Takeo Spikes boasts an impressive 15-year NFL career from 1998-2012 playing as an offensive linebacker for five NFL teams, including Cincinnati Bengals (1998-2002), Buffalo Bills (2003-06), Philadelphia Eagles (2007), San Francisco 49ers (2008-10), and San Diego Chargers (2011-12).
Spikes played collegiately at Auburn University from 1995-97. In 1997, Spikes was first-team All-SEC after leading Auburn with 136 tackles, was named Football News’ Defensive Player of the Year, and was named a first-team All-American.
Spikes left Auburn to enter the NFL draft in 1998, and he was a first-round pick (13th overall) by the Cincinnati Bengals. Spikes appeared in 219 games during his NFL career, which ranks 13th in NFL history among linebackers. He started in 200 games, which also places him in a very elite class of only seven linebackers to ever do so. Takeo Spikes was a two-time all-pro and a two-time Pro Bowl selection. Spikes’ leadership on the field was mirrored by his leadership off the field. He served as team captain 12 times during his 15-year career. And he was an active member of key committees with the NFL Players Association, including playing a role in the 2011 CBA negotiations.
Currently, Takeo Spikes appears regularly as a host on SiriusXM NFL radio. Spikes is also a professional photographer and is currently developing a book profiling Hall of Fame NFL players. He loves to cook and support causes close to his heart, especially youth development and cancer prevention. He has one daughter and resides in Atlanta, GA.
Below you can find Takeo’s recipe for making the perfect ribs on the Big Green Egg…and also a photo of him with an XXL at our HQ in Atlanta, GA.
Take ribs out of the fridge and begin prep work. This will take about 30 minutes to an hour.
Remove the membrane, which is a thick plastic-like skin over the boney part of the ribs. Removing this allows the smoke to penetrate the meat better. Pry up on the membrane using a knife or other sharp utensil. Then grab the membrane with a paper towel and pull it clean off.
Then I apply a light coating of yellow hotdog mustard to the boney side of the ribs to help the rub to stick real good.
Once the boney or bottom side of the ribs are coated with mustard and rub. I flip them over and do the same with the top side…light coat of mustard then sprinkle on the rub. Not too thick but enough to cover the ribs real good.
Once the ribs are coated on both sides with rub and mustard, I leave them there to go get the EGG ready.
Make sure you have plenty of lump charcoal in the fire bowl. I like to have it up to the top of the bowl, which is an inch or two above the air holes.
Place the convEGGtor in place with the legs facing up then place the grate on top of that.
If you are worried about the drippings on your convEGGtor, you can place a drip pan on it or some foil which can be easily thrown away when you’re finished cooking.
After the coals have been burning for about 7 minutes, close the dome and leave the bottom and top vents all the way open until the EGG reaches about 230°F/110°C.
While the EGG is heating up, go ahead and get the ribs and place them on the grate bone side down.
Once the EGG reaches 230°F/110°C, adjust the vent at the bottom and the top to hold this temperature. For me, that means the daisy wheel at the top is only slightly cracked open at about 20% open and the bottom vent is open about ¾ of an inch or so.
This is where the 2-2-1 method of making the ribs tender really starts. Start a timer or just make note of the time because the ribs will only stay in this current configuration for 2 hours.
Once 2 hours are up, the ribs should be wrapped in heavy duty foil or an easier method is to place them in a large foil pan with foil covering the top tightly. Then place back on the EGG. Some folks put (only a little) apple juice down in the pan to create more steam and flavors. It is this steaming action that super tenderizes the ribs.
This is the 2nd step in the 2-2-1 method and lasts 2 hours, just like the first step. After 2 hours have expired with the ribs in foil or in the covered pan, remove them from the pan or foil and place them once again directly on the grates for 1 hour.
When they come out of the foil or pan, they look wet and there is no crust to speak of. The last hour on the grates dries the top a little and develops the crust on the outside that is usually desired. This is the last step and when the hour is up, the ribs are ready to slice and eat.
You will pull them off at 185-190°F/85-87°C internal temp in between the bones.