Whether smoking or barbecuing ribs, marinating them is the best way to infuse flavor deep into the meat and make them more tender and moist. You can marinate for a few hours, but overnight is always best. Apple cider will tenderize the meat and give it a subtle sweet, apple flavor. The cider's natural sugar seeps back out during cooking and gives the ribs some caramelization when cooked. The mild flavor of apple cider compliments and enhances other herbs, spices and rubs.
Remove the outer membrane located on the bone side of the slab of ribs. Take a knife and slip it under the shiny membrane on one end of the slab. Pull the membrane back with slowly peel it off. You may need to use a paper towel, as it can be slippery. The membrane can be tough and needs to be removed because it prevents the marinade and seasonings from getting into the meat.
Discard the membrane and use paper towels to pat the ribs dry on both sides of the slab.
Apply and rub both sides of the slab with your favorite spice rub or seasoning salt.
Lay the rib slab into a large roasting pan or glass casserole dish. Pour apple cider into the pan, making sure the seasoned ribs are fully submerged.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place into the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, remove ribs from the refrigerator and discard the apple cider marinade. Pat dry and apply more seasoning or rub before cooking.
Stefano Marrero has been writing since 1992. He has contributed to various websites, including Octane360, covering everything from Sony televisions to potholes. Marrero has also written for several urban magazines and blogs. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from California State University, Long Beach.