This Independence Day, hopefully you’ll be firing up a grill or a smoker, or if you’re like us, both. We’ve decided to provide you with a little bit of advice for this 4th of July in the form of a BBQ recipe! We like baby back ribs and beef brisket, so we’ll give you our dry rub recipe as well as instructions for our smoking technique. This rub can be used on everything from chicken to beef, not just pork; it really goes great with anything! The key is to get a little bit of heat and a little bit of sweet.
Dry Rub Recipe
What you’ll need for the dry rub is pretty simple, but it turns out delicious. We don’t use exact measurements, we eyeball everything so no need for a measuring cup! The rub ingredients are as follows:
- Your favorite beer
- Brown sugar
- Cayenne pepper
- Garlic powder
- Mustard powder
- Herb blend
First, crack open that beer and start drinking! Brown sugar should be used liberally; this will caramelize while in the smoker or the grill so it will be our main ingredient. I just put a splash of normal sugar on top for good measure. Use salt and pepper to taste. Add a bit of cayenne pepper, use as much or as little as you want, up to you – this is for the heat, so use some! Garlic powder can be used at your discretion, we use a lot as the sugar balances it out. Mustard powder can be strong, so use to taste and be careful with it. We usually put some herbs in with our rub, any Italian herb blend will work fine, use a little bit. Mix it all together using your hands, make sure it’s all blended! Do some taste tests and get it to how you want it, remember, brown sugar should be the most-used ingredient.
This dry rub can be used on chicken, pork or beef. It will caramelize, so it’s best to cook whatever meat you choose at a low temperature for a long time – this will make sure the sugar caramelizes and leaves a delicious crusty bark on the meat!
Baby Back Ribs
We’re going to do a bit of bragging…our BBQ ribs are among the best! We smoke our ribs and we prefer to use baby back. Years have been spent perfecting the smoking technique and the outcome shows it! Baby back ribs are a little more unforgiving when compared to spare ribs (or the St. Louis cut), meaning, these are a but leaner so it can be difficult to achieve a perfect smoke while keeping the meat moist the entire time.
Now that you’ve made your dry rub, we’re ready for the ribs. We take the membrane off, it’s located on the back of the rib. It’s a thin, almost fatty-looking layer of skin we’ll need to remove before we prepare the ribs; you don’t want to leave this on the ribs as it will become rough and unpleasant to eat later – no one wants that! We usually spread some yellow mustard on top of the ribs as well, it helps keep the rub from falling off.
Since every smoker is different, we’ll spare you an instruction on how to operate one (we assume you’re familiar already), but we will say that we prefer a median temperature of about 230F for baby back rib smokes. Our smoker temperature can vary, sometimes going up to 260F and sometimes dropping to 200F – it’s best to keep it steady at or around 230F! We also prefer to use cherry and pecan wood when smoking pork. We also use the same combo for chicken, both turn out nicely.
We smoke our ribs for about 3-4 hours total, depending on how thick they are and how hot the smoker is. Some people like to wrap their ribs in tin foil near the end of the smoke. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t, it’s pure preference. Wrapping them in tin foil can speed up the heating process and keep moisture in the ribs, so it can be helpful. You can even add some butter, apple juice or more dry rub. We don’t test the internal temperature on ribs, we do the toothpick test method to see if they’re done. If you can stick a toothpick into it and there’s no resistance, they’re done!
Our rub works nicely on KC brisket because it’s heavy on the brown sugar, which Kansas City BBQ is as well. Brisket is a nice piece of meat to smoke, most will say it’s not for the novice, but not everyone is an expert and there’s only one way to become one – try!
Beef brisket will need to smoke for about 1.5 to 2 hours per pound, so if you’ve got a 10lb beef brisket, you’re looking at a ~20 hour smoke! It’s well worth the wait as, if done correctly, this meat will melt in your mouth.
We sometimes prep our brisket a day early. Rub it all over with the dry rub then wrap it in cling wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight. There’s to parts to each beef brisket: the point and the flat. You’re seeing the flat in this picture, it has less fat in it (aside from the fat cap on the top of it).
You’ll want your smoker at or around 225F. We try to really keep it steady for as long as possible as brisket takes forever and it’s worth it to have a perfect smoker temperature. Like we mentioned, it’s going to take a while for this thing to get tender so keep the smoker door closed! We usually use a BBQ/meat probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the brisket and the temperature of the smoker. You’re done when the brisket has an internal temperature of 195F. If you want to wrap it in tin foil, do so at around 165F internal temp.
We wrapped ours this time, like we said, at around 165F and then let it finish wrapped in tin foil until it hit 195F internal temperature. Usually you’ll want to finish it up by putting it in a cooler or the stove to rest for an hour before you cut into it. This gives it time to settle down after cooking for 10-20 hours and allows the juices to spread out into the meat. This, in our opinion, is very important. It will continue to cook a bit during this time and it get very, very tender…melt in your mouth tender!
If all goes well, you’ll have some delicious sandwiches for Independence Day! You can add your favorite BBQ sauce too, but we usually just go with the rub – as long as you used a lot of brown sugar it should finish up just like a sauce! If you cut it right, you’ll also end up with burnt ends which are our favorite part. Enjoy!
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