Sunday, April 24, 2011

BBQ Rib Class at Dead End BBQ

We're fortunate to have Dead End BBQ in Knoxville, TN.  Not only do they make fabulous bbq and the best brisket in Tennessee, each year Dead End BBQ presents a series of barbecue and grilling classes.  They bring in the established names with world champion pedigrees like Mike Davis and Chris Lilly.  But they also include equally talented local gurus like Billy Bob Billy of Holy Smokers Too.  This year they have added grilling dynamo, Robyn Lindars of GrillGrrrl.com and Grilling.com to conduct one of her women's grilling clinics that Alexis will be attending.

The classes are first rate.  They are taught in the comfortable covered patio area at Dead End BBQ.  It seats 32 so it's the perfect size for a class.  Big enough to accommodate you but small enough to ask questions without having to shout.   The exceptional staff wait on you the entire class, a notable difference.  Your drinks are kept full and the tables bussed constantly.  One of my favorite amenities is the overhead camera and large screen TV so everyone can see what the instructor is doing when prepping something on the table.  

Yesterday I took the rib class taught by co-owner George Ewart.   George is a funny guy - when I walked in, he kidded around and asked if I was going to be able to learn anything from the class since I'd just been to Kingsford University.  Learn I did!  Here are some of the highlights of the day.

First off, we got to try a new appetizer they are going to offer - Pond Gap Pups, named after the local part of town.  They are de-friggin-licious, seriously.   From what I could tell, Pond Gap Pups are small hush puppies with some bbq rub and a little pulled pork in them.  In flavor, they are kind of like a cross between a hush puppy and those sausage cheese balls.  Perfect bite size flavor bombs.  I'm going to have to kidnap the rooster and pig mascots from the patio until George tells me how they make them.

George discussed strategies behind making a good bbq rub.  If making a rub with brown sugar,  spread it on a tray dry it out in a 150f oven to get the moisture out of it first, before adding to the rub.  I hadn't heard that before but I will definitely be using that tip from now on.  Then we each made a batch of dry rub.

On of the most hands on classes I've had, loved it.
Next, George compared and contrasted the types of pork ribs, discussed sourcing options, and showed how to cut a St. Louis style rib. I picked up a tip on using the 4th rib as a guide, I always just went by feel.
 
George playing a loin back harmonica!  Kidding - juxtaposition.
Then it was time for us all to practice removing the membrane. 

 
Time to rub our ribs.  Here's a simple tip, yet it is the biggest thing I walked away with because this little step helped me make a sweet rib that I like.  Normally I don't like sweet ribs.  Before putting the rub on, dust the rib with black pepper.  I've always just let the pepper in the rub suffice.  But this helped contrast the sweet at the end.  This one tiny detail made a big difference for me.
 

Rubbed up and ready to go into the smoker.
 

While our ribs smoked, George talked about smoking pork.  One thing I didn't know is that there is a vein that should be trimmed out because it is tough and won't render.  It is above the bone on the non-fat cap side.  Here George demonstrates how tough it is by holding up the 8lb butt with it.
 

Then we got to have some pulled pork.  There is no better bbq than pork right off of the cutting board will still hot.  
 
Ever reheat pork and it dries out?  Warm a little honey to get it less thick, add a little BBQ rub to it and stir it into the pork.  

Next we all pledged allegiance to the brisket....

Just kidding, George was talking about where it comes from.  Brisket is George's specialty and he gave us the "up and downs" of brisket.  An "up" comes from a cow that was in excess of 1000 lbs, a "down" is less.  They have found the "downs" have worked better for them and have more marbling.  Another thing I learned is that I need to be more aggressive in my trimming on my next brisket.   Then we sampled one of the smoked briskets, dipping in the mouth watering au jus that was juiced up with George's secret.  What?  I can't tell you.  Go take the class :)


Finally it was time to foil the ribs.  I haven't foiled ribs in over a year, I've been smoking them naked with good results.  But yesterday we used a version of the butter/margarine-honey-brown sugar method that a lot of comp teams have used.  

Apparently, the stress of teaching the class was too much because George went bananas.  
 

He shared a dessert recipe with a highly technical name - Banana Thing.  He smoked a mix of bananas, brown sugar, and cinnamon until they were syrupy like this. (15-20 minutes at 275f...ok Howard, it was 274, ha ha)

Then he put them in pieces of puff pastry, brushed them with butter and put them back in the cooker until the pastry has cooked.  Then a simple drizzle of chocolate sauce.  
 

I don't eat sweets so I relied on Howard Pollock to be my Taste Correspondent.  After he finished groaning in approval and licking his fingers, he said that they were excellent.

We each made a glaze for our ribs.  You want me to put HOW MUCH of that sweet stuff in my glaze?  Really?  Oooookay.  Then we painted our ribs with the glaze.
 

Finally they were done around 2pm.  
 

I bit into my rib and was surprised at how much I liked the flavor profile.  It is a sweet rib that I actually enjoy.  This is good because I have always cooked ribs differently for my family (they like sweet) than I did for myself.  Now I have one that can make the whole family happy.

I had a great day at Dead End BBQ and even this old dog learned a few new tricks (actually 3 pages worth, I didn't share all or most of them here).  Thanks to George, Robert, and the staff at Dead End BBQ for a fun and educational Saturday.  It is well worth the cost of the class, I recommend them to anyone interested in BBQ, whether you are a competition cook or just a back yard enthusiast.

May 22, 2011 - Mike Davis of Team Lotta Bull.  George said registering for this class gets you entered to win a Yoder smoker.  
June 18, 2011 - Robyn Medlin-Lindars of GrillGrrrl.com will teach a LADIES ONLY grilling class. 

[Standard Disclaimer] - I have no affiliation with nor do I receive compensation from Dead End BBQ.  Although I do plan to extort the Pond Gap Pup's recipe from George and Robert.

23 comments:

  1. Oh, I was about to concur with pledging allegiance, but... This sounds like a fantastic class- if they'd had one around here, I'd love to attend!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks like fun. I'd love to try those Pond Gap Pups!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You live a bbq-heaven life. I can make some pretty decent ribs in my oven and I particularly like the St. Louis cut. Keep on keepin' on.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a great post and tour of your class. I love that banana idea. Will be giving that a try and if you were here, I'd make you take at least one itsy bitsy little bite to try it...

    ReplyDelete
  5. I considered signing up and had I known he would discuss more than just ribs I would have. Did you know you made it in the Sentinel this morning?

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wish I didn't live so far away, I would so attend Robyn's class!! Thanks for sharing the tips you learned. Interesting about the drying out the brown sugar..will definitely be trying that...and the black pepper tip too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Fun! I have a sudden craving for ribs and that banana dessert has me drooling.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That was an awesome recap. That sounds like a great class and so many helpful tips - thanks for sharing.

    Also, what kind of trimming do I have to do so I can get a loin back harmonica?!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Still laughing/shuddering at "loin back harmonica".

    ReplyDelete
  10. You know what would have made my life better? Being able to take this class in place of one of my med school classes...seems like I would have learned way more. And gotten to eat a Banana Thing. That would make my life. And replenish my potassium stores. All good stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love your adventures and you do such a great job of sharing them. Highlights for me (the non-grillin grrrl): time to rub the ribs, pledging allegiance, those amazing photos, the pig and chicken mascots, those hush puppy hybrids and that crazy banana dessert. Very fun!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think you can never learn enough about BBQ. It still is a learning experience for me. I have been bbq cooking for over 35 years. Of course we want to see the Pond Gap Pup recipe. We are going to attend a BBQ class in June given by Harry Soo of 'Slap Yo Daddy' bbq team. We are looking forward to that.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My father would love something like this! At his college where he works, they've been trying to get enough people to attend a week-long barbeque "university". Two years in a row, they've failed. I don't get it. It's North Florida!! People have smokers propped up next to the garage!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Looks like a great way to spend the afternoon enjoying your passion for BBQ. No doubt you came away with new ideas, and techniques.

    Velva

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don’t have this type of events here - the only similar could be great parrilladas but not in classes...

    Till 2PM but the result worth the wait outstanding-delicious those ribs :)

    Cheers,

    Gera

    ReplyDelete
  16. That sounds Wonderful!!!I am learning so much about BBQ with you!I would love to go to a class like that :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great picture...you make my day !

    ReplyDelete
  18. Okay, here's the deal, you pack up Alexis and your 3 pages of notes, and fly to Seattle...I'll invite over everyone I know and you can teach a BBQ class to us all...and we'll eat and lick our fingers and waddle around for days. I'll supply the meat and all the ingredients and one pitiful gas grill...sounds tempting, no?

    ReplyDelete
  19. I totally want to make Pond Gap Pups. They sound delicious. I competed last weekend in Lexington, NC. We wrapped the ribs with foil and had great results.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I NEED a smoker! Dead End makes awesome ribs, and I LOVE hands on classes!! I am so glad you wrote about this! I also love their smoked naked wings, and I am totally sure I would love Banana Thing. Totally sure :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. These classes look fun! I'm not crazy for ribs but my family is! They would be thrilled if I made them - thanks for sharing all the great tips you learned.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sounds like you thoroughly enjoyed the class. I must say it looks like they get some prime cuts of meat. It all looks fantastic!

    I've yet to make ribs, brisket or pork shoulder on the grill. I've only made them inside. I need to get on that this summer.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Wow Chris. So cool to see the pics and learn some of Georges recipes. He's a great cook in his own right!! I would love to take his class! :)

    ReplyDelete