Originally Posted by n0alpha
This one takes about 5 hours to make:
Boil ribs, then let 'em sit in barbecue sauce that's been specially mixed with a 12 pack of Pyramid ale for a couple hours. Then put them on a charcoal grill for slow cookin', and baste with more sauce.
The meat will literally slide off the bone, and it's deeelicious!
Two interesting points on this front - par boiling the ribs is a practice employed off-and-on, seems to depend where in the USA or in the world you are.
What makes ribs (or pork for that matter) 'slide off the bone', or in the case of pulled pork/Boston butt, become exceptionally tender, is a combination of cooking time & temperature.
When pork reaches about 190 degrees Fahrenheit, the fat and connecting tissues within the meat start melting. The tissue actually turns to gelatin I think at that temperature. The longer the meat stays at 190+, the more time this process has to work.
I'll bring a Boston butt up to about 180 on the grill, then wrap in foil - most of it's inner juices haven't melted yet - and transfer to an oven at 300 degrees F. I'll keep my thermometer in it, waiting for it to hit 200 degrees. From there, I can turn off the oven and let the residual heat finish it off. Once off the heat, it should rest about an hour (still wrapped) before you try to pull it, but it should come apart very easy - you don't even need thumbs if you did it right.
Another thing you can't get from propane is the 'smoke ring'. Good BBQ usually has a deep crimson ring, somewhere between 1/16" and 1/8" thick, visible when you cut through the meat on a bias (counter to the grain). You'll even see it on chicken a little...on turkey too. Pork and brisket show it very prominently.
To get a smoke ring, you have to cook the meat over charcoal, with the lid closed. It's a combination of the charcoal and a lack of oxygen that causes a chemical reaction with the meat, resulting in the smoke ring. You can even get it to show up on hamburgers if you do it right. The smoke ring is natures way of saying "You're in for a treat."