Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Just some smoked BBQ ribs

Here are some ribs that I smoked a couple of weeks ago, just to practice.

BBQ spare ribs smoked on a Deep South Smoker

I was very disappointed in the ribs that I bought.  They were from one of my two trusted, longtime suppliers and they weren't cheap at $18+ per rack.  I can get ribs a LOT cheaper, but I pay the premium price to avoid problems like this.  

Both racks were racked with shiners.  Shiners happen every now and then, it's inevitable.  But when I'm paying $6.99 a pound, I sure as [bleep] don't expect to get SEVEN SHINERS on just 2 racks of ribs.

What's a shiner?  A shiner is where the meat on the spare rib has been trimmed too closely, so the bones are "shining" through. This means the ribs aren't very meaty because the meat was trimmed off with the pork belly and it also causes appearance issues.

What is a rib shiner? It's when the butcher trimmed too closely to the ribs, exposing the bones.
The yellow lines show 3 shiners where you can see the rib bones poking through.

Four more shiners on this rack.  These definitely are not premium ribs, they below in the discount bin.
I cooked these ribs on my Deep South Smokers GC36 while I was also cooking a couple of briskets and some wings.  But my process differs little between whether I'm cooking on a kamado, bullet smoker, an offset pit, or an insulated box cooker like the Deep South.  On all types, I cook at 290°f. Differences include:
  • Kamado grills (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, etc.) - I use an adjustable rig with an oblong heat shield to protect the ends of the ribs. I use lump charcoal with wood chunks mixed in. Kamados don't smoke as much so for competition ribs, I foil them later in the process, based on color.
  • Offset pits (Oklahoma Joe, my "Warthog") - These really lay the smoke down, so I foil earlier in the process.  
  • Rack and sheet pan - In kamado grills and bullet smokers, I put the ribs right on the grill grates.  For offsets and box cookers, I put the ribs on a rack over a sheet pan just because it keeps the smoker cleaner.
  • Spritzing intervals - Kamado grills and box cookers both retain moisture like a sponge so I'll spritz less frequently - maybe 1x an hour.  Offsets and bullets run drier so I spritz more regularly and might add a water pan in the mix.

Deep South Smokers work great with Kamado Joe charcoal and a Flame Boss controller
I finally tried some Kamado Joe Big Block charcoal in the Deep South, because Alexis found it at Costco.  Man, that charcoal ran superbly in this cooker!  Easy to light and clean burning.  I had my Flame Boss 300 (sponsor) running the pit, and temps stayed steady and recovered quickly after opening doors.  I'll be buying Kamado Joe charcoal as long as I can keep getting it.

Ribs prepared and ready to go into the smoker.
An example of the rack and sheet pan that I use in the Deep South or my offset pits.

Flame boss controller running the Deep South Smoker
I've updated my rib process this year, incorporating bits from 2 classes and adjustments from my own experience.

Ribs out of the smoker and ready to go into the foil wrap.
Here are the ribs before going into the foil wrap.  If they start getting too dark, I'll wrap them a bit early.  If they aren't getting dark enough, I'll switch to cherry wood.

Smoked BBQ ribs
Ribs fresh from the foil wrap, before being glazed.

Smoked BBQ spare ribs
After smoking and braising (the foil rap), the ribs get sauced and go back in the smoke for 10-15 minutes.  
Then it is just a matter of slicing the ribs.

Sliced BBQ spare ribs

The ribs turned out juicy, smoky, sweet and tender.  Very good but I always could use more practice.