PSA — DON’T throw out your ribs!

This is a short, but super important post! Do not throw out your venison ribs! I can not tell you the number of people I have heard from that don’t keep the ribs. It blows my mind. Here are the things you need to know to change your butchering practices.

-First things first, they are not hard to keep, contrary to popular opinion. Keep a bone saw in your butchering kit, and after you’ve quartered the deer, run the saw along each side of the spinal column to separate the ribs from the carcass. If you do nothing else to them, we call these large ribs dinosaur style in my house, and they are fun, if challenging to eat!

-Two. To make them a little more like traditional ribs, keep a spare blade for your circular saw in the garage. When you get home, run the circular saw down the middle of the rack of ribs, presto, traditional sized ribs!

-Along those lines. A lot of hunters will trim a lot of meat from the outside of the ribs. I like to leave as much of that on as possible, fat included. It keeps the venison ribs, which are already diminutive compared to a fat farm raised pig, from seeming like they don’t have any meat on them.

-And, just go ahead and prepare those ribs like you would a normal rack of pork ribs. They don’t need to be cooked as long, but they can be just as delicious.

BBQ Venison ribs with carrot puree, grilled baby taters and a smoked ring of red onion. -photo © Nick Schneeman

Simple Ribs Recipe

– take your ribs out of the freezer two days in advance, let thaw in the fridge.
– once they’ve thawed, hit em with a healthy dose of a dry rub. I suggest a mix of paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, white pepper, onion powder, salt and brown sugar, I also include a little corn starch or arrow root powder as an emulsifier. Go heavy on the salt and sugar. Make sure you coat both sides of the ribs.
– put the ribs back in the fridge for 8 hours, or at least two hours. The longer the better. They can easily be left over night.
– when they are ready, be sure to cook them low and slow. I like to do them at 180 degrees in a smoker for about two hours. You can also cook them in the over. Pro tip – put a baking pan or moisture basin underneath the ribs while they’re cooking, and pour two beers into it.
– after about two hours of slow and low cooking, hit them with a healthy amount of your favorite BBQ sauce, then transfer them to a HOT grill. Emphasis on the hot! You’re not trying to cook them anymore, you’re just finishing with a bang. The goal is to carmelize that sauce on your ribs. Start with the ribs bone side down. Sauce liberally again. Flip once for about 2 minutes. Serve with delicious sides and be amazed!


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