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Cyndi Allison - Grill Girl

Rib Racks Make it So Much Easier to Grill or Smoke Ribs
Weber Rib Rack Review

Kum Ba Ya
Ribs on Weber Rack

If you’ve ever tried to grill or smoke ribs, then you know that ribs take up a lot of space. Though you can wrap ribs around in a circle shape and pin or tie them, that doesn’t work that well. Ribs are bad about going back to long and flat in shape. So, you end up wrestling ribs if you’re cooking more than a couple (and who the heck cooks only a few ribs?). Yep. Ribs can be a challenge . . . until Weber came out with the rib rack.

What is a Weber Rib Rack?

The Weber rib rack is such a simple piece of metal. It will put you to mind of the metal racks used in the office to keep papers in order. It’s just a metal contraption that has four slots for sliding in ribs just like you would use for papers or files.

Of course, rib racks are made of really sturdy metal. Weber is really good about quality. I’m replacing my old Weber charcoal grill this summer, and it’s been used (and even abused—it blew off a truck) for 15 years. Though I haven’t had the rib rack near that long, it’s rock solid.

I got the rib rack to go with my Weber Smokey Mountain Bullet. If you want really massive ribs, then consider getting a smoker.

Ribs on the Home Grill

It is possible to do good ribs on the grill, but it takes some planning and work. The key is to get the heat low and to cook the ribs a long time. Expect 3-4 hours for really yummy ribs. Ribs have cartilage which is tough, but that cooks down leaving super tender meat but only with a slow and long cooking approach. If you bend the ribs, and they do not bend easy, then you’ve not cooked them long enough.

Using the rib rack helps whether you are smoking or grilling (low and slow). Tilting the ribs sideways means that the heat and cooking are more even. When ribs are put on flat, they have to be turned, and they also tend to cook uneven. The rack takes care of those problems.

If you do want to cook good ribs, then I’d strongly suggest the Weber rack. It does make a difference.

How to Rack Those Ribs

Spray the rack with Pam to help prevent sticking (not a huge problem with ribs) and also with clean up. Pam now has a spray just for grilling, and that’s a good bet too.

Buy good ribs. Babyback are super. Other ribs are good too, but expect to cook a little longer if you’re buying less expensive ribs.

Rub the ribs. There are lots of good rubs on the market. Though I don’t care much for Emeril’s TV show, his rib rub is really good. Put that on a couple of hours before cooking or smoking. You can do that the night before. That helps on cooking day. You’re ready to go.

Put the rib rack filled with ribs on the grill or smoker. Smokers will usually have the directions. The basics are that you get a low heat going, put the ribs on, check a couple of times during the 4-6 hours. On the grill, you need low heat and the lid on. On a grill, 3-4 hours will usually do the trick.

Sauce on Ribs

If you want saucy ribs (oh yes), then smear on the sauce about a half hour before the ribs are done. If you put that on earlier, then the ribs will be scorched on the outside. Though you can wrap in tin foil with BBQ sauce, that blocks out the smoke taste which is really the whole idea with cooking outside. If you are going to wrap up meat, then you might as well bake it in the oven.

Cleaning Barbecue Rib Racks

Weber’s rib rack is pretty easy to wash. Expect to have some darkened spots on the metal. That’s no big deal. Just use a scratch pad and wipe down the rack. You can feel (with your fingers) if anything is stuck on. Just rub harder.

Other Meats on Rib Racks

You can put other cuts of meat in the rib rack. Chicken or pork chops and so on can go in the rack. Again, this helps as far as even cooking. It’s just not as critical with other smaller cuts of meat. Ribs are the hardest to cook and get right, and the rack makes it much easier.

Wish They Were a Tad Bigger

The only complaint I’d have with the rib rack is that it only holds 4 big ribs. The size is made for the Weber Smokey Mountain Bullet (which is small as far as width unless you get the new 2009 deluxe model).

You can get a second rack and do two levels on the smoker (Smokey Mountain has two levels) or get two racks and put them in larger regular grills (which can hold 2 racks).

With one rack, you can feed 8 people. Big ribs easily serve 2 people per rib. So 4 ribs will work for most families. If you want to cook for larger groups or want to freeze ribs for later (and they heat up as good or better than right off the grill), then think about 2 Weber racks. I’d say to buy one first and then decide.

Good Buy - Rib Racks

I’m really glad I got the rib rack. We’ve given it a good work out. I think I may buy a second rack. We like to have parties and also love the ribs warmed over later. They freeze and then can be heated in the oven for a great meal.

Since it takes so long to cook ribs, I’d say that bulk cooking is a good idea. Four ribs may not be enough even if they can feed 8 people. The more I think about, the more I think I’m needing another Weber rib rack.

 

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