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Cook the Book: Barbecue Beef Short Ribs

"Short ribs are notoriously tough and chewy if not cooked correctly but this hour-long steam makes sure they come out tender."

The words "indirect heat" used to send shivers down my spine. But this weekend, I overcame my fear of barbecue. Grilling up burgers, hot dogs, steaks, and seafood have never been an issue--it's the real-deal barbecue that makes me nervous. I have never bothered with dry rubs, aromatic wood chips, or grilling projects that take more than a half hour. I always figured barbecue should be left to the experts.

But Sunday was as good as any time to conquer my fear. I decided that this recipe for Barbecue Beef Short Ribs from Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book was going to be my first foray into serious barbecue.

Armed with bags of charcoal and hickory chips, I headed to the backyard and set up a little portable grill. Once the coals turned ashy, I added the hickory chips. Unsure exactly how to do this, I consulted the back of the bag. They needed to be soaked for fifteen minutes. Who would have thought? Not me, obviously.

Once the chips were soaked and added to the coals, it was time to cook the meat over indirect heat--er, but first, figure out how to do that. Chis Lilly breaks it down like this: "Situate the coals on only one side of the grill, leaving the other side void." By placing the meat over the side of the grill without coals, you achieve indirect heat and can cook for a longer time at a lower temperature without the risk of charring.

I placed the dry-rubbed short ribs on one side of the grill and sat back and waited. The ribs started cooking and rendering their fat, which dripped onto the coals and caused a troublesome flare-up. I took them off the heat, worried about burning them, but after the fire calmed down, threw them back on the grill. After a pleasant hour and a half of lounging in the grass, I placed the ribs in a foil packet, poured the stock on top, and put the packet back on the grill for an hour. Short ribs are notoriously tough and chewy if not cooked correctly but this hour-long steam makes sure the ribs come out tender.

Once time was up, I peaked inside the foil packet, pulling on the meat with a pair of tongs. Low and behold, they were perfectly cooked--awesomely smokey, peppery, and beefy. I wouldn't go as far as calling myself a pit master but my fear of barbecue vanished. I will certainly be firing up the grill a few more times before the fall.

Win 'Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book to give away this week.

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