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BBQ Ribs on a Weber

Adapted from an article in the Portland, ME Times Record. The Moose and Lobster Preservation Society, winners of "Best Ribs in New England" at the KCBS sanctioned Pig and Pepper 1996 competition in Carlisle, MA, describe their technique for slow-cooking ribs on a Weber kettle style grill.

Buy one or more whole racks of ribs (end-on or "St. Louis Style" -- ask your butcher) and coat lightly with olive or vebetable oil using your hand or a brush. Sprinkle lots of "rub" on both sides and ends, patting and slapping it firmly into place. Surface of meat should be completely covered with a layer of rub. Wrap each rib in two layers of plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.

Bank a small amount of coals on one side of the grill and let smoker warm up for 20-30 minutes. Stick a meat thermometer in the top or side of the grill (you may need to drill a hole), and work the fire to stabilize the temperature around 200-300 degrees. Hotter fires will significantly shorten cooking times and not allow slow-cooking of the meat.

Soak hickory, mesquite, cherry, apple or other wood chips in a bowl of water for 20 minutes or more, and sprinkle small amounts on the coals every 20-30 minutes or as often as desired.

Optional: Partially fill a small disposable aluminum pan with water and place at the bottom of the Weber or partially over the coals. Fill as necessary during the cooking process.

Place ribs away from the heat source, on the side opposite the banked coals. If you have two or more racks of ribs, use a 'rib rack' purchased at your local hardware store for $10 to help stand the rib racks on their side next to each other. Place rib racks thick side up/bone-end down, so the small ends stay moist.

That's it! Sit back for 4 to 6 hours, watch the smoke rise, and drink your favorite beverage. Don't forget to add soaked wood chips every so often, and keep the water pan half full. You may want to turn the meat in-place to give each rib end or side equal time nearest the heat source. If you're curious whether the ribs are done, try cutting one off and eating it (cook's privilege). The meat should be pink around the edges (called a 'smoke ring'), pull cleanly from the bone and taste nice and smoky.

Before serving or for the last 10 minutes of cooking, lightly brush each rack with your homemade barbecue sauce. Cut between each rib, brush again with sauce if desired, and serve. Make sure you save a few ribs for yourself -- they'll go quickly! You're now a real, slow cookin', wood smokin' barbecue chef.

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