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Q&A - George Hixson on Ribs

Following on from his top 10 BBQ tips, we sat down (virtually) with master butcher George Hixson to get his advice on cooking one of the World's favourite BBQ meats - ribs.

From short ribs to St Louis, we know a lot of you like cooking them (and eating them), so read on for some expert opinion...

Tom Hixson of Smithfield

Q: To glaze or marinade?

A: Personally, I prefer an overnight marinade. This gives time for the rub flavour to develop within the meat.

Q: What's the best way to cook ribs?

A: On the BBQ for sure. In terms of key details, preheat your grill to high heat.
Place tin foil on lower rack to capture drippings and prevent flare-ups. Lay the ribs on the top rack of the grill (away from the coals, if you're using briquettes). Reduce heat to low, close lid, and leave undisturbed for 1 hour. Do not lift the lid at all.
Brush ribs with BBQ sauce (you know where to go for this!), and grill for an additional 5 minutes. I like to cut between each rib bone and pile onto a sharing platter so the group can devour together.
Q: Is
there a “cheat’s” cooking method for those of us without a BBQ or when the weather is less than perfect?

A: Keep this one a secret, but if time or the weather is against me I get a helping hand from the oven. Wrapped in tin foil it provides a ‘cheat’ even cook for the meat. Cook time varies depending on size of your ribs. I do finish on the grill though to get encourage at least a burst of BBQ flavour and crispness.

Q: What sauce would you recommend?

A: It depends on the flavour profile of the ribs and the rub you have used. One tip would be to find complementary flavours. There is a tendency with ribs to overload with very sweet sauces, which I am not a fan of. Also distracts and can cover up the taste of the meat itself. Each element needs to work in harmony. Ultimately, the end result together should be greater than the sum of its parts.

Q: And finally, any butcher preparation tips?

A: Trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. Run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and each rib, and snip off the membrane as much as possible.

Tom Hixson of Smithfield
A selection of Sauce Shop sauces are available to buy on the Tom Hixson of Smithfield website, check out their specially curated Sauce Shop Rib Box!
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