When you drive around Texas - at least here in Houston - there are vendors at the side of the road with their barbecue grills and smokers. When folks gather together, you can be sure that at least some of the food will be smoked. No, that doesn't mean burnt - unless Uncle Bob forgets about the food.
So, what do you need to prepare smoked BBQ ribs? For starters, you'll need a smoker grill. Pricing starts very modestly and can get pretty steep. There's a smoker for everyone's taste and budget. You're also going to need some coal and some flavored wood chips if you prefer. These help enrich the smoke flavor.
This is kind of a no-brainer, but you need some ribs also. Head to the meat market and take your pick. As long as it's meat, it's Texas style. Then, you need to have barbecue sauce, right? In Texas, that's often prepared as a side, rather than used to baste the meat.
Texas Style BBQ Sauce
Homemade sauce is best, but if you buy, at least buy local for authenticity and freshness. This is enough sauce for one rack of ribs. Mix the following ingredients together in a blender: 16 ounces of tomato sauce, 5 green onions (scallions), 4 garlic pods, 1 tbsp of black pepper, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp dry mustard, 1 tsp sea salt.
Once these ingredients are blended well, transfer them to a medium-sized saucepan and add ½ cup water and ¼ cup vinegar. Simmer for 30 minutes or more, removing from heat once the sauce achieves your desired thickness. Stir frequently to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan.
Texas style smoked BBQ Ribs
To prepare the ribs, season them lightly with just a dash of pepper and wrap them in foil. Leave an unclosed gap at the top - maybe an inch wide and 3 or 4 inches long. This allows for moisture. Place the ribs in the smoker grill. After 30 minutes, you may need to add a little bit of water to your ribs. You can do this easily with a spray bottle. Repeat as needed.
The ribs should smoke for about 6-10 hours. Depending on the cut of meat you get, increase the time as needed. Some may wish to apply the barbecue sauce right before the meat is done. Others may wish to set it aside and let everyone apply their own.
Pair with one or more of these dishes for more Southern flavor: