BBQ St Louis Ribs, potato salad, cold beer. Yes, please!
Ribs and potato salad. A marriage made on a plate. This dynamic duo is a winning meal for three reasons: it’s downright delicious, it’s mostly prepared the day before you want to eat it, it’s the perfect meal to feed a crowd.
Here’s a quick back story on my journey with ribs… because I didn’t always love them. In fact, it would be the last thing I chose at a BBQ. But years ago, my husband brought home a Traeger from Costco. It’s able to smoke on low heat or grill at high heat (180-450 or so). Naturally, I started with what I knew: chicken and steak, but this Texas girl had to smoke something and see what this little Traeger could do. I gave it a shot, and now ribs are one of the most requested meals I make.
Every time I make them, I learn something new. A little tweak here or a little more there. I’m pleased to share my method with you, although I’m sure I’ll be back here with edits in the future.
Dry rub the day before
Lately, I’ve been dry aging my ribs just like I do with a chicken or steak. I buy the three pack of St. Louis style ribs from Costco and vacuum seal them individually with my Food Saver. To prepare them, I score the silver skin on the back without cutting all the way through. This will allow the fat to render. Then, I salt them all over and put them on the sheet tray. Notice the change in color after a day in the fridge.
Now I’m ready to rub them down and get them on the smoker. From here on out it’s easy-peasy.
The rub down
Starting with a little vegetable oil, coat the ribs lightly. You don’t need much. Next, I combine my rub in a bowl and rub all over the top and a liter coating on the back. They are ready for the smoker, starting at 350F for 45 minutes. I also mix up a little solution on apple cider vinegar, honey, and whiskey or bourbon depending on what bottle my husband has open. Now I wrap them in foil, give a little brush of the whiskey mixture, and get them back on the smoker at 225F. Check on them every 30-45 minutes. Brush, mop, or spritz them with your cooking liquid. This goes on for about another 2 ½-3 hours. A great time for a beer or dip in the pool. If you like your ribs saucy, pour on the sauce and keep wrapped in foil for the last hour. To make these BBQ St Louis Ribs stand out, I make my famous Jack Daniels Sauce.
When you pull them off the smoker, put them on a deep sheet tray. There will be quite a bit of liquid in that foil packet of deliciousness and I don’t want you to burn your sweet little legs by sloshing hot liquid all over yourself. I always them sit for a just a few minutes while I get the rest of sides and beverages together. Once you start cutting into them, don’t be surprised if bones pull right out. It happens.
BBQ St Loius Ribs Recipe
- 1 slab St Loius ribs
- vegetable oil
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprike
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- 2 tbs whiskey or bourbon optional
- 2 tbs honey
- 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
- Score silver skin on back of ribs, being careful not to cut into the meat.
- Salt ribs on top and bottom of slab, pressing salt into the meat and lay on sheet pan with rack. Place in fridge until ready to cook the next day.
- When ready to cook, rub ribs with a couple tbs of oil.
- Mix together spices and brown sugar and rub into meat.
- Cook in smoker at 350F for 45 minutes.
- Lower temperature to 225F, wrap in foil, and cook additional 2 ½- 3 ½ hours. Brush with whiskey mixture every 30-45 minutes.
- Add BBQ if desired for last hour of cooking.
- Get yourself a cold beverage and a pile of napkins. These juicy and tender ribs make a tasty mess.