The secret behind juicy ribs that any at home chef can try

Don’t know your St. Louis from your baby back? It’s time to heed the words of Parlour Group’s Executive Chef Regan Porteous, who’ll help you serve up some spicy, saucy, sumptuous ribs from the comfort of your own home. 

Nothing satiates hunger more than a plate of melt-off-the-bone, sweet and savoury ribs. However, perfecting the taste and texture of this American favourite can be a little daunting for first time cooks.

Fear not! Parlour Group Executive Chef, Regan Porteous, serves up some sound advice to perfect your rib game at your next D.I.Y BBQ.

Make friends with your butcher

“You’ve got to start with finding a good butcher with quality ribs,” Regan says.

Finding a local butcher and talking to them about their product gives you a solid foundation for sumptuous ribs.

“They will also be able to give you a good recommendation on what meat to start out with”

Know your preference

Ribs come in all shapes and sizes. There’s baby back, flank-style, spare, St. Louis and riblets which all require different times, temperatures, and care.

Regan advises to start your journey through the world of ribs by opting for the most popular choice, a St. Louis rack of pork ribs because “They’ve got a great meat to fat to bone ratio”. That is, the fat on a St. Louis rack will provide the most flavour when rendered down through cooking.

Give it a kick

A kick of flavour, that is. Ribs crave the company of a decent marinade or rub. Regan recommends an easy, at-home rub that even a novice can perfect – the spice rub.

Your spice rub should contain:

  • 1 part salt
  • 1/3 pepper
  • 1/3 sugar
  • Add any seasonings you like, to taste.

“Generously season your ribs the night before, or at least three to four hours before cooking,” Regan says.

It’s all in the timing

Every decent rib cook lives by the mantra “Low and slow”. “Slow refers to a longer cooking period and low refers to the temperature you’re cooking them at,” Regan says.

The ideal cooking temperature for ribs is set at around 110 degrees celsius on a wire rack, in the oven.

Your recommended cooking times are as follows:

  • Lamb Rack: 1-1.5 hours
  • Pork Ribs: 3.5-4 hours
  • Beef Ribs: 5.5-6 hours

If you have a temperamental oven or grill, you can always put your meat through the skewer test. That is, put a metal skewer (not wood) through the meat. If you feel no resistance, your ribs are ready to go.

Avoid the leather boot

The pleasure factor from a plate of ribs comes from the melt-off-the-bone texture that a well-cooked rack boasts.

If your ribs are chewy, tough, or you have difficulty tearing the meat away from the bone, there’s a single culprit. “You’ve over cooked it,” Regan says. “This could be due to your temperature being too high or you’ve cooked it for too long.”

If you’ve tried many a hand at perfecting ribs and seem to end up with a leather boot instead, your easiest option is to head to Surly’s on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday for their American BBQ which features a heavy dose of spare ribs and other grilled delicacies that are sure to satiate even the more discerning rib connoisseur.