Deep Fried Ribs
I know what you’re thinking. Deep fried ribs? We’re the Grillin’ Fools, not Fryin’ Fools. But I smoked the ribs for two hours first and THEN I deep fried them. Does that count? You still get plenty of peace and quiet outside around the grill, and maybe an adult beverage or two if you are so inclined. After that, you deep fry the grilled ribs. So we’re still Grillin’ Fools, who happen to enjoy some beer batter and 350 degree peanut oil. And the vast majority of this recipe was done on the grill with the last 10 minutes inside. So it’s mainly a grilling recipe.
Here’s the spot I did on KSDK Channel 5 with Heidi Glaus where I made these ribs:
We’re grilling/frying in stages, so I will list the ingredients in stages as well.
The first step of the process involves making some grilled ribs. Start by rubbing the ribs with your favorite rub. Mine is outlined below.
Deep Fried Ribs Rub Ingredients:
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tbsp granulated garlic
2 tbsp turbinado sugar (or sugar in the raw)
1 tbsp sweet paprika
Salt to taste
That’s enough rub to coat two slabs of grilled ribs, but you will only see me do a half slab in this grilling recipe:
Why didn’t I do two hole slabs? What can I say? I wasn’t entirely sure I would hit the ball out of the park on the first pitch. Having never done them, I was worried they would be oily, or tough or the combination of spices I use in my rub and what I used in the breading wouldn’t go together well. I don’t know what I was worried about. I hit the proverbial homerun on the first try. And so can you if you follow these foolproof instructions.
Let’s prepare for the first part of this, the grilling. Flip the ribs over so the meat side is down and hit the bone side with a coating of salt and then a heavy dose of the rub (if using a store bought rub, and the first ingredient is salt, skip the salt, there’s enough in the rub):
Then flip and repeat:
Why rub bone side first and meat side second? So the concave of the ribs elevate the rub off the cutting board and keep it from sticking and require the rub to be reapplied. Start with the meat side first, flip and do the bone side, then when you take them off the cutting board to start the grilling, there will be a stripe of rub stuck to the board. That doesn’t happen when you do bone side first.
Then throw the baby back ribs on a grill and smoke indirect at 275-300 for two hours:
Got some nice smoke from a chunk of white oak:
After 60 minutes of grilling the ribs look like this:
At the 2 hour mark, pull the ribs from the grill and allow to cool for about 30 minutes (toss them in a ziplock and into the freezer for about five minutes to accelerate the cooling process):
Now time to get to work on the deep frying part of the recipe. You can do this on the stove in a pot and guess as to what temperature you want. You could buy an oil thermometer and wait forever for the oil to get to just the right temperature after adjusting the burner a few times and waiting for the oil to come to temp or you can pick up one of these and save yourself a whole lot of time and adjusting:
Full disclosure here. I was given this turkey fryer from the head of Masterbuilt, John MacLemore, during a recent visit the Masterbuilt folks made to St. Louis, all of whom couldn’t be nicer. Seriously great people. I’d heard of deep fried ribs a couple days prior and was actually pretty giddy to be given a turkey fryer as I was dying to make a mess of them. And this little unit has some pretty sweet features which made it a breeze to use. I’ll do a product review shortly and outline all the bells and whistles. Until then, just know that this thing is a great device that can do more than deep fry. It can also steam and boil. John told me that it does a mean seafood boil that I need to try soon being the seafood junky that I am. He also mentioned deep fried steaks and you know I’ll be going there soon! If you want to pick one up for yourself, you can get one here: Masterbuilt 20010611 Butterball Professional Series Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer, Black
I filled the turkey fryer with a gallon of peanut oil and turned the dial to 350 and went to work on breading my ribs. By the time I was done prepping the breading ingredients, the oil was at 350.
When doing fried chicken, I like to do dry, wet, dry to get a really heavy coating of the crunchy fried coating. Same thing here, but I’m also channeling the pumpkin theme throughout this recipe.
Deep Fried Ribs Wet Ingredients:
12 oz milk
4 oz pumpkin ale (substitute your favorite beer if not using my pumpkin rub)
Whisk the ingredients in a bowl and don’t let that other 8 ounces of pumpkin ale to go to waste:
Deep Fried Ribs Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2 tbsp pumpkin rib rub shown above
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
The Masterbuilt turkey fryer has a basket that I set on a plate to grab the excess flour near the wet and dry mixtures and sliced my cooled half slab into individual ribs:
I then proceeded to dredge the ribs through the flour, into the milk/egg/beer wash and then back through the flour for the dry, wet, dry:
I’m sorry I didn’t get more pics of this process. Frankly it’s pretty messy and hard to dredge ribs with one hand while taking pictures with a DSLR with the other.
One note on the breading. This is not a light and fluffy tempura batter or a subtle breading for a piece of fish. This is a hearty breading that stands up well to what it’s adhered to, a rib.
After I breaded them I put them in the basket:
And then put the soon to be deep fried ribs in the heated oil:
This only takes between 3-4 minutes to make the breading golden brown. Remember, the ribs are cooked through already. And these are not the thickest of ribs. Pickins were slim at the grocery store.
After about 4 minutes they looked like this:
I placed them on a paper towel before plating them to soak up any excess oil which there was little:
If you were playing along at home, you might’ve noticed there were 7 ribs in the basket and only 5 on the plate. I had to do some quality control and was more than elated at how good they were. They stand up on their own, but I wanted to take them one step farther. To do so, I busted out a bottle of the Crawdad’s Classics Gourmet Dipping Sauce and put about six ounces in a small pot and warmed it up, although you can use whatever BBQ sauce or dipping sauce you prefer.
And then I drizzled that warm gooeyness on the deep fried ribs. I have to warn you, I’m going to go a little overboard with the pics of the sauced ribs. I couldn’t help myself:
How do I sum these ribs up? First, they are unlike anything I’ve ever eaten. I’ve done ribs with only a rub, only a sauce, with both a rub and a sauce. I’ve done them low and slow for six hours and mimicked the Rendezvous method and gone hot and fast. These are like none of them. They are smoky, crunchy, savory, sticky, and sweet. When was the last time you had a crunchy rib and that was a good thing?
I offered a bite to my wife, her nose wrinkled in disgust from the moment I held a bone up and asked her to try one. She is not a fan of anything smoky and ribs in particular. Ironic I know! She begrudgingly took a bite and then took another. She finished the rib and promptly called her mother and father and beckoned them to come over to try them. I’m not kidding! Her explicit words on the GrillinFools Facebook page were that these are, “Insanely delicious.” She’s my wife, so she’s supposed to say that right? Like I said, my wife is not much of a BBQ fan. Dig through the Facebook page and you won’t find another comment by her. It’s just not her thing, but these were!
I’ve use the word homerun to describe many recipes on this site. To do so for this one would do the recipe an injustice. This recipe can be best described as back to back to back homeruns. Run, don’t walk, to get yourself a couple slabs and a deep fryer to try this grilling recipe (that also involves a little frying).
If you have any questions about the above dish please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.
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- 1 slab of baby back ribs, skinned
- 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tbsp granulated garlic
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar (or sugar in the raw)
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- Salt to taste
- 12 oz milk
- 4 oz pumpkin ale (substitute your favorite beer if not using my pumpkin rub)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp pumpkin rib rub shown above
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
- Combine all the ingredients except the ribs in a bowl and mix together thoroughly
- Give the ribs a heavy coating of the rub starting with the bone side first
- Prepare the grill for two zone grilling: coals and smoke wood on one side and nothing on the other
- Target internal temperature of the grill is 275-300
- Place the ribs over the side with no heat
- Remove the ribs when the meat starts to pull back from the bone about a half inch (approximately 2 hours)
- Allow to cool on the counter and then slice
- Preheat the oil in the deep fryer to 375
- Mix the milk, beer and eggs in a bowl and whisk till blended
- Mix the flour, dry rib rub, salt and pepper in a bowl
- Dredge each rib in the flour mixture, in the beer/milk/egg bath and back into the flour and then into the basket for the deep fryer
- When all the ribs are in the basket, drop them slowly into the preheated oil and fry for 4-5 minutes until the batter is a golden brown
- Remove from the oil, place on a platter with paper towels to soak up the oil and serve