South Charlotte

Great grilling: Make old-fashioned ribs at home

Warm weather means barbecue, and nothing says barbecue better than a steaming-hot rack of ribs.

Mouthwatering ribs take time, effort, TLC and patience. Perfect ribs take four to six hours to be done right.

Ribs should be cooked low and slow, at 250 degrees (plus or minus 25 degrees) because the meat fibers need time to break down, like brisket, so they're tender enough to eat. With higher heat, ribs will be tough and burnt.

The best ribs should never be falling off the bone. They should be tender enough to easily pull meat off the bone, but firm enough to leave teeth marks when you bite into them.

Many restaurants take shortcuts by steaming ribs to speed up the cooking process.

But you can easily make them the real old-fashioned way.

In preparation, first pull the thin membrane off the back of the ribs using a paper towel to grab it, and then trim any excess fat or meat.

Rub the meat generously with olive or peanut oil - or even better, bacon fat - then generously season and massage into the meat your own rub or any favorite commercial brand. Wrap the ribs up tight in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least six hours.