BBQ Tips from Jacksonville Backyard BBQ

Co-founder Cole Pepper shares his secrets for great BBQ

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Summertime means time with family and friends and time to enjoy delicious foods. Whether you're putting together a party or just having dinner with the family, here are some tips to help you grill up some mouth-watering ribs!

Cole Pepper, co-founder of the Jacksonville Backyard BBQ championships to benefit Daniel Kids says there are three basic styles of barbecue preparation for cooking ribs. You can use one or a combination of styles to get your ribs just right.

Brining involves soaking meat overnight in a salted liquid with the goal of tenderizing the ribs before cooking. This method opens up pores of the meat and breaks down its connective tissue. You can brine in a pot, container or large plastic freezer bag.
1. Use sea salt or kosher salt – this coarser grain lasts longer in water (rather than dissolving like finer grains)
2. Use citrus juice- this is because citric acid is good at breaking down connective tissue and makes ribs very tender
3. Use this method more for spareribs than baby backs- this is because baby backs are already pretty tender, spareribs need more tenderizing

Dry Rub:
A dry rub is comprised of all dry ingredients and is rubbed on the meat by hand before cooking.
1. Consider timing of applying rub - some people apply the rub and leave overnight, some people do it a couple of hours before cooking and others put it on immediately before cooking. It's mostly a matter of preference; however, please note, the more sugar your rub has in it, the closer to cooking you will want to apply it because of carmelization
2. Be sure to balance sweet and hot – incorporate sweet elements, such as sugars or dehydrated maple syrup, as well as spicier elements such as paprika and cayenne, adjust amounts to your preference of tastes
3. Plan to Experiment- even if you tend to like things hotter, try a sweeter rub sometime, see how it impacts meat during the cooking process
* Check out Cole's personal rub recipe.

Wet Mop:
Wet mopping is exactly how it sounds, applying wet sauces to the ribs before and/or during the cooking the process.
1. Get your sauce set –start with a BBQ sauce you like, and then dilute it with water or lemon juice or both. You can even use lemonade, but be sure to use the old-fashioned kind with sugar, rather than ones with high-fructose corn syrup. Feel free to incorporate spices, either with a pre-rub or within the sauce itself.
2. Decide mop vs. spray – some people like to use a BBQ mopping took, others prefer a spray bottle. With a spray bottle you can set the nozzle between mist and a directional spray.
3. Plan how often to mop- keep in mind that every time you open up the grill or smoker – whether your ribs are cooking directly on the grill or within foil — you lose some moisture. Good barbecuing requires a balance between applying sauce and preserving the natural moisture of the meat. Be aware that you can mop more heavily during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking as carmelization won't be as much of a factor at that point

Cole Pepper's Rib Rub Recipe:

4 tbsp Pacific Blue salt
2 tbsp fine ground black pepper
1 tbsp butcher's cut black pepper
6 tbsp smoked sweet paprika
2 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp granulated onion
1 tbsp ground chipotle
1 tbsp ground ancho/poblano
4 tbsp turbinato sugar
4 tbsp granulated maple sugar
2 tbsp nutmeg
1 tbsp Ground Korintje Cinnamon
1/2 tbsp ground mesquite

Note: If you want to try Cole Pepper's Rib Rub, but don't want to go through the effort of making it you can buy it at the Green man Gourmet in Avondale- a proud sponsor of the Jacksonville Backyard BBQ Championships.

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