Burnt ends and rib tips are very different from one another. Burnt ends are made from the point of a well-smoked brisket while rib tips are a byproduct trimmed from St. Louis Style ribs. We've got a nice write-up on burnt ends if you want to know our favorite way to make this treat. This article will discuss rib tips and how to make them.
What are Burnt Ends?
Burnt ends are the edges of a beef brisket that has been slow smoked. After the brisket point has been smoked, the end is cubed and then grilled with BBQ sauce. You aren't really eating burned edges of beef, it's really just a heavily smoked part. When made the way we do, you end up with a crunchy, beefy, smoky snack. Here's our favorite recipe for sweet and savory Hollywood pork belly burnt ends.
What are Rib Tips?
Rib tips are sometimes called barbecue candy. They come from a strip of meat and cartilage when a full rack of pork ribs is trimmed. The tips have lots of gelatin and the muscle is fairly tough like you find with pork belly. This part is typically removed from the rack to make a more profitable cut, the St. Louis Style rib.
Where Did Rib Tips Start?
Like many of the best barbecue stories, the history of rib tips began with poor people and inventive cooking methods. This time, it was frugal folk in Chicago that began smoking rib tips. Around the turn of the 20th century, Chicago was one of the largest meat processing and packing cities in the US. At the time, rib tips were considered waste and were discarded. The people living in Southside Chicago began slow smoking rib tips with lots of BBQ sauce until they are juicy, crispy, and tender. The rib tips are a meat cut that has quite a lot of fat and develops a fantastic crunchy bark much like that of whole brisket burnt ends.
Today, Southside Chicago barbecue is world-renown for its delicious and flavorful rib tip recipes. The recipe we are going to share with you is derived from Chicago Style barbecue.
Rib Tips Recipe
Rib tips are a simple-to-make snack that is delicious and fun. You may not often see this cut in the store, but ask your butcher. Otherwise, you can buy a full rack of ribs and cut them yourself. The rib tips lie along the bottom of the spare ribs. You can use a knife to chop through the cartilage to separate the rib tips from the ribs.
This is a dish that requires some prep time so plan ahead. Keep the rib tips in the refrigerator and make sure they are completely thawed if they were frozen. Place them in a large bowl.
Step 1: Dry Rub
We are using our Black seasoning for the dry rub because it has the perfect combination of spices, cane sugar, and molasses to really capture the essence of Chicago style BBQ. Use as much as it takes to thoroughly coat the rib tips. This recipe is best with a dry rub that contains brown sugar and kosher salt.
Place the rib tips in the refrigerator uncovered for 2-4 hours.
Step 2: Prepping the Smoker
We are using our Traeger Ironwood 885 today. This is our favorite smoker because it gives consistent quality and it's easy to use. We are using hickory pellets for this recipe. We like the delicate flavor and the way hickory enhances the sweetness of the rub. Set your smoker temp to 225 degrees.
Step 3: Smoking the Rib Tips
Put the ribs in a large bowl and mop them with barbecue sauce. Then, place the rib tips in the smoker and make sure the temperature stays as close to 225 as possible. Smoke for three to four hours until the internal temperature is at least 145 degrees.
Step 4: Cutting and Serving
Transfer the ribs to a cutting board and let them rest for about 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut the rib tips into small sections. Serve with salt and pepper and a side of baked beans.
Other Ways to Make Rib Tips
By far, smoking rib tips is the most popular way to cook them. But if you don't have a smoker or want to try something a little different, you can make them on the grill. The trick is to use indirect heat and keep the grill at about 275 degrees. This will help to keep the rib tips from cooking too quickly and drying out while also allowing for the surface to develop a smokey flavor. Grilling rib tips takes around two and a half hours.
Reheating Rib Tips
If you should be so lucky as to have leftover rib tips, you'll want to know the best way to reheat them. They can be a little greasy when cold, so it's best to get the rib tips back to a safe temperature. Place the rib tips in an oven safe pan and preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Put a layer of BBQ sauce on the ribs to keep them from drying out. Cover with aluminum foil and place in the oven until the internal temperature is at 145 degrees. Remove the foil and let the ribs caramelize for 10-15 minutes before removing from the oven.
From Scraps to A Chicago Classic
Rib tips are one of those culinary curiosities that started out as a cheap way to survive and have now become a defining element of regional barbecue. Not to mention a nationally-known main course at smokehouses everywhere. The reason is simple, rib tips are delicious. Making rib tips in your smoker at home is easier than making burnt brisket ends. This dish cooks relatively quickly and gives you flavorful pieces of tender and delicious meat. Even though the standard is to use pork, don't be afraid to experiment. We recently made beef rib tips and it came out just as tasty as when we use pork.
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