Mustard vs. Mayo Ribs?? I know what you’re thinking. Has Grillin’ Fool Greg lost his mind? Who puts mustard or mayonnaise on ribs? This all began when The Grillin’ Fools, all of them, made an appearance on the Pitmasters Radio Network which broadcasts a weekly radio show covering all things BBQ. The show airs every Sunday at 4PM CST on The Big 550 AM KTRS in St. Louis. A listener asked if we ‘rubbed mustard on our butts!’ After a good laugh I thought about what I actually use mustard on. Brats and dogs were a given and I do use spicy brown mustard as a marinade for beef brisket but that was about all. I’ve noticed others applying a coat of mustard onto ribs and thought I should test it myself and since I have an affinity for mayonnaise (see Mayo Magic Chicken which has gotten rave reviews), and my son Scott did Mustard Magic Chicken recently, why not do a side-by-side cook and compare. So that is how we’ve now arrived at the battle between mean mister mustard and mild-mannered mayo.
Choosing which type of mustard was an issue. I opened the cabinet and the fridge and found what you see below. Ultimately I chose simple plain everyday mustard and the mayo choice was easy. I only had one.
Mustard vs Mayo Magic Ribs Ingredients
2 slabs baby back ribs
mayonnaise (use the light or olive oil version if you wish)
your favorite rub
Take a look at the ribs. They look meaty don’t they?
Ribs should always be skinned before they go on the grill. Here’s a brief pictorial on one method. I used my Jedi mind trick to insert that end of the spoon between the bone and the membrane to make room for my finger. Next I worked my thumb underneath the membrane to work it loose then pulled upward removing said membrane:
The rascal is slippery and a better grip can be accomplished with a paper towel:
For the prep place both slabs of ribs bone side up on the cutting board. The ribs will be coated with their respective slather then the rub will be applied then both sides will be flipped over and the process repeated:
Spread a nice even coat:
Don’t forget the sides and ends:
Follow the same procedure for the mayo slab:
Sprinkle a light, even coating of the rub blend onto the bone side of each slab:
Flip the ribs over to address the meat side with the slathers and the rub (go easy with the rub as more will be applied multiple times later):
Remember to dust the ends:
Wrap each slab tightly with plastic wrap:
Back into the fridge for 4-6 hours or preferably overnight.
Set up the kamado for indirect cooking with some lump charcoal. A coupla’ chunks of cherry and one hickory will add to the flavor profile:
For the most extensive list on the internet of smoke woods and what meats they pair best with, click here.
When the ribs are removed from the plastic wrap some of the rub will be lost:
Give the ribs another dusting before hitting the grill:
Do you notice how the mustard and mayo seem to have melted into the ribs already? The touched up baby back ribs are on the grill:
Anticipated cook time? 3-4 hours at 250 will be the target. Don’t get hung up on the time or even the temperature of the meat. The bones will tell us when to pull the ribs. When the meat pulls back from the bones a half inch or so they’ll be done. Here’s a peek one hour in and they’re browning a bit, the mustard and mayo are fading, and another dusting of rub is added:
2 hours in a bit of bone showing on the end of the ribs where the heat is likely a bit higher around the edge of the grill:
At the 2 hour 45 minute mark a couple ears of homegrown bi-color corn are added. A bit more bone showing and surface moisture is more apparent on the mayo slab (foreground):
3 ½ hours into the cook and the bones are talkin’!
Time to pull the ribs and loosely tent with foil to rest. Yes rest yo’ ribs!
Doesn’t that look good? Can you tell which one is mustard and which is mayo?
Time to carve them and get the taste test underway:
MmmmmMmmmm. Mustard vs mayo magic baby back ribs separated by fresh local corn with a side of homegrown tomato topped with my own egg salad. This is what makes this time of year so enjoyable:
And a bonus shot, just because I don’t know which one to use:
What’s the verdict? Which was better, mustard or mayo? Both were good however, and there’s always a however in life, the mayo magic ribs get the edge for moistness and a mildness that let the flavor of the meat and seasoning come through plus Mimi liked them best. Mean Mister Mustard Ribs provided a zestier flavor but were significantly drier than the mayo challenger. I guess this means that the next rib post might be a combination of the two. Mustard + Mayo Magic Ribs?
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or send me an email.
Since the mayo magic ribs were better than mustard, the recipe card below will feature the mayo.
- 2 slabs baby back ribs
- your favorite rub
- Remove the membrane off the bone side of the baby back ribs
- Slather your slabs of ribs with mayo on the bone side
- Give a nice coating of the rub
- Flip the ribs over and repeat on the meat side
- Wrap the mayo magic ribs in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 4-12 hours
- Prepare the grill for two zone or indirect grilling with coals on one side and meat on the other or in a kamado use a plate setter to deflect the heat away from the ribs
- Target temperature inside the grill is 250 degrees
- Remove ribs from the fridge and the plastic wrap
- Add another coat of rub for what stuck to the plastic wrap
- Place a chunk of smoke wood on the coals and the ribs on the grill
- Cook time is about 3 hours but let the meat and bones tell you when they are done
- When the meat pulls back about a half inch, they are done
- Remove the ribs from the heat and allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing and serving