I decided to try two types of rib recipes for this cookout. One is a recipe from Fatty Cue’s, a popular BBQ joint in NYC. The other is a Honey Glazed BBQ ribs recipe from Pok Pok, which is an modern Asian restaurant based out of Portland, OR.

In choosing a rib, I used spare ribs instead of baby back. Spare ribs takes longer to cook, but I wanted to challenge myself and practice maintaining a constant bbq temperature for as long as possible. You don’t need a lot of charcoal to cook since the idea is to use low heat to develop flavor over time. I added hickory wood chips every 30-40 minutes for 3 hours, then I wrapped these ribs in foil and cooked for another 2 hours. For the final hour of cooking, I took the ribs out of the foil and placed them closer to the heat to give them a nice crispy finish.

Both Rib recipes involved overnight marination. You want to marinate between 4 to 8 hours, but no longer since marinades with alcohol will start chemically breaking down the meat and will affect the cooking time. The Fatty Cue recipe has a fish sauce marinade, and the Pok Pok  recipe had a whiskey based marinade. After 8 hours of marination, I took these ribs out of the marinade and just refrigerated them until it was close to the time of cooking. Also it’s a good idea to take the meat out of the fridge at least 30 – 1 hour before cooking so the meat is at room temperature when you put it on the grill.

Above is a photo of the ribs after 3 hours of smoking, ready to go in their foil wraps. The top rack is the Fatty Cue recipe, the lower rack the Pok Pok recipe.  The brownish powder you see on the top rack is made from toasted, and ground Indonesian Long Peppers (photo below).

You can purchase these online and because they come in whole pods, they stay good for a long time, and when you need to use them, just dump them in a medium low heat pan and toast them until fragrant. You do need a spice grinder to grind these, and the flavor is a mix between curry and black pepper, and it’s got a good spicy kick to it.

After 2 hours in the foil, the ribs will look like the below. This would be the time to base your ribs in BBQ sauce or dipping sauce if using.

After hour 6, this is what the ribs looked like

I started the cooking process at around 11:30AM, my fire didn’t get to the right temperature until 12:30, then I took off the meat at 6:30PM. It was a pretty windy day with a temperature of around 55F when I started, and by the time I finished, the wind had died down and the temperature had dropped at least 10F degrees. I think the ribs could have been cooked a bit longer for a more falling of the bones taste, but we were hungry and the flavour was there. Next time, I will definitely start earlier so I can cook longer.

Pok Pok Honey-Glazed Baby Back Ribs Recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/honey-glazed-baby-back-ribs-with-whiskey-marinade
Fatty Cue BBQ Ribs Recipe (from NYT): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/11/magazine/11food-t-001.html