Ribs on the Propane Grill: Please Don't Call Them Barbecue

True barbecue requires smoke, and I'm not buying a smoker. Great ribs need time, and low heat. So to make succulent ribs on a propane grill, I had to make a few cheats, but in this case, cheaters do win.

The first thing I did was apply a rub. There's any number of barbecue spice rubs on the market, but I found a superior Texas-tasting rub, Brooks Family BBQ's All Purpose Seasoning, at Central Market. I talked to Marlon Brooks, and he said it will soon be at Kroger.

I covered the rack of spare ribs with the spice, black pepper, and Morton Sea Salt--enough to create a light crust--and let them marinate for two hours.

After pre-heating the grill for 10 minutes, I cooked the ribs on high temperature for two minutes, flipped the ribs over, and seared the other side for two minutes. Now came the tricky part, to get the proper low temperature without burning the ribs. I turned one burner to low, and the other burner off.

Now, the bottom of the left half of the ribs was over direct heat, the right half over indirect heat. After 15 minutes, I flipped the ribs end-over-end, so the top right half was over the direct flame. It gets confusing, so let me just say that I turned and flipped them twice more so that each half of the top, and each half of the bottom, was cooked 15 minutes over the direct heat side of the grill, for a total of 60 minutes.

The ribs are worthy at this point, but I prefer to add a little sauce for that "barbecue" flavor. I've compared several sauces: Cattlemen's, Sweet Baby Ray's, Bull's-Eye, Stubb's, and Head Country. The Stubb's provided a compatible tang if applied lightly, but the real winner was Head Country, which gave a rich smoky flavor and a little spice, without being sweet.

I turned on the other burner, to low heat, applied the sauce, let it cook a few minutes, flipped the ribs and did the same on the bottom side. I rested the meat 10 minutes before cutting between the bones. The family snapped up the ribs so quickly I couldn't take a picture until they were almost gone.

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John Kiely
Contact: John Kiely