In our house, we operate on two different timelines, as I am sure is the case in most marriages and households. I am in the hurry up camp. I usually think, “this should have happened two days or weeks ago” and my husband says he will get to it some time in the next two weeks. Neither one is right or wrong, it has just been known to cause more than a few headaches and frustrations. As was the situation which led to me using the Ribalizer to make ribs.
I was just beginning my job at Fireside Outdoor Kitchens, so being a little timid and still learning the ropes, I figured Chris should help me. So, for four days I asked Chris if he would make ribs that day so I could see how the Ribalizer worked? I wanted him to show me how to use it so I could write/photograph this blog post and since he is the expert griller in the family, I figured he was the best option to show me how to use the product. Everyday I got the same response, “yes, of course,” but surprise, it never happened. So out of frustration, on the fourth day, I finally said, “fine, I am going to just do it myself!” And he responded with, “good, I think that is a great idea and I highly encourage you to do that.” Which left me wondering… how? Chris told me that the best way to start would be for me to watch the video they made and go from there. I then went to bed annoyed.
I got up early the next morning and watched the 12 minute Ribalizer video and thought, “hey, this should be easy! I can do this!” The Ribalizer’s claim is that you can skip the messy hassle of boiling, baking or all-day smoking and still get those tender, smoky ribs you crave on a gas grill or even a pellet grill in around 2 hours. This is a pretty big claim and I was interested to try it, especially since this would be my first time grilling ribs and I had seen the long process my husband has gone through in the past.
So let me stop right here and tell you… this was so easy! The Ribalizer was one of the easiest products I have ever used and I look forward to trying it again on chicken, as well as a few other ideas that I have. Seriously, I grilled 3 racks of pork ribs by myself and they turned out GREAT. Yes, to say I was shocked is an understatement; especially when I compare them to some ribs that I’ve had at local rib restaurants that are NOT GOOD! I am sure you may be skeptical but you really need to try this product and have ribs more often at home. Trust me, your family will thank you.
So let’s get started. I hit our local butcher shop, Lanier’s Meat Market (if you are local and haven’t tried them, you should! When you think meat, think Lanier’s!) and gathered all the rest of the necessary supplies, which is not a lot as you can see from the photo. Pictured below was all I used: cooking spray, seasoning, two liters of Coke, and three racks of pork ribs from our local butcher. You will need to decide on your liquid ahead of time. Anything from beer, wine, apple juice or even water is recommended with many preferring Dr. Pepper. The store I stopped at did not have Dr. Pepper, so we went with Coke.
At this point the others around the store were starting to wonder what I was up to and when I told them, I got a few looks but I carried on.
You can get all the step-by-step instructions from Mark in the video, but the quick version is that with three basic steps you have the formula for perfect BBQ ribs. You can get smoky, tender ribs in about 2 hours with a little meat prep, time to produce smoke and flavor, and then time to tenderize. I will go through the steps and what I did.
For the most part, I followed the recommended steps closely. I prepped and washed the meat. The next step is to remove the membrane, which I have NEVER done before and really, until that day, had no idea what the membrane was. I was a little intimidated by this step but it was really quite simple. I have heard that there are all sorts of recommended ways to remove the membrane, but Chris just said, “grab a paper towel, start pulling at a corner and just slowly pull it off all the way down the meat.” It really was quite simple and easy to do. You can see two racks here, one with membrane and one without.
I then seasoned the meat and I decided to try Ribalizer’s “Rub the Ribs” seasoning. I used this rub to really test the product since it was a seasoning that was not familiar to most of us in the store. It was okay but the rub had a “cakey/gritty” texture on the finished ribs was not a favorite of most of the taste testers. The meat turned out very well, but the rub was not a favorite. Clearly rubs are different for everyone so either go with your classic favorite or give theirs a try. To season the meat, I put on gloves and put 1/3 of the seasoning on the bone side and 2/3’s of the seasoning on the meat side.
I then wrapped the ribs in foil and let them sit while I prepared for the rest of the process. I was going to cook three rack of pork ribs but they say that the Ribalizer can hold up to 6 racks on the meat separator. Once all my prep was done. I brought everything out to our Weber gas grill.
I lubricated the rack that I was going to use with some cooking spray and also prepared my smoke delivery method. I did not use the method Mark talks about in the videos with soaking wood chips, instead I placed wood pellets in another foil pan. These are not soaked nor were there holes punched in the foil pan. I just added the pellets and pushed down one side of the foil pan so that I could place my other pan over it. You can see the picture of my set up below.
This process still created the same smoking but with less hassle and prep and much less clean up.
At this point with my pellets added and pans lubrcated, I then added my meat, rotating it through the meat separator. I tried to place the fattier ends down, which seemed to help my meat standup in the grid better. Next, I added my liquid. Just pour it into the pan but make sure you do not do this before you have placed the pan on the grill. These pans are not sturdy enough to hold all that weight and though I honestly do try to avoid major cooking disasters, messes do seem to follow me! Pour in the liquid making sure it comes to the bottom of the rack. You really need to make sure you have enough liquid, but you do not want your meat sitting in the liquid. I used almost an entire two-liter bottle of Coke but nothing else.
At this point your pans are loaded and all your prep is done and it is time to grill. I turned on all three burners of the Weber gas grill I was using. While we talk about gas grills in this post and on the video, this process can also be done on pellet grills or charcoal grills as well. Each grill burns differently but you are going to want to be at about medium-high heat. There are going to be two things you are looking for here. One, you want your wood pellets or chips to start smoking. This is an essential part of the process and this is when your meat will get all of its wonderful smoky flavor. Make sure your pellets or chips are creating smoke. The second important part is you want the liquid to start to have a slow simmer. You do not want the grill to be too hot, but you want a good medium high temperature that is creating a simmer. Give yourself about 15 minutes to make sure both of these things are happening. Once you see this happening, set a time for about 35-45 minutes and walk away. This was a hard thing for me as I was nervous about the process, but decided to trust the system.
My timer went off at about 45 minutes and I went out to check. I opened the grill and WOW! I was impressed.
The three racks of pork ribs were really starting to look like great ribs. I could not believe that the Ribalizer was working this well! If you look at the photo below you can see the char and dark crust that is forming on the top. At this point, I turned the ribs so that we could get an even color across the whole rack, as the side that was up tended to caramelize a bit more than the side next to the steaming liquid.
You will also want to check the liquid at this point as you DO NOT want to run out of liquid or else you will have a small grilling disaster on your hands as my husband learned one afternoon when he was grilling ribs for the in-laws. My liquid is still looking good so I did not need to add more.
Now it is time to cover the meat and steam these ribs. Please, don’t forget gloves at this point. The pan will be very hot and you will need to now cover your ribs tightly with the other foil pan and make sure you have a good seal.
You will then set your timer for about 1 hour and finish the cooking process. It was during this time that I had my own little grilling disaster that was also a great lesson for me. When my timer went off, I went out excited to check my beautiful ribs and they looked underdone and I noticed there was no heat! Look at those barely cooked ribs!
Sometime during that hour my grill had run out of fuel! Oh, no! This was not supposed to happen, especially during product testing, but it did. And at this point, I got another lesson: changing the tank and figuring out how to trouble shoot the rest of this grilling process. Thankfully, I remebered all the instructions that we give the ladies that attend our ladies-only “Flip & Sip” grilling class, where each class, we have a segment that discusses the basics of grill operation. I also went in and grabbed a Thermapen and mentally went through all the lessons my husband has taught me over the years about knowing when my meat is done. Having to think on my feet really helped my confidence even though, at first, I felt a little discouraged with what happened. But that is real life!
At this point after reattaching the propane tank, I turned the grill back on and finished the cook, a little nervous but ready to see how things turned out. After about 40 minutes I went out and tested the temperature and they were done.
At this point it is important to remember again, that these pans cannot handle all the weight of their contents and to avoid a nasty spill, remove your racks with some tongs and place them in the top foil pan that you have removed. You can let your meat rest for a bit now while you clean up and remove your liquid pan. Now comes the slicing and taste testing!
To make the process of cutting easy for yourself, place the bone side up and follow the line of the bone to give yourself a clean and easy cut.
Keep cutting all your racks and then plate! Or if your home is like it is around here, someone will sneak in and steal a few before you are even done!
I really did this whole process alone and with little to no instruction which was a little unnerving and mentally, I was quite nervous at times. I am familiar with grilling and cooking but for some reason, especially when my husband is around, I can doubt myself and really question whether I am doing it right. Luckily, my husband was not around for most of it, which made me feel like even more of a success. But I have to say that with the Ribalizer’s help I was really impressed and felt like this whole process was a success. I would highly recommend it for anyone, experienced or newbie, to give the Ribalizer a try. I think you will be surprised by the whole process and really appreciate the smoky and tender ribs that you have at the end. As a busy mom and wife, I can see some similarities between this product and a crock pot for me. Whether you want to admit it or not, many of us have a love-hate relationship with our crock pot. Whether it is because we were scarred as a child from the many bad, tasteless meals our mothers made us or because there are months of the year where we can’t live without it because of its easy, meal-automation. The Ribalizer does that same thing for the rib cooking process. Once you have prepped your ribs and followed the steps, you are able to set your time, place your ribs on the grill, walk away and come back to finished smoky and tend ribs! What a great concept that actually works. I really do see myself doing this more and I look forward to trying it with chicken and roasts!