Ribs and Pulled Pork Without the Fuss

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Introduction: Ribs and Pulled Pork Without the Fuss

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In this instructable I'm going to give you my ridiculously easy recipe for making amazing ribs and pulled pork. It's very simple, very cheap and uses only a few simple ingredients which most people should have lying around the house. If you're like me, then when you're cooking for a large group of people you like to do as little prep work as possible so you can actually hang out and enjoy your own party, however, when you do bring food to the table you still want it to be as delicious and amazing as possible, and that's where this recipe steps in. It is going to require you to cook the meat in the oven for a long time but in terms of preparation and effort it really is minimal.

It's true that cooking your ribs and pulled pork in a smoker will yield smokier meat, but for those of us not lucky enough to own one, or whose current situation makes it a logistical impossibility (living in a small city apartment) then this recipe is a great alternative. It is truly delicious and what it lack's in smokiness it more than makes up for in ease of implementation and compatibility with standard kitchen equipment.

(Unfortunately, because my guests were hungry they tore the finished products from my hand and I barely had time to take these blurry cell phone pictures of the almost-finished product let alone a manicured picture with perfect lighting and just the right amount of neatly placed dressing. Next time I make them though I'll get a better set of pictures of the final product and upload them) 

Step 1: A Note on Timing

  • It's worth noting in advance that this recipe requires some long cooking times, and in the case of the pork butt you can also do an overnight brine.
  • We're going to be cooking the meat at a very low temperature for a long time (low and slow) to make sure that it's gets tender while still retaining as many of it's natural juices as possible.
  • This is important to take into account when planning on having guests over so that the food is ready when everyone expects to eat. 
  • I usually stick the pork in the oven first thing in the morning 8-9am and the ribs around 12-1pm so that they're ready around 5pm.

Step 2: Ingredients

Meat:
  1. 4-6 lbs Pork Butt
  2. 2-4 Racks Baby Back Ribs
Pre Rub
  1. 1 Cup Salt
  2. 1 Cup Sugar
Final Rub
  1. 2 Cups Light Brown Sugar
  2. 1 Tbsp Paprika
  3. 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder

Step 3: Pre Rub

  • For the pork butt, because it's a thicker piece of meat, I like to do the pre-rub the night before then seal it in a ziplock bag and leave it in the fridge overnight, however, if you're in a hurry or it's already the day of your barbecue, then you can skip the overnight step, and just do the rub before putting the pork in the oven.
  • For the ribs you can do the rub right before.

The pre rub:

  • Simply rub the sugar and the salt all over the meat and wrap in foil.
  • When you are ready to cook the meat, place it in a tray lined with foil (or use a foil tray) and place in the middle of the oven.
  • I recommend lining the tray with foil because there are going to be a lot of drippings from the meat and this will save you a lot of washing up later on.
Note on the membrane at the underside of the ribs:
As mentioned in a couple of the comments, it's best to remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs before adding the rub. You can do this easily enough with a knife or ,as one comment mentioned, a pair of pliers. The next time I cook up some ribs i'll upload a few pics of the membrane removal.

Step 4: Cook the Meat

  • Cook the meat at 250 F
  • The ribs should take about 3-4 hours, the pork will take a bit longer 6-8 hours.

Step 5: Final Rub

  • Once the meat is cooked remove from the oven.
  • Take off the foil wrapping and drain any oil and fat that has accumulated at the bottom of the pan.
  • Set the oven to 500 F
  • Carefully rub the brown sugar, paprika and garlic powder all over your meat.
  • When the oven is hot enough place the meat back in the oven and cook for 10-15 mins or until the sugar starts to turn a dark golden brown.
  • You should probably open a few doors and windows as this is likely to cause a bit of smoking.

Step 6: Finish the Meat and Serve

To finish the ribs:
  • The meat is very tender at this point and I usually find it hard to work with it as a full rack without it falling apart so I cut  them into smaller pieces of 4-5 ribs
  • Brush barbecue sauce on the top and cook for 2-3mins on the grill ribs-down at medium-high heat with the top down.
  • Flip the ribs and brush on the bottom cooking again for another 2-3mins.
  • Flip one last time and finish with another layer of barbecue sauce.
  • For the sauce you can use your favourite store bought sauce or make your own. (Here's my recipe: https://www.instructables.com/id/Whiskey-Barbecue-Sauce/)
To finish the pork:
  • The pork will be very tender and can be pulled apart easily with your hands. You can either pull it apart yourself or I like to present it whole on a plate with tongs so guests can help themselves.
  • I recommend serving it on potato buns with coleslaw and then finish with some barbecue sauce and siracha on top.

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    26 Comments

    I'm one of those fanatics who lives by my smoker and grill (hey, this is Arizona, I want to use my oven as little as possible in the summer), BUT I'm not a zealot who believes I am the one true pit master. I agree with dtownmaker — one of the beautiful things about Q is how differently it can be done. And really, the important thing is that you like how it comes out and you get to enjoy it with family and friends. That is truly what Q is about.

    One thing to make clear to anyone trying this, be careful using aluminum foil — only use it during the actual cook, and do not use it with a steel pan (stainless steel shouldn't be a problem, but better yet is glass — a recyclable aluminum pan as shown is OK, too). The salt in the rub/meat can corrode the aluminum and ruin your meal (it's called a "lasagna cell").

    "lasagne cell" is WHAT?

    Essentially a rudimentary food battery.

    "A 'lasagna cell' is accidentally produced when salty moist food such as lasagna is stored in a steel baking pan and is covered with aluminum foil. ... In this example, the salty food (lasagna) is the electrolyte, the aluminum foil is the anode, and the steel pan is the cathode." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_corrosion)

    With the ribs, the salty pork effluent is the electrolyte.

    Thanks for the comments gnawlej. As I mentioned to dtownmaker below i've rewritten that paragraph now as I don't think it came across right.

    Appreciate the tips on foil and pans. Thanks again.

    Oh, I had no issue with the original draft; I was actually agreeing with you. There are too many zealots who are convinced their way is the only way to Q. But if you're fretting over doing it "right," then you are missing the best part — enjoying food you like with people you like.

    Before you rub, pat the meat dry with a clean towel. I yank the tough clearish membrane off the bone side of the ribs with fine-toothed pliers.

    You can do this with a plain paper towel as well. it grips the membrane really well.

    Thanks for the reminder. I've updated the instructable to mention this.

    That looks delicious. I do have a smoker and grill but will try your method in the winter perhaps.

    I too am one of those who lives and breathes smokers and grills. I prefer to do my q'ing in the summer with a tall cold beverage, a good book, nice comfy chair and the grill/smoker doing it's thing. In the winter though I don't get many kicks out of trying to keep those things up to temp. I do very much like you have done and I get great results everytime. Two things, I often put my rub on and then some stone ground mustard and seal it all up in a foil pouch leaving one end open. I add some vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, and what ever other liquid gets in my way...cider being one of the favs. Seal it up and bake them like you have done. Be careful not to tear the pouch. Once they are done I put them over a sauce pan and poke the pouch to release all the liquid. I set it in a BIG bowl of ice to cool the liquid as much and as fast as I can. Once it gets cold the fat will solidify on top and you can pull it off. I then take the remain liquid which is setting to gelatin consistency and add that liquid to your BBQ sauce. All of that collagen ends up in the sauce and has an amazing mouth feel. Kudos on a great instructable!!!