KC BBQ Ribs
Here is my version of a rub for Kansas City style (KC style) ribs. KC style is sweet and sticky. This is a two step process. The ribs are smoked with a dry rub, then is basted in a nice thick sticky sauces at the end. I have also had the ribs without the basting sauce, and the rub stands up nicely on it’s own.
Cook time for these is variable. Somewhere between 5 and 8 hours is great. 5 hours the meat is fine to eat. 7 hours the meat is spectacular and just falls off the ribs. Variables include the heat and size of your ribs. I try really hard to keep the temp between 200 and 225 for a 8 hour cook. I will let it do 220-240 for a 5 hour cook, but it is more of a time thing than a heat thing to get the real tenderness without getting dry and tough.
I usually make this rub in a quart zip-lock bag so I can shake it to mix very very well. The amount here will do two racks of ribs.
The Rub Powder
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (pack it moderately into the measuring cup. Don’t skimp!)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup smoked paprika (I use Trader Joes brand). Regular Paprika also works but I happen to like the smoked.
- 1/4 cup chili powder. I have used both smoked and non smoked.
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons dry yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground white pepper
Put all of this into a ziplock bag, then shake the bejeebus out of it to mix it up.
I get 2 racks of ribs. On the ‘inside’ of the ribs, be sure that the membrane has been removed. Also called silverskin, it is a tough membrane you should be able to remove. Some butchers remove it for you, some don’t. There is usually a light fat layer on the inside.
Put a reasonable amount on the inside, and rub it into the meat. You want to end up with everything coated by the rub. On the outside, rub it very nicely around the rib meat. Be sure and do the ends of the ribs as well. The rub will help seal in the moisture. After a nice rubbing, wrap it in plastic and let it rest. I usually rest it overnight in the fridge, but you can likely get away with just a couple of hours. You want the spices to make their way into the meat.
I also use boneless country style ribs from Costco. Here I trim off any seriously big hunks of fat. I use a gallon Ziplock, throw in usually 4 large ribs into a gallon Ziplock. The package from Costco usually comes with 8, so I will make two Ziplocks. Let them rest for about 90 minutes before putting them on the grill. I have had super good luck smoking 1 bag and putting the other bag in the freezer for later use. I increase the cook time for the frozen ones by about an hour. I can take them straight out of the freeze and into the smoker.
Cooking it works best on a slow cooking smoker. I have a Green Egg. I plan on 6 hours cook time at about 220 degrees. Timing is very forgiving if you can control the temp (I have learned that 12 hours is a little too long!) Depending on the weather, I need to go play with the Egg after about 6 hours to insure I am still about 220. Usually, it falls down to about 200 by then, so I end up giving it just a bit more air or will do a stir of the coals.
About an hour or two before you think they will be done, you should baste the entire ribs in a nice KC style sauce. Take the ribs off the rack, put them on aluminum foil. Use whatever you normally like. Retail brands I have had good luck with include Sweet Baby Ray’s original, or KC Masterpiece original. I have also really liked the Kinder sauce from Costco. Slather it on, wrap the ribs up in foil to keep moisture in. Put pack into cooker for an hour or two, then slather and cook again it until you are hungry! Be sure your cook temperature is still around 220 degrees. Definitely below 270 degrees. If you try rushing this step with too much heat, you might burn the sauce which is unpleasant.
This makes very sticky ribs that require a lot of paper napkins. Or you can do what the wife does, and just wait to cleanup at the end!
Travelling BBQ Fans
Sue and I are BBQ fans. Short of aficionado status, we still enjoy finding BBQ places when we travel. So I am putting up notes about the BBQ places we find as we travel. If you find these notes helpful, outstanding!
Pappy’s Smokehouse – St Louis MO
https://www.pappyssmokehouse.com/ 3106 Olive St., St. Louis, MO 63103
Of all the BBQ places I have been to, this is always at the top of my list. This is the best Memphis style BBQ and I believe the best ribs anywhere on the planet. A 30-40 minute wait in line is pretty typical and worth every minute. Everything on the menu is excellent. I am known to grab 4 or 6 racks of ribs and have then wrap them for travel. I have brought them back to Seattle many times. They even freeze well. If you are ever in St Louis, make time for Pappy’s.
Little Miss BBQ – Phoenix AZ
https://www.littlemissbbq.com/ 4301 E University Dr Phoenix, AZ 85034
Expect to wait in line about 20-30 minutes. Excellent Texas style BBQ. We have had all of the meats on the menu. Everything is tasty, but we really liked the Prime brisket and the Pulled Pork. Ribs are excellent as well.
BBQ Petes – Kent WA
http://www.bbqpetes.com/ 6621 South 211th St, Kent, WA 98032
Pete’s is a great place for pulled pork and brisket. Both are excellent. The ribs are also excellent. Service here is really fast. I don’t think I have ever waited more than about 5 minutes between walking in the door and getting served. It does get busy during weekday lunch. This turns out to be across the street from FIRST Washington, so I have to take extreme care not to eat there every day!