Cole Pepper, co-founder of the Jacksonville Backyard BBQ championships to benefit Daniel Kids
Brining involves soaking meat overnight in a salted liquid with the goal of tenderizing the ribs before cooking. This method opens up pores of the meat and breaks down its connective tissue. You can brine in a pot, container or large plastic freezer bag.
1. Use sea salt or kosher salt – this coarser grain lasts longer in water (rather than dissolving like finer grains)
2. Use citrus juice- this is because citric acid is good at breaking down connective tissue and makes ribs very tender
3. Use this method more for spareribs than baby backs- this is because baby backs are already pretty tender, spareribs need more tenderizing
A dry rub is comprised of all dry ingredients and is rubbed on the meat by hand before cooking.
1. Consider timing of applying rub – some people apply the rub and leave overnight, some people do it a couple of hours before cooking and others put it on immediately before cooking. It’s mostly a matter of preference; however, please note, the more sugar your rub has in it, the closer to cooking you will want to apply it because of carmellization
2. Be sure to balance sweet and hot – incorporate sweet elements, such as sugars or dehydrated maple syrup, as well as spicier elements such as paprika and cayenne, adjust amounts to your preference of tastes
3. Plan to Experiment- even if you tend to like things hotter, try a sweeter rub sometime, see how it impacts meat during the cooking process
* Check out Cole’s personal rub recipe.
Wet mopping is exactly how it sounds, applying wet sauces to the ribs before and/or during the cooking the process.
1. Get your sauce set –start with a BBQ sauce you like, and then dilute it with water or lemon juice or both. You can even use lemonade, but be sure to use the old-fashioned kind with sugar, rather than ones with high-fructose corn syrup. Feel free to incorporate spices, either with a pre-rub or within the sauce itself.
2. Decide mop vs. spray – some people like to use a BBQ mopping took, others prefer a spray bottle. With a spray bottle you can set the nozzle between mist and a directional spray.
3. Plan how often to mop- keep in mind that every time you open up the grill or smoker – whether your ribs are cooking directly on the grill or within foil — you lose some moisture. Good barbecuing requires a balance between applying sauce and preserving the natural moisture of the meat. Be aware that you can mop more heavily during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking as carmelization won’t be as much of a factor at that point
Cole Pepper’s Rib Rub Recipe:
4 tbsp Pacific Blue salt
2 tbsp fine ground black pepper
1 tbsp butcher’s cut black pepper
6 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp granulated onion
1 tbsp ground chipotle
1 tbsp ground ancho/poblano
4 tbsp turbinato sugar
4 tbsp granulated maple sugar
2 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp Ground Korintje Cinnamon
1/2 tbsp ground mesquite