Barbecue Ribs: 1. If your ribs have not been already trimmed by the butcher, trim them as follows: 2. Place the ribs meat-side up on a cutting board. There is a line of fat at the base of the ribs; cut along it to remove the rib tips, they're composed of cartilage and add nothing to the ribs. Turn the meat over, rib-side up.
Cut off the flap of meat on the inside of the ribs. (The reason for removing these pieces is that they will burn well before the ribs are done. You can marinate and season these flaps with the rest of the ribs and grill them over direct heat for about 15 minutes, turning once. They are delicious.) 4. With the rib-side up, work a sharp knife under the tough, silver-skin like membrane that covers the bones. Working from one rib to the next, pull the membrane off the rib. (For a better grip, grab the membrane with a paper towel.) The membrane may tear and you may have to start over, but be patient â€“ removing the membrane allows the spices and smoke to penetrate the ribs, and makes the ribs much more attractive and easy to eat. This is also a good time to slice partially between each rib to make separating them later easier.
In a shallow, plastic or non-reactive pan or bowl large enough to hold the ribs, mix together 1 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup cider, garlic, bay leaves, 2 tablespoons hot sauce and the salt. Put the ribs in this marinade, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 16 hours, turning once during this time.
Remove the ribs from the pan 2 hours before you plan to cook them and pat them dry. Discard the marinade.
Sprinkle the ribs all over with 1/2 cup of the rub, patting it on with your fingers. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1/2 hour before grilling; this will help prevent the meat from "seizing up" and becoming tough when placed on the grill.
Mix the remaining 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 3/4 cup cider, and 1 tablespoon hot sauce. You will apply this basting liquid to the ribs about once every hour or so with a spray bottle.
. (optional) Soak about 3 cups of wood chips (hickory, oak or apple) for at least 1/2 hour in cold water.
. Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for indirect grilling over low heat . (optional) Drain and add 1 cup of the wood chips (for a gas grill, place wood chips in a disposable aluminum pan under the grating where they can smolder and smoke).
. Place ribs on the grill meat side down and grill the ribs, covered, until they are crispy, and the meat has pulled back from the bone, 3 to 4 hours, depending on the heat of your grill. Spray the ribs with the vinegar-cider mixture every hour, and turn them once during grilling. Don't forget to add more wood chips (optional)â€”and, if using charcoal, more coalsâ€”as needed (check every hour or so). You should have enough soaked wood chips for about 3 hours of cooking time; if your ribs take longer, you will need to soak more chips.
. If the ribs are done before you are ready to eat, wrap them in heavy-duty aluminum foil and leave them over very low, indirect heat for up to 1 hour.
. Remove the ribs from the grill, spray or baste with any remaining basting liquid, and sprinkle with the remaining the 1/4 cup of rub. Serve as is, or with Vinegar Sauce. BBQ Rub: 1. In a sealable, clean container large enough for all the ingredients, combine the ingredients and seal the container. Shake the container briskly to completely and evenly distribute all the ingredients.
Label the sealed container and store in a cool, dark place until needed. Vinegar Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Use immediately, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.