Memorial Day is nearly upon us. It’s the day when millions break out the grill for the first of the season. It’s a shame that people wait until Memorial Day to grill for the first time, as it should be a year round hobby, but as long as people are grilling, I’m happy as a clam. A grilled clam with butter and herbs!
But the reason for the extended weekend is not the barbecue yet most of us get caught up in that instead of the real reason. When not dabbling in this little hobby <cough> obsession <cough> While I will be doing a great deal of grilling, I will also take the time to acknowledge why we have an extra day off. I work in IT at the Veterans Administration Medical Center at Jefferson Barracks. The Medical Facility I work at is nestled between the Mississippi River and one of the biggest military cemeteries in the country with more than 160,000 internments. On any given day at work I could see a line of American Flags brandished by the Patriot Guard, hear the anguish of a lone bugle playing Taps or feel the jarring reports of a 21 gun salute. For me, the reason for Memorial Day is an almost every day reminder. But for the rest of us, this holiday is the reminder of those that have fought, and more importantly, died for this country:
So take some time this weekend to say a prayer for those that have lost loved one protecting this country, or donate to a veterans charity, or even just thank a living vet for their service. They have earned it and deserve such.
Now back to the grilling. This weekend there will be more than 50 million barbecues in the United States. A ton of them will have burgers and brats. And that’s fine. Just make sure you go to your local meat cutter to buy your sausages. Me, I do one of these every Memorial day:
Now I realize that not everyone has a grill big enough to do a whole hog, or the inclination to try something so large, (although it is much easier than you realize) but certainly we can find something in between an entire pig and burgers and brats. How about this Eastern Mediterranean inspired rib recipe done with St. Louis style ribs?
What are St. Louis style ribs? They are basically trimmed spare ribs. The rib tips, cartilage and sternum bone are removed, resulting in a rectangular slab:
The uniformity of the cut allows for more even cooking and better presentation which makes these a favorite of competition grillers.
Now onto that rub. This is more exotic than most of the standard paprika, chili powder, brown sugar rubs. And some of these spices can be pretty spendy. I try to find when they are blowing the spices out to pick up things like cardamom and coriander.
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl:
Skin the membrane off the back of the ribs and apply a hearty layer of course salt to both sides of the ribs:
Then hit the bone side with the rub and pat it in before repeating on the meat side:
Now prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling. On a Kamado style grill, use a place setter after putting in smoke wood (for this I used plum). For more conventional grills, place the coals and smoke wood on one side and the meat on the other. Target internal temperature is around 300 (plus or minus 25). Target cook time is about 2.5 – 3 hours.
This is called the high heat method, but in actuality is only medium heat (300) but doesn’t sound as good as high heat method. Ribs only take on smoke flavor for about 90 – 120 minutes, so keeping them on longer adds little to the flavor profile. And they will be cooked perfectly to just short of fall off the bone so a lower and slower method is really only extra work for the griller. I realize that some will never want their wives to know this fact as they relish their time outside near the grill. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone!
Place the St. Louis style ribs on the grill and close the lid:
After about 90 minutes the St. Louis style ribs are looking good, the meat is pulling back nicely, but the rub is looking a little mealy:
That is a simple fix. Drizzle some liquid over it. I happened to have some white wine, but could’ve just as easily gone with beer, apple juice or even water.
After a little over 2.5 hours, I pulled the St. Louis style ribs from the grill:
Check out the nice pull back:
And of course a great smoke ring:
If you have any questions about St. Louis style ribs or this rib recipe, please feel free to comment below or shoot me an email.
If you liked the pork recipe above, then click here for similar BBQ recipes.
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- 1 slab St. Louis Style Ribs, membrane removed
- salt to coat the ribs
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard
- Skin the ribs and salt both sides
- Mix the spices together in a bowl and spread on the bone side first
- Then cover the meat side
- Prepare the grill for two zone grilling with a target internal temperature of the grill of 300 (plus or minus 25 degrees)
- Smoke for 2.5 - 3 hours
- Remove from the grill, slice and serve