Award Winning Ribs in Your Own Backyard? Lagasse Says Low Heat, Amstutz Uses Whiskey

Want award winning ribs? These guys know how to do them right.

The art of grilling ribs, is one that takes years for some to master, yet a rite of summer that most try to do at least once on the grill.

There are many ways to do so.

Most don't have a smoker, so the best way it to boil them first, a tradition which comes from Polish and Slovaks roots. Creating a dry rub after gives them a better taste, and from there its the way one grills them up.

Experts at the recent Fabulous Food Show in Cleveland, said adding sugar gives the rib a caramelized effect, which essentially browns them and seals in juices and to cook them, to do so over a lower heat as it will cook the ribs evenly.

That's where Emeril Lagasse says most go wrong, thinking high heat is the answer.

"You have to want to have one side hotter than the other," he said at the Food Show. "That way they don't char."

And with ribs, of course you have to have create a side, worthy of making it a meal. From baked beans to slaw, potato salad to corn on the cob, all seem to be a rite of passage during summer months.

But the real key is the sauce you chose after to coat the ribs.

While there are plenty of options at your local grocers such as Open Pit, Sweet Baby Ray's and others such as Avon's own Famous Daves  and Stubbs, if you ask the award winning ribmasters, you can have fun creating one yourself.

Just ask Dave Amstutz, from Perry Township Ohio, whose Jack-on-the-Bone ribs have not only won international acclaim, but even the award as best ribs in America.

Amstutz, who spent years in the restaurant business prior to creating his mouthwatering ribs and sauces, says its really simple.

"Its a two step process, first you slow cook it, then you grill it," the good-natured Amstutz said without disclosing his recipe. He did say the name of his award winning ribs, Jack-on-the bone, comes because of his spritz--a bottle of 100-proof Jack Daniels, with a spray top on it, that goes on right after they come off the grill.

Amstutz uses a very meaty St. Louis side rib. He says to get the taste that has won over millions, he first uses a rub of secret spices (of course) and then to give them a unique taste, smokes them with sassafras wood. After that, they are grilled with a special sauce rubbed over them.

The spritz is the finishing touch, but  Amstutz did say a key to making great ribs is sealing in the juices, and then more sauce, which is his own bottled recipe, and about as delicious as you can expect.

As for a side dish, Amstutz's homemade coleslaw is to die for, a sweet blend of cabbage and other ingredients not found in what you get in a store. But he also says that with grilled ribs, beans and corn bread are a must, both of which he also makes fresh each day.

Spartanburg, South Carolina native Solomon Williams, known as King Soloman after his award-winning Carolina Rib King, also knows how to cook them. After all, he is being featured on the Discovery Channel's Rib master on June 5.

"I make sure I have a meaty, tasty, fall-off-the-bone rib," Williams said with a huge smile.

Williams who learned to cook at a young age, sticks to his Carolina low-country roots when it comes to mastering the taste of ribs. Like Amstutz, he would not disclose his secret recipe, but stressed again to grill a good rib, before the sauce, its not only how you prepare the meat but also the spices you add to them.

He also smokes his ribs for at least five hours before grilling them.

For Porky n Beans ribmaster Dennis Carrino, who won his 500th national title at the Great American Rib fest in Cleveland last weekend, it's all in the sauce, which he says anyone can tweak and play around with to make something special for their guests. 

"I discovered you work on a sauce as much as you work on a seasoning," Carrino said. "For us it is a scientific method, and we spend a couple of hours with a food chemist and cross check everything to make sure one seasoning doesn't cancel out another."

As for what makes his ribs taste different than the others, it's how he cooks them. Most at home use a gas grill, but with Carrino, he uses not only applewood, but a few other woods mixed in with them.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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