Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of "Que-ly" Weekend Pt 2

I decided to go a bit old school and break out the old Brinkmann Offset smoker. Yeah I know, I "cheated on" the Big Green Egg, can ya believe it? I even used the first coal I ever used, Kingsford blue bag. Here it is set up out on the drive way, since I have an aversion to transferring hot coals on a wooded deck.
Two tips:
If you need extra capacity in your smoker, consider making a raised grid. The Naked Whiz tells you how to make one for a Big Green Egg or other round cooker here (scroll down to #45). I did basically the same thing but used a rectangular cooking grate.Fire control
With the Egg, I can cook 18 hours easily on one load of lump but in a less efficient cooker like the offset, it requires a bit more strategy, planning, and work to get even a 4-6 hour cook. Most smokers use the "Minion Method" to get a longer cook out of your first batch of fuel. You load your firebox with coal except leaving room for air intake (see left side of picture) and a gap where the hot coals will go (see the whole on the right).When you pour a chimney starter full of hot coals into the gap, they provide the initial heat and as they slowly burn out, the new coals start burning. This gives a nice slow, controlled burn. I got about 4 hours at 250f from this batch. You can read more about the Minion Method here.

There was just the four of us eating here yesterday night, so I made a rack of St. Louis trimmed spare ribs, a rack of baby backs, and some ABT's. I did one half of each using Billy Bones Original mixed with his XXX Cherry Rub. I did the other half trying out Chris Lilly's recipe for Memphis Dry Rub Ribs.

The ABT's were great, as always. We used Plumrose Peppered Maple Bacon which gets two thumbs up from me. Nice thick cuts and a nice blend of sweet and heat. I'd recommend this bacon.The dry ribs had great seasoning except I thought that they tasted a bit salty.The loin backs were "extra meaty" at 3 1/2 lbs (true baby backs are 1.75 lbs and under) and hmmmmm also a bit salty.The Billy Bones ribs came out good, I think in part due to the sweet glaze we used on them.Unfortunately it later dawned on me looking at pictures this morning that both packages of ribs were labeled "tender and juiciness improved with up to a 12% deep basted solution". That would explain the saltiness. (Then again, it also takes credit for the great smoke ring I got, to the bone....the brines are full of nitrates, which is what gives hot dogs their reddish color)Final Tip
The big duh: Avoid ribs with labels like that or "enhanced" or "brined". Sure, they are juicy but often end up salty and tasting more like ham than rib once cooked. It also means you are getting 12% less than you are paying for per pound. I knew this, but Alexis bought what was available at the store. Next time I'd pick something else instead of settling for these.


  1. How did I know you would be an expert at ribs? GREG

  2. This smoker meal sounds amazing! I've never been able to master the techniques like you seem to have done - perfect meal, every time!

    BTW… check out our new video series “Weber Grill Master”. Grilling experts Jamie Purviance and Steven Raichlen compare notes on grilling techniques, what inspired these classically trained chefs to pursue the art of cooking with live fire, and find out what led to their biggest grilling mistakes.

  3. At least the ABTs were good... ;) Also, remember that you rib mistakes were likely better than most folks' successes, especially those the practice FauxQue and boil them.

  4. you tell 'em rib boy!

    I am heading down to TN to see my ancestors old church and homestead, do you think you could feed me some of this while I am there? Mouary County I think, go over and see my latest post and the tombstone says the name...are you familiar?

    You are killing me with all this good looking food on the past post, and here...I am trying to detox from my Texas trip!

  5. You know some ribs. They look good from here!

  6. ABTs? Are they what they look like, bacon wrapped jalapenos? Where can I find the instructions for those? They look pretty tasty, but then pretty much anything wrapped in bacon is good, my fav is bacon wrapped aspargus!

  7. Nice lookin ribs and jalapenos.

    I find that the rub that I use for ribs has to have a lot less salt in it than the rub that I use for other pork.


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