Steamed BBQ Ribs: the Night Before the Cookout

Introduction: Steamed BBQ Ribs: the Night Before the Cookout

About: I'm a professional tattoo artist in Oregon. I paint, draw, and make stuff. I garden, swim, and read a lot. I bring my laptop to the riverside.

This is the best way I know of to cook ribs.

I use:

baby back ribs (I like the extra meat. You can use any kind)
or spare ribs

I've used a rack of pork ribs here.

spices that everyone knows about:
stubbs spice rub
garlic salt
onion powder
tapatio (if you like em hotter)

Lemon juice.
Good dark beer.
Maple syrup.

(alternative to beer+syrup? root beer soda!)

You'll need:

aluminum foil

An oven

Roasting pan big enough for all the ribs

advance planning

Step 1: Prepping the Meat

Take the meat and stick it in the roasting pan.Lay it in the pan so that it curves up, and the bones ends hold the meat up off the pan a tiny bit. This keeps the meat from "boiling" and lets it "steam" instead.

Now squeeze the lemon over them until you used ALL the juice. or if you haven't got a lemon, use concentrated lemon juice, about a quarter cup.

the lemon is the secret ingredient. It will make the ribs tangy and also help tenderize them.

Take the pepper, all 3 kinds, and paste it on top of the ribs. Make a nice thin' layer of it so it's coated with it. I use a lot of cayenne. It's just my personal taste, yours don't have to have as much as you see in the picture.

add a tiny bit of water. You want just enough to keep the very bottom of the ribs wet. If you want to use beer and maple, add these instead of water. I used a local dark stout but I've had good results from hefeweuzens and mead as well. Only use just enough of the liquid to touch the bottom of the meat.

The lemon doesn't taste like lemon after cooking- it just makes the meat's natural flavor stronger.

Cover the whole thing with aluminum foil, to seal the ribs into the pan. Foil is good, or you can cover the whole pan with a lid. I used a cookie sheet flipped over, since I had no lid big enough for the pan.

If you want the soy sauce in them (if you plan on using sweet bbq sauce or teriyaki later) go ahead and add that now too, but don't add any other salt if you use the soy sauce. If you're gonna use hot sauce, add that now too. Remember, just enough liquid to touch the bottom. Not too much of any ingredient. You want the meat flavor to be the strongest.

Step 2: Oven Time

I put the ribs in at 325, and cover the pan as completely as possible. We want to steam the ribs, not boil them. Boiling them can make them very greasy but steaming...just right.

I let them cook at that heat for about 45 minutes. Then I turn the oven on to about 200 and wait a few hours. This juices them up, or something. It's a slow wet roast, actually, and it makes them really soft.

When you turn the oven down, also cut a small steam vent in the top of the foil, or remove the cover partially. This will keep the ribs from getting soggy- the idea is to steam them so that the meat is juicy and tender, but not to soak them. Once the heat gets turned down they will be slow-cooking in their own fat and juices, not in the water. If you've cut a vent, leave them for about three hours. If you've removed the cover completely, give them about an hour and a half.

If you want to add some onion powder you can put that in now too. I think it tastes good.

Step 3: "setting" the Ribs

take the ribs out of the oven and let them cool completely. Then put them in a ziplock bag in the fridge or freezer.

Best way is to stick em in the fridge overnight, then finish them up the next day for dinner.

the cold makes the fat adhere to the meat and gets more flavor into them. Also then you can make them anytime you want, the hard work is already done. I make a couple racks at a time, and keep them frozen for last-minute barbecues...days when it is too hot in the house to cook indoors and I decide right before dinner I wanna grill something.

If you are very impatient, or sick of cooking and want a reward, take some while they're cooling, pour out some barbecue sauce into a small bowl, and dip away to reward yourself for all this hard work, then stick the rest in the fridge.

Step 4: Finshing the Ribs

You have a lot of choices here. My favorite thing to do is heat up the grill, then take the ribs and dip them in some sweet barbecue glaze. Throw them on the grill just long enough to cook the glazeand char the outside/heat them up on the inside.

and eat.

or you can roast them in the oven on very high heat after dipping in some barbecue sauce. Remember not to cook them for too long, you want to char them and heat them up only, not re-cook them.

or you can cover them with teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice (about half and half) and then fry them or grill them. I usually do this with the last few in the bag, I stirfry some onions and red peppers then at the end dip the ribs in the teriyaki sauce and put them in the wok just long enough to heat them up.

If you steamed them properly the meat will fall right off the bones.

You can use the juices from the roasting pan to cook stuff with instead of water (like ramen...makes it a whole different kind of food) or you can do what I do and pour some of it on the dog's food, to make him fat and happy.

Serve with a paper towel or a damp cloth. they are messy, that's half the appeal.

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    13 years ago on Step 4

    This looks great - and I will definitely try it with some ribs I have in the freezer waiting for a recipe. Thank you for the great Instructable - made me hungry. You had me right up till you suggested pouring that greasy pan drippings into your dog's food. Not good for the dog - no people food, please, especially fatty foods. Unless you want an unhealthy dog. The operative word here is "fat" And all that salt would be another whole health issue, leading to possible vet bills.

    Mr. Rig It
    Mr. Rig It

    14 years ago on Introduction

    I like your maple syrup idea along with dark beer, if you are looking for a maple flavor I bet this works great. But using all of those spices and ingredients, maple syrup and beer I would think you would not taste the actual flavor of the meat any longer. I am not saying your ribs don't taste good but I don't see how adding all of that stuff would give you anything that tasted like ribs. I think I will just have to come over and try them for myself :-) I will have to respectfully disagree about boiling ribs in marinade it doesn't make them greasy it actually cooks the grease out of them so they are less greasy.


    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    I do not use much of each ingredient. I guess I should say that in the text huh>? :) They have a mild sweet flavor right out of the oven. I find them a tiny bit less greasy this way- I think that since a lot of the grease drips down instead of collecting back on the top of the liquid, it's less greasy if you plan to fridge em overnight. Of course if you are cooking for an immediate after-boil barbecue it wouldn't make a difference- but the grease congeals if you've boiled them the night before and stuck them in tyhe fridge for the next day, in my experience. thanks for the comment, it was helpful. I'm going to add amounts now too.


    Reply 14 years ago on Introduction

    added some amount information. you just let me know when you're coming, I'll cook up a double batch for us! :)