Gaucho Beef RibsSteven Raichlen
Gaucho Beef Ribs
- Yield: Serves 2 to 3
- Method: Spit-roasting and indirect grilling
- 2 7-bone racks of beef long ribs (each 2-1/2 to 3 pounds), or 1 large rack (5 to 6 pounds)
- Coarse (and I mean coarse) sea salt
- Cracked black pepper (optional Brazilians don't use it, but I like the way it rounds out the flavor)
- 1-1/2 cups oak or other hardwood chips (optional)
Step 1: Prepare the ribs: Place the ribs meat-side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack by inserting a slender implement, such as a butter knife or the tip of a meat thermometer, under it. The best place to start is on one of the middle bones. Using a dishcloth, paper towel, or pliers to gain a secure grip, peel off the membrane. Right before cooking, very generously season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper. (The latter is optional).
Step 2: Rotisserie method: This method brings you closest to the beef ribs served at Fogo de Chao. (The campfire ribs are largely for show.) Thread the ribs on the rotisserie spit: Using a sharp, slender knife, make starter holes in the center of the meat between every two ribs. Twist the knife blade to widen the holes; this will make it easier to insert the spit. Repeat with the remaining rack. Use an over and under weaving motion to thread the spit through the holes in the racks of ribs. Two will fit on a large rotisserie, otherwise you’ll have to cook one at a time.
Set up the grill for spit-roasting following the manufacturer’s instructions and preheat to medium-high. Place a large drip pan in the center of the grill directly under the spit. Attach the spit to the rotisserie mechanism, turn on the motor, and cover the grill. Spit-roast the ribs until they are well browned, tender, and cooked through, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. If using a charcoal rotisserie, replenish the coals as needed.) When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/2 inch. If you like, the last half hour, baste the ribs with any fat in the drip pan.
Step 3: Indirect grilling method: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium (350 degrees F). Place the ribs on the grate, rounded side up, over the drip pan. If a light smoke flavor is desired, toss the wood chips on the coals or place in your gas grills smoker box. Cover the grill and indirect grill the ribs until they are well browned, tender, and cooked through, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/2 inch. Replenish the coals as needed.
Step 4: Campfire method: Build a brisk campfire. Attach the ribs to a vertical metal stake (use wire) and stand them in front of and 12 to 18 inches away from the fire. Roast the ribs until they are well browned, tender, and cooked through, 1-1/2 to 2 hours (or as needed). Add logs to the fire periodically and turn the ribs half way through so the other side roasts the same way. When the ribs are done, the meat will have shrunk back from the ends of the bones by about 1/2 inch.
Step 5: Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and cut into 1 or 2-bone sections. Serve at once and get ready for some of the best beef ribs on Planet Barbecue.