My family loves them some ribs. Slow smoked over a cherry wood fire, and loaded with layers of spicy datil pepper flavor. You’ll need lots of napkins or paper towels on hand for Charles Ray’s Ribs. They’re guaranteed to have you licking your fingers and smacking your lips in delight. You just have to be really patient with this meal. Smoking, or “Smokin’” like a true Southerner would say, takes time. Lots of time. Five to six hours of time. But to quote my crazy husband: “What’s time to a hog?”
Charles Ray is king of the smoker. When he cranks it up, he cooks enough food for a small army. CR, as I lovingly call him, packs the smoker with ribs, chicken, venison and sausage. The more meat the merrier. Sometimes I think he forgets that we don’t have a house full of boys any more. It’s a good thing we have more than one refrigerator, as Charles Ray always ends up with several large pans of meat, piled high with smoky goodness. There’s nothing that gets CR more excited about summer than a huge platter of smokin’ bar-b-que ribs, grilled corn and a loaded baked potato. Our youngest son, Hunter is home for the summer, and has caused quite a stir during his lunch break at work by taking left over ribs to eat for lunch. His co-workers have been quite jealous, to say the least.
You want to buy organic or antibiotic-free ribs. They may cost a little more, but you only eat ribs occasionally, right? So get the best quality, healthiest option available. Then you can feel good about “pigging out” on these ribs.
Eating meat with added hormones and antibiotics is causing a huge health crisis worldwide. I gave up meat altogether over 24 years ago because I was allergic to to the steroids being fed to meat and poultry. At that point in time, organic or antibiotic and steroid-free meat was not an option unless you lived on a farm and raised your own animals, and I’ve never lived on a farm. Today you can go in just about any grocery store or market and find good quality meat and poultry that’s actually good for you, and the taste is far superior. We already have all the hormones we need in our bodies. More is not better in this case. I don’t eat much meat, but what I do is sustainable, organic and antibiotic and hormone free.
As a nurse, I’ve seen many people who’ve become resistant to antibiotics, causing a rise in super-infections, which can lead to prolonged illness, and even death, especially in children, the elderly, and anyone whose immune system is already compromised. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to human health. The antibiotics in meat can kill off the good bacteria that live in your digestive system. These good bacteria help us to digest food and boost our own internal immune system. We need to protect them in order to keep our gut healthy. Food can and should be healing, not harmful to our systems. Save the antibiotics for when you are sick and really need them.
OK. So now you have your organic, antibiotic and hormone free ribs in hand. What’s next?
These are no ordinary bar-b-que ribs. These are extraordinary ribs. Made with not one, not two, not three, but four of my Old St Augustine Gourmet Datil Pepper products. We’re talking ribs that are juicy, tender, falling off the bones, and packed with sweet, smoky, spicy goodness. Layers and layers of flavor that really sets these ribs apart from the rest. I have perfectly blended my Old St Augustine Gourmet (OSA Gourmet) spices and sauces complement each other. They are guaranteed to spice up your ribs and anything else you cook with them.
“Messy But Good,” a song played by blues legend B.B. King, is the perfect accompaniment here. I grew up in the South, and nothing goes together better than listening to the blues and messy, but good ribs. We’re talking finger food here. No need for a knife and fork. There’s something satisfying and sensual about eating with your hands, and something primal about eating ribs. Long before man invented silverware, people ate with their hands. I am a stickler for manners and etiquette, but you just have to throw all that to the wind when you are eating ribs. This is outdoor comfort food at it’s very best.
Look for racks of ribs that are the same thickness throughout so that they cook more evenly. Remove the tough membrane from the back of the ribs by running a table knife underneath. Once you have a flap pulled up, you can grab it with a paper towel and pull straight across to remove the entire membrane. Occasionally it takes a few tries to get most of it off. By making a pocket with a table knife underneath the membrane, you can also use the back of a wooden spoon to remove the membrane. Or you can just ask the butcher to remove it for you in the store.
A wood or charcoal fire is best to create the smoke you’re looking for. Even if you’re using a gas grill, you’ll need some wood chips to flavor the meat. Experiment with different kinds of wood. Mesquite, pecan, oak, all impart distinct flavors to your smoked foods. CR used cherry because we like its sweet, subtle flavor, and the hurricane last year blew down a cherry tree in our back yard, so we have plenty of it.
Soak the wood chips in warm water for at least 30 minutes before using to prevent them from burning. If you don’t have a wood chip box for your cooker, you can make one from a square of aluminum foil. Put the soaked wood chips in the middle of the foil and close up tightly. Take a fork and poke holes in the top of the foil packet to keep the moisture in, and allow the smoke to escape. A pan of water in the bottom of the smoker, and over the coals, is also essential to keep the ribs moist. Just make sure to check on it when you check the meat, and refill the water if necessary. Kingsford Charcoal has some great online tips for grilling and smoking all kinds of meat. Check it out at: https://www.kingsford.com/how-to-food/#tQtE1JRmu1icGPTh.97
Rub both sides of the ribs generously with 1st Place Scovie Award Winning Old St Augustine Datil Jerk Seasoning, place them in a large pan and cover with aluminum foil for 1 hour or up to overnight. This allows the Datil Jerk to penetrate the top layer of meat. Layer number one.
When you’re ready to cook the racks of ribs, slather both sides with Old St Augustine Gourmet Jalapeno Honey Mustard, (okay, no datil peppers in this one, but the jalapenos are the perfect compliment to the honey mustard.) Place the ribs on the smoker over indirect heat. Cover the smoker and cook at 250 degrees F. Don’t peek for 3 hours to allow the meat to take on a smoky flavor. Layer number two.
After 3 hours, remove the meat from the smoker, and replenish the coals and wood chips if necessary. Baste the ribs with World Hot Sauce and International Flavor Award Winning Old St Augustine Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade. Wrap the racks of ribs in aluminum foil and place back in the smoker for another 1-2 hours. Layer number three.
Once again, take the ribs out of the smoker and remove the aluminum foil. Baste both sides with 1st Place World Hot Sauce Award Winning Old St Augustine Gourmet Sweet Heat Bar-B-Que Sauce, and return the ribs to the smoker for another hour to caramelize the Bar-B-Que Sauce. Layer number four.
Wood chips for smoking, soaked in water at least 30 minutes to prevent burning
Plenty of napkins or paper towels
Prepare the ribs by removing the membrane from across the back side of the ribs.
Generously rub both sides of the ribs with 1st Place Scovie Award Winning Old St Augustine Datil Jerk Seasoning. (This is not an exact science. Use as much or as little as you like. No need to measure.)
Place ribs in large pans and cover with foil. You may have to cut some of the ribs apart to get them into the pan.
Allow to marinate in the refrigerator at least 1 hour or overnight.
Place desired wood chips in a pan of warm water and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes to prevent them from burning.
Meanwhile, prepare the smoker or grill. You will want an indirect heat method, and a constant temperature of about 250 degrees F.
Once the fire is burning well, place a pan of water over the coals.
Remove ribs from the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
Remove ribs from pan and slather them on both sides with Old St Augustine Gourmet Jalapeno Honey Mustard. (I repeat, this is not an exact science. Use as much or as little as you like.)
Place ribs on the grill rack and cover grill tightly. I know you are tempted to remove the cover and check the ribs, but leave them alone. Only uncover the meat to adjust the temperature to keep an even 250 degrees F (Each time you remove the lid, it adds at least 5 minutes more to the cooking time, and changes the temperature inside the smoker.)
Cook the ribs for 3 hours.
Remove the ribs and brush on a generous amount of World Hot Sauce and International Flavor Award Winning Old St Augustine Gourmet Fountain of Youth Datil Marinade (Once again, this is not an exact science. Use as much or as little as you like.)
Cover ribs with foil and return to the smoker. Cover smoker tightly and cook for another 2 hours.
Remove ribs from the smoker and dispose of the foil.
Brush ribs on both sides with 1st Place World Hot Sauce Award Winning Old St Augustine Gourmet Sweet Heat Bar-B-Que Sauce. (Last time, I swear. This is not an exact science. Use as much or as little as you like.)
Return ribs to the smoker for another hour. The meat should be tender and juicy, and pulling away from the bones.