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Pork Ribs -- Baby Back and Spare


tommy
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Top rack it is. I'm going to guess around 6 hours for the ribs today. Of course, it's really windy here so that should make for interesting temp control once again. I'm about to make Arne's glaze and the ribs are rubbed

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Well it was a little better around this time, but still not quite right. I've now learned, never under estimate the time it takes to smoke ribs. After 7 hours, they could have still gone another two hours, but by 8:30 we were getting hungry.

I also completely forgot to remove the silverskin or even make slits in it, and as at 7 hours, they were still not fall off the bone, or even gently tugable, it didn't help. However, they were still a lot better than the first time around and Arne's glaze is da bomb.

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Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Marlene, the ribs look great. BTW, I happen to think that ribs are the most difficult and least forgiving of all of the smokables. And, I know that everyone who has a bullet extols the virtues of said rig, but I think I have an easier time with ribs on the Trusty Old Kettle. While I can't leave my rig unattended for much more than an hour, I do believe I have more control.

I'd better do some ribs just as soon as I return from the cabin (can't get enough ribs on for 4 adults, 4 teens (read can't get enough food into them) and three other kids who eat their weight every day).

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Strangely enough, even with the very windy day we had today, we had no trouble maintaining the temp between 200-220. It just wasn't an issue. We just didn't smoke them long enough.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It was spares on the WSM today.

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two full racks of spares

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A nice sunny day for me to smoke. A rare occasion it seems for me

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Guess again, smokeboy. The WSM as a big thunderstorm rolls through

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The WSM is a trooper as the temp holds steady through the storm. It rained and boomed pretty hard for about 15 minutes, but all was well with the cooker and the ribs

They are done and are now foiled and waiting for Maggie and her almost daughter in law to get home for dinner after another long day of wedding preparation.

Edited by lancastermike (log)
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We just finished the ribs and they were really good. The lucky couple joined us for dinner. The bride to be, Jamie, said as she was eating her ribs, "I love the hog."

Well. Them's marryin' words if I ever heard them.

As discussed above, I'm still not really sure whay the ribs were so good today,and other times they are not. They did get almost a full hour in foil after they came off this time. Cook's Illustrated says this is a big deal. Ribs remain a mystery to me, but today they were great

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  • 2 months later...

On Wednesday I'm going to do some rib trials for a party for Chufi at the end of the month. I'd asked the guests to bring ribs, whoever was the rib expert, but when "buying them from Jones BBQ" was the best answer I could get, I figured it's time to become a rib expert myself. I've read through this whole thread 3 times, taken notes, and just want to see whether any new and brilliant ideas are out there before I get started.

Has anyone got additional words of wisdom and succulence? I'll be using my offset smoker with cherry wood, and maybe a bit of hickory for added flavor. I love Col Klink's rub and =Mark's sauce, so those will definitely be included in the trial, as will the St. Louis style recipe from Epicurious linked to above. I've made that before, and it is indeed delicious. I've never brined ribs, although I brine lots of other stuff, so I'll be trying some with brine and some without.

For the actual party I'll be putting Col Klink's rub on and serving =Mark's sauce with some smoked brisket, so now that I think of it, I might want to make the ribs have a decidedly different flavor scheme.

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Abra, I've done ribs a ton of times, and have you thought about just doing them naked? No rub? Since there's not a lot of meat on ribs (or at least thick meat), we've decided we prefer the pure porky flavour.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Abra, when I brine ribs -- which I do like to do -- I go very easy and use only about a half-cup of Kosher salt and 1 gallon of water. In this solution I'll brine 3 slabs of ribs, membranes removed, for about 6 hours. After that, if there's time, I let them dry, uncovered in the fridge for a few hours before rubbing them.

Do you plan to pre-rub the ribs you're not going to brine? If so, I'd be very curious to hear about how the 2 methods compare.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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Yes, I'm thinking of pre-rubbing one batch, brining another, and I'm not sure what for the third. Ron, it's interesting that you brine for 6 hours, and Col Klink suggests "at least an hour," making it sound like a short brine is best.

Naked is not on my list, actually. There's also going to be pulled pork made by Della, so I want these to contrast both to that and the brisket. We're hoping to show Chufi how outdoor summer American meat is done.

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I have never brined my ribs when I smoke them. Ok, I've smoked all of two batches. :biggrin: I do rub them though, usually with Klink's dry rub. I used hickory the first time and I found it way too harsh. I like apple best for pork, butt or ribs. Daddy A's spritz of apple juice, bourbon and maple syrup was wonderful on my last butt, I bet it work equally well on ribs.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Marlene, didn't you actually use the dreaded mesquite the first time, or am I losing my marbles? That spritz sounds great for ribs, was it about equal parts of each?

Has anyone tried these bourbon smoked ribs?

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So yesterday I did my rib trials. I used spare ribs, and made three different versions.

1) Kansas City Spareribs These are a previous favorite of ours. I made them just as written, no brine, rubbed overnight.

2) Sweet and Smoky Ribs with Bourbon Barbecue Sauce. I deviated a bit from this recipe. The ribs are meant to marinate in bourbon for a while, but I wanted to brine them, so I added the bourbon to a salt, hot sauce, and sugar brine. They brined for 2 hours. I also tweaked the sauce a tiny bit because I only had blackstrap molasses, where the recipe calls for light molasses. I subbed some very dark Quebecois maple syrup - I was afraid it might be too sweet, but it turned out to be a delicious substitution.

3) The recipe from Serious Pig posted above somewhere in this thread (search isn't working right now) that contains juniper berries. I brined first with salt, sugar, hot sauce, and vinegar, then followed the recipe as written.

So all of these went on the smoker using mainly cherry wood with a bit of hickory. I kept the temperature between 200-225 the whole time, except for one brief excursion over 300 when I was on the phone for a few minutes. And the damned things cooked way fast! By 3 1/2 hours the brined ribs were almost falling off the bone, an effect I didn't really want. The unbrined ones stayed more intact. I wrapped tham in foil, gave them a spritz of apple juice concentrate cut with cider vinegar, and put them in a hot but turned off oven, where they rested for a couple of hours. Except for the falling off the bone part, they were all gorgeous, pink and juicy throughout, and looked pretty much like all of the pictures above, so I didn't take any more.

I'd invited my guests for a tasting, so their job was to choose the recipe that I'll make next week for Chufi's party. A really long silence descended on the table. People would eat one sort, then another, then a third, then start over again, saying all the while how hard it was to choose.

In the end I dragged it out of them. The Serious Pig recipe is exceptionally delicious and different, but it came in third here because I want to make a typical rib style for this party, and that one's quite sophisticated. The Kansas City ribs almost won, being so classically delicious. But in the end, it was the Bourbon Ribs that got the nod, because they're really killer, and just slightly different, so they're interesting and familiar all in one.

The bottom line is, though, that you really can't go wrong with any of these recipes. Next time I need to either brine for less time, or keep the smoker even lower, so as to keep the meat more intact.

I served them with a simple coleslaw, some beautiful greens sauteed with home-cured pancetta, and made a skillet cornbread with more of the pancetta and some fresh corn and cheese crumbles added. Such tough duty, recipe testing.

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Daddy A's spritz of apple juice, bourbon and maple syrup was wonderful on my last butt, I bet it work equally well on ribs.

:blush:

It's not bad at all on ribs. I'm more of a honey glaze person and tend to do a half-n-half mix with whatever sauce I've made and honey. A couple bastes during the last 2 hours is all it needs.

A.

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On Wednesday I'm going to do some rib trials for a party for Chufi at the end of the month.  I'd asked the guests to bring ribs, whoever was the rib expert, but when "buying them from Jones BBQ" was the best answer I could get, I figured it's time to become a rib expert myself.  I've read through this whole thread 3 times, taken notes, and just want to see whether any new and brilliant ideas are out there before I get started.

Has anyone got additional words of wisdom and succulence?  I'll be using my offset smoker with cherry wood, and maybe a bit of hickory for added flavor.  I love Col Klink's rub and =Mark's sauce, so those will definitely be included in the trial, as will the St. Louis style recipe from Epicurious linked to above.  I've made that before, and it is indeed delicious.  I've never brined ribs, although I brine lots of other stuff, so I'll be trying some with brine and some without.

For the actual party I'll be putting Col Klink's rub on and serving =Mark's sauce with some smoked brisket, so now that I think of it, I might want to make the ribs have a decidedly different flavor scheme.

I'll add a few thoughts.

Cherry has a wonderful flavor, but can over-darken meat if used to excess. I prefer Pecan to Hickory. Both woods impart similar flavor, but Hickory has a sharper bite.

Either rack on a WSM works fine. Okay, you are using an offset, but WSMs were discussed in the thread. The bottom rack on my WSM runs about 25F cooler, so I run my top rack at 250F. Timing in the Epicurious directions seems short. I plan on about six hours for spares and five for baby backs at 225F. The top rack at 250F will take about 30 minutes less. When the meat has pulled back from the bone about 1/4" they are about done.

St. Louis ribs are more of a way of trimming spares that they are a way of cooking them. The belly flap is removed.

Temperature should be measured at the cooking grate. A thermometer stuck in the top of a cooker is going to read high, and you will be cooking at too low of a grate temperature.

If you want to baste, a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and apple cider concentrate in a spray bottle works well. It will caramelize slightly and give your meat a beautiful tan.

For a finishing glaze, 1/3 each of honey, your favorite barbecue sauce, and Jack Daniels, simmered for a bit to thicken will work.

Jim

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I sure wish there were pecan wood here in WA, but apple and cherry are the best I can do. The ribs were quite dark, it's true, but delicious. The cherry smoke is quite a subtle, sweet smoke that I really like.

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  • 8 months later...

I've got two slabs of Niman Ranch St. Louis ribs in the fridge for smoking and serving on Monday. Best as I can tell, I'll be

1. Trimming,

2. Brining,

3. Rubbing,

4. Smoking,

5. Spraying,

6. Resting, and

7. Serving (with =Mark's SC sauce for sure)

Arne's photos up topic will help a lot with 1, and I've got good ideas for 2, 3, 5, and 6. I'm wondering about the smoking, however. Does anyone here use a Bradley for smoking ribs? Do you use a rib rack? Which one, if so?

Chris Amirault

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Do you use a rib rack? Which one, if so?

gallery_16561_2912_107811.jpg

Here's a photo of my rib rack in action. It's actually just a $5 file folder rack from Staples. How many racks are you smoking Chris? Is it possible to cut the racks in half and fit them flat on the shelves of the Bradley that way?

A.

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Here's a photo of my rib rack in action.  It's actually just a $5 file folder rack from Staples.  How many racks are you smoking Chris?  Is it possible to cut the racks in half and fit them flat on the shelves of the Bradley that way?

Staples. Genius.

I'm not sure whether I should just stack half-slabs on each of four racks (I have two slabs) or go for this contraption. I've got to get the measuring tape out tonight.

To repeat with greater detail, I was reading through those posts above thinking, "How'm I gonna find this membrane?" and then I hit your very useful photos. Thanks!

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If he has St. Louis ribs, it means they're already trimmed.

editted: err ... the St. Louis can sometimes have the flap. If there's nor flap, it's Kansas City style (thanks the VirtualWeberBullet).

Personally, I use the little flap of meat as a snack at about the 3 hour mark ...

A.

Edited by Daddy-A (log)
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