Ribs are one of those classic barbeque meats that people can’t get enough of. It doesn’t matter if you cook up the meat on a coal grill or gas grill or smoke it over some firewood.
The result is a delicious piece of meat that will leave your tastebuds wanting more.
One thing you can do before cooking or smoking ribs is to bring them. In this article, we are going to go over just what brining is, if it’s worth it, and how you can brine them.
By the end of the article, you’ll be ready to brine your ribs to perfection!
What Is Brining?
Before you learn how to brine ribs, you need to learn what it is in the first place! Hey, you can’t do something if you don’t understand what the heck it is. That’s just the equivalent of the blind leading the blind.
A brine is a saltwater solution. When you brine meat, you are exposing it to this mixture.
By brining ribs, you are helping not only enhance the natural flavors of the meat but also helping increase the tenderness and moisture you get.
Brining is a process that can take from 2 hours to twelve hours (or more). It depends on what type of meat you are cooking, how you are cooking it, etc.
At the very least, you must brine ribs for a minimum of two hours. By doing this, your meat is going to be. What the salt does to the meat is that it gets rid of some of the muscle fibers left on the cut of meat.
When there is less muscle on the meat, it means a lot more tenderness.
If you like meat that is on the tough side, this may not appeal to you, but for those who love tender and moist meat, it is something you should try.
Is It Worth Brining Ribs?
Remember what we said above. Adding salt to the meat eats away at the muscle fibers and makes the meat all the more tender.
If you want your meat tender, then it is necessary to add brine to your ribs.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a dry brine or wet brine (something we will cover later). What matters is the level of tenderness you want with your meat.
If you like their meat to be tough, then obviously, it’s not worth it to brine your ribs.
However, on the flip side, if the idea of eating tough meat is not appealing or you simply can’t do it, then it makes sense to brine the heck out of your meat.
How Can You Brine Ribs?
You know what brining is and whether it’s worth it or not to even brine your meat. Now we can finally get to the part where we tell exactly how to brine ribs.
Not only can you dry brine, but you can also wet dry. Both come with their benefits, which we will spell out below.
How To Dry Brine Ribs
When you plan to dry brine meat, all you need is some salt and a place to hold the meat, such as a tray or something.
Once you have the ribs placed in the tray, put a generous amount of salt on both sides of the ribs. The next step is to put it in the fridge and just wait.
Once it’s ready, take it out and grab some paper towels. This is so you can wipe the salt off the meat.
Keep in mind that it’s also possible to add other ingredients to the brine as well! This includes:
- Spicy ingredients like smoked paprika, chili powder, and cumin
- Ingredients with a kick like garlic powder.
- A fruity ingredient like coriander.
- Sweet ingredients such as brown sugar.
The most important part of dry brining is that you aren’t using any liquid. All you are using are the dry ingredients, which include salt and all the other ingredients we listed above!
How To Wet Brine Ribs
When it comes to wet brining ribs, you are using salt and liquid solution to soak the meat in. The amount of water and salt to use depends on the size of the meat.
Usually, you can do it with half a pound of salt per gallon or something similar. To brine, use the following steps:
- The best types of containers to use are something that is large and will safely contain the meat, like glass or stainless steel.
- Once you have the ribs in the container, go over to the stove and boil the salt and water brine. Make sure the salt dissolves completely.
- Next step is to keep the brine mixture in the fridge until it’s cold.
- Then add ribs to the mixture and keep them in the fridge again for another few hours. Again, it depends on how large the meat is.
One other popular method to enhance the flavors of the meat is to marinade it. Marinating meat has the same idea as brining it. It involves soaking the meat in a mixture, which helps enhance the natural flavors.
The biggest difference is marinades have an acidic ingredient to break down the proteins in the meat. Some examples of this are citrus juices and vinegar.
Also, the smaller the meat, the better it is to marinade. The larger the meat is, the better it is to brine. You, of course, don’t have to follow this. Just do whatever appeals to you more.
And there you have it all, you barbeque lovers out there! This is how you brine ribs before smoking them.
We covered what brining was in the first place and why it’s worth it to brine your meat. Then we shifted to how you can even do it in the first place!
Dry brining, wet brining, and marinading are all methods you can use to flavor your meat.
Unsure of what one to try? Well, just go ahead and try each of them out. What will help you decide are those taste buds of yours.
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.