Get those ribs right!

When it comes to barbecuing, one of the all time popular foods has to be ribs.

A big favourite in the States and in Europe, the secret to cooking these to perfection is all about patience, according to barbecue pitmaster Brandon Manly.

Mr Manly, a member of US company Rib Crib’s top team, said rushing ribs is a common mistake most novice – and even professional – barbecue cooks make.

Barbecue is about being patient, really taking your time,” he explained. “When people say their ribs are too tough, they got in a hurry and pulled them off too soon.”

Another important tip, he said, was ensuring the heat on the grill was at a consistent temperature. The quality of the ribs being grilled was also ‘up there’ as one of the crucial elements.

“St Louis ribs have a nice amount of fat, which makes them juicy,” he said. “I just prefer them to baby-backs, which is what everyone knows. The St. Louis style of spareribs is more uniform. The baby-backs are very good, but they have less fat, making them more apt to dry out than St. Louis style.”

When preparing ribs the Rib Crib team always trim excess fat and the membrane across the bottom of the ribs. It’s also essential to cook the ribs and get them to a colour you’re happy with before wrapping them in foil.

When it comes to seasoning, it’s all about personal preference.

“I prefer a sweet and salty rub,” said Manly. “Many things I do from a culinary perspective have sweet and salty components.”

He advised looking towards getting your basic rub and supplementing it with favourite spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon or smoky chipotle.

Another pitmaster, Donnie Teel, of Buffalo’s BBQ – who enters around 30 grilling competitions a year – claimed those who barbecued at home in their back gardens usually become competent at grilling ribs.

“At cook-offs, the new cooks can usually do pretty well with the chicken and ribs because they cook them all the time in the backyard smokers,” he said. “The brisket and pork takes a lot longer, so people don’t usually take the time.”

His secret is to ensure that the meaty slabs of ribs he cooks have enough fat – but not too much – to ensure flavour.

“It [the fat] should be consistent all the way down. You don’t want any shiners, which is where the bone is exposed,” he explained.

He said most cooks barbecuing ribs let themselves down when it came to how much smoke they allowed to infiltrate them. Either that or the cooking time wasn’t right where they either left the ribs on the grill too long or didn’t barbecue them for long enough.

“A lot of people think that you can’t get enough smoke on them, but you can. They can be too smoky and you can’t taste the meat,” he said.

When it came to cooking times he recommended around four hours for ribs, at a temperature of anything from 275 to 300 degrees.

For an easy to use grill try getting yourself a gas barbecue.

Barbecue Ribs