Baby Back or St. Louis Ribs?

barbecue pellet

Choosing Between Baby Back Ribs and a St. Louis Style BBQ

When it comes to ribs, there are two options; baby back or St. Louis style. Baby back ribs come from the part of the rib cage below the spine. They tend to be more substantial  – containing more fat and are typically pricier. 

St. Louis style ribs refer to spareribs that have been trimmed into a shape. While they do have bones, they also offer tastier meat. If you prefer fall-off-the-bone tenderness, opt for baby backs. However if you’re a carnivore, St. Louis style is the way to go.

Now that you’ve made your choice, it’s time to start smoking! Now, that doesn’t  mean you should buy a pack of Marlboros. You need to smoke those ribs to get the best results.

Some Key Ingredients

Also, an essential element is the rub. Create your blend of spices like paprika, chili powder, brown sugar, garlic and cumin or just use our Knotty Rub. Apply the rub generously on both sides of the ribs. Let them marinate in the refrigerator overnight so that the flavors can infuse just right.

Fire Up the Smoker or Grill and Keep the Barbecue Pellet at Hand

When you’re ready to cook, fire up your smoker (preferably)  or grill using the best of the best woods for a smoky taste. The key is to maintain a slow cooking temperature; around 225 to 250°F (107 -121°C). 

So, you need to practice patience. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with tender ribs where the meat effortlessly slides off the bone. Flip the ribs every 30 to 45 minutes when cooking. Baby backs usually take about 3 to 4 hours total cooking time while spare ribs can take up to 6 hours.

You’ll know that the ribs are done when the meat has pulled back from the bones – approximately one-half inch.

For a burst of flavor, give the rack a subtle spritz of apple juice or cider vinegar during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Afterward, allow the ribs to rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving alongside with sides – sides like potato salad,  beans, or coleslaw. 

Once more – to ensure your ribs are exceptional, it helps to use a finger-lickin’ delectable dry rub like the Knotty Rub. It’s that extra touch that makes all the difference. 

How to Experiment and Create the Ideal Rub

When it comes to ingredients – think sweetness (some sugar); a kick for added zest (Chile powder); garlic seasoning (always good), onion powder for additional interest; crushed red pepper (a daring ingredient); and one more spicy punch in the form of cayenne pepper. 

You’ll also want to include salt and black pepper (according to taste). Mix the rub’s ingredients, generously, coating each slab of meat – infusing the mixture on each side. Again, you should take your time. The longer the seasoning works its wonders, the better tasting the meat. 

Allow the ribs and seasoning to remain at room temperature for 30 minutes and marinate them in the refrigerator overnight. Doing so will make them smoker- or grill-ready.

Patience is Always a Virtue – When It Comes to Smoking Meat

Again, when smoking ribs, you’ll need to cook the meat from 4 to 6 hours. Don’t get tempted to wrap the ribs in foil. as it traps steam and accelerates the cooking time. Only use foil if you notice some charring before the meat has reached its desired tenderness.

Should You Create Saucy Ribs?

The age-old question arises time after time. Should you sauce your ribs or leave them as they are? While some traditionalists argue that a perfect rack of ribs requires no sauce, some strongly disagree.

Creating your own homemade sauce is always a great option. While store-bought sauces may offer convenience, they often lack the flavor. Also, if you’re struggling to pronounce half the ingredients on the bottle, it’s probably best not to consume them. 

Crafting your sauce allows you to tailor the taste according to your preferences. Craving some heat? Add chili peppers. Prefer it on the side? Increase the amount of sugar. Fancy some herbal notes? Sprinkle in rosemary and thyme.

As your ribs, near completion during the smoking process, it’s time to start brushing on that sauce. Begin with a medium coating. Gradually apply more every 10-15 minutes until your desired sauciness is achieved.

Baby Back Ribs

The longer you let the sauce sit on the ribs, the more it will absorb into the meat. Just make sure not to overpower the meat with the coating. If anyone wants more sauce you can always serve it on the side.

Round Up Your Barbecue Pellet for Smoking or Grilling

If you need barbecue pellet, Knotty Wood Barbecue features plum and almond wood pellets. With the right pellets, rub, and sauce, you can cook to your heart’s content!

No Comments

Be the first to start a conversation

Scroll to Top