grilling season comes to a somewhat official start on Memorial Day. Everywhere I turn, I feel like the grilling gods are once again shinning down on us—stores pile bags of charcoal out front, butchers fill their cases with the best cuts for grilling, and pyramids of barbecue sauce await you at the entry of many groceries. This is our time, and I feel a need to make the best of it.

When it comes to kicking off the season at home, there's nothing that fulfills the desire more than ribs. Let everyone else have their burgers and hot dogs, for a man who loves smoking and is in it to win it, ribs are the way to go, and that's exactly how I celebrated Memorial Day this past weekend. If you're looking for a little extra inspiration this summer, I have a recipe that captures everything you'd want in a rib with a bit of a twist—balsamic-glazed baby back ribs.

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