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getting better at spare ribs, i hope

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 25 July 2008 at 19:42

this will be my third attempt at spare ribs, evolving a method that has been working very well for me. as of 0000 on 26jul08, i've got the ribs cut, the membrane on the bone side trimmed off and the ribs prepared and waiting in the fridge until morning.

like the last two times, i have brushed on a light film of yellow mustard, then applied durkee's st. louis style rib rub before covering with saran wrap and refrigerating overnight. if anyone figures out a "home-made" rub that duplicates durkee's, without all the salt and also without the added smoke flavoring, please let me know. i plan eventually to do some experimentation of my own in an attempt to achieve this goal, but it will probably have to wait until winter.

in any case, tomorrow i will fire up the ECB and throw the ribs on when it gets warmed up good. i intend to cook between 230 & 250 degrees, never more or less, if i can help it, until they are done. i really like the dr. pepper/soy sauce mop, and this time will use low-salt soy sauce in an attempt to get more flavor with less blood pressure. i also liked the effect that a little olive oil in the mop had last time, but will use much less of it this time, say 40% dr. pepper, 40% soy sauce and 20% olive oil. i will only mop once an hour, rather than once every half hour, and the last hour, when the ribs will be pretty well basting themselves, i will not mop. another variation is that, while i will be rotating and turning them halfway through cooking the same way i have been, i will start them out bone-side-down rather than bone-side-up, as i have done in the past.

however, i will try a finishing glaze the last 15 minutes or so.  i haven't done this before, so it will be an interesting experiment. the finishing glaze will consist of 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup of yellow mustard, simmered for half an hour or so before being brushed on both sides. evidently, the trick is to put it on soon before the ribs come off the fire, so that the glaze glazes via carmelization, but doesn't burn. we'll see if i'm any good at it. no sauce planned for these ribs, as i have found it to be unnecessary due to all of the flavors already present from the rub, the smoke etc.

another difference is that, due to availibility, i will be using briquettes rather than lump charcoal that i have used in the past. after a nasty experience with wal-mart briquettes, i am using and will only use kingsford briquettes, which i will light not with lighter fluid, but with a chimney charcoal starter that i picked up last week.

as for the smoke, it will most likely be hickory again, although i am thinking of maybe trying maple or apple, maybe.....i am going for a deep smoke ring again, so i will put the cold ribs in a warm smoker (220-230 degrees) and trust that no creosote will develop, since it hasn't the last two times.

that's it so far, i will be interested in seeing if the little tweaks here and there improve the final product. will update as time progresses.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 03:31
0830 - lit a charcoal chimney 3/4 full with kingsford (i intended to fill it, but it sure seemed like an awful lot, so i backed off a bit), got my hickory chunks soaking and started a big pan of water boiling for the water pan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 04:04

0900 - ok, i must be bumping up against some kind of learning curve with this charcoal chimney. i put the charcoal in the top part, stuffed paper in the bottom part, lit it and waited 1/2 an hour like a good doo-bee, but when the half hour was up i had only two very tiny corners of two very bottom briquettes turning a weak grey.

i stuffed more paper in the bottom, lit it up and will try again. in the meantime, i'll see if i can do a little reading and try to find out if i am doing anything wrong. i do not want to use lighter fluid, but will if i have to!



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 04:23
Tas, Try lighting a pile of briquets with a propane torch if you have one. Very quick and clean. RD
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 05:07

1000 - well, the 2nd attempt must have done the trick, because by 0930 they were burning well. i just put the ribs on, the smoker temp looks to be somewhere between 250 and 250, and i've got some nice, modest hickory smoke coming off the coals.

i am using something that i think is the minion method. i am dumping most of a chimney of hot briquettes onto this (below) and then putting the hickory chunks on top. i will shake/stir the charcoal pan as needed to keep the briquettes hot.

on a side note, either kingsford has changed their "recipe" for briquettes, or it was actually the lighter fluid smell i was in love with. they don't smell bad, but certainly not quite what i remember. i'll have to stock up on lump charcoal when it's available!

going to prepare my mop of equal parts dr. pepper and low-sodium soy sauce with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. then sit back and watch my favorite show, then will check the ribs, temp etc. at 1100 when i am mopping.

rocky, i just got a propane torch and will give that a try next time!

 



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1100 - checked the ribs; things looking good. added a couple of small chunks of hickory and mopped all ribs with my mop. smoker temperature is holding steady right at 250 degrees, which might be a little high but will not be disastrous.

about the mop, my proportions mentioned above were taxing my math skills when i went to fill the spray bottle, so here's what i did: i used 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil, 1 cup of dr. pepper and 2/3 cup of reduced-sodium soy sauce. used a hand blender to emulsify it and put it in a spray bottle for easy application. i will need to blend it every time i mop, but no big deal.

i am now preparing my finishing glaze; probably a bit early but no big deal. i am using 1/3 cup each of apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar and yellow mustard. i heated it all in a small saucepan over the stove, stirring on low long enough to blend and dissolve everything, then set aside to cool, covering with saran wrap. i will apply the glaze during the last few minutes of cooking.

will check again at 1200.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 07:13

1200 - everything looking good; temp might be just a bit high as the meat is pulling away from the bones just a little tiny bit. rotated meat from top to bottom rack and bottom to top, also turned over and sprayed mop on both sides of all racks of ribs.

the ribs are pictured below after turning and rotating. the dark areas are from the drippings that fell from above (from the ribs now on the bottom rack). it also looks like the corver of one rack might have been in a hotter area than the rest.

i also added appx. 1 qt of water as the level had gone down to almost nothing in the water pan. with the open lid, added water etc., the temp in the smoker went down quite a bit, so i also stirred the coals around. i added a chunk of wet hickory, which may or may not have been necessary. this should raise the temperatures back up where they should be, as i observed plenty of burning coals. i don't think i will need to light/add any charcoal, but will keep an eye on the situation.

will check at 1300, including internal temperature of ribs so i can start keeping track of when they might be getting done. i plan to smoke until they reach a temperature of 172 degrees; one point of confusion is whether i should hold that temperature range for a while or simply take them off when they reach that point. i will judge this by observing how they look, feel etc. when the time comes, i guess. will also brush on finishing glaze a few minutes before i actually pull them off.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RobertMT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 07:23

Ron,

I see nothing wrong with how yours are coming out.

what I do when trying to copy commercial spice is look at ingredient list, always listed most to least, and then test small batches till you get what you want. 

I would guess ingredients would include salt, sugar, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and chili powder.  Pepper could be black or red.  Salt could include garlic salt, celery salt, onion salt or alpine salt.  Sugar could be brown sugar, maple sugar, honey or white sugar.

I try for around 50/50 sugar, salt ratio on my rub.  Most of time I use a course ground mustard, sweet or hot your choice, a good coat, about what you're doing with the yellow.  On pork, I brush on cider vinegar, cover in frig couple hours, then  brush on the mustard.  For rub I use my version of alpine and either maple sugar or brown sugar half and half.  cover well, and let set at least overnight.  I don't use a mop, I like mine dry.  I do use a finish sauce last half hour or so.  If I'm doing pork shoulder, I brine for one day, in cider brine, (two tsp cure per ten pounds shoulder, half gallon cider vinegar, half gallon apple cider,  half cup of salt, one chopped onion, garlic and pepper to your taste).  Dry off, apply mustard, rub and smoke at 185 degrees for day until 160 degrees and falling off bone.  Make a mustard, sugar and vinegar sauce, pulled pork sandwiches for a crowd.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 08:12

1300 - turned ribs over and sprayed a little mop on them - temp in smoker read just under 250 degrees (maybe 246); added no hickory.

when i was turning them, they really seemed like they were getting close to getting done. some meat fell off of one rack and the ends of the ribs are getting exposed pretty well. went to check temperature, but the battery in digital thermometer was dead. running up to get one now....

if temp shows that they are at 172, i will brush on the finishing glaze and wait 15 minutes or so, them plate them up, photograph them and pig out. as for a side dish, nothing fancy, just some good ol' pork-n-beans today.

robert - i'll definitely be doing a little experimenting with some rub i am looking for something with as little salt as possible due to blood pressure, and am a bit worried about too much sugar for fear of having it "burn" onto the meat. with some experimentation, i figure i can come up with something very close to (dare i hope maybe even better than?) durkee's. i like your methods as described and will see about incorporating something into the next smoke.

one of these days, i will do a pork shoulder. mrs. taz isn't impressed with their prices right now, so it could be a while.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 08:25

at 1330, the internal temperature of the ribs was 171 degrees. i'll brush the finishing glaze on both sides of all racks, then wait 15-30 minutes and pull those babies off. looking forward to trying them!

will post results etc. with a q-view of the final product!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 08:36

1345 - glaze is on and the last of the coals are stirred. i will say one thng for brituettes, i am able to keep a much-more consistent temperature with them, right around or just under 250 degrees throughout the cooking process of these ribs.

i will pull the ribs off in about 30 minutes and plate them up!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RobertMT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 09:16

I always watch and catch them on sale for under buck a pound, get the whole Boston butts.  They come two to a bag 12 to 15 lbs for bag.  I also use them for adding to deer meat for sausage 50/50.  I just got some for $.88 lb.  Boston butts are the top half of shoulders, basically between arm and blade cut.  Kind of like chuck on beef.  Hogs a little different but from same area.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 10:34

pulled these ribs off right at 1400. here is how the top rack looked:

and here's the bottom:

on the plate, they looked excellent, i must say:

i believe that the darkness comes mostly from the soy sauce in the mop, as well as the carmelization of the glaze.

pros: great looks, outstanding flavor and very juicy. the fact that i used briquettes did not adversely affect the taste and i had no problems with temperature control. this might also be because for the first time i was able to use a round grill grate that i found in the trash up the street to set my charcoal on in the charcoal pan. this allowed a couple inches of space for air flow, which probably made a big difference. i will experiment more with this using lump charcoal when i am able. smoke ring was right up to but not quite through the center, and there was a great balance between sweet, tangy, smokey and salty flavors. i believe that the use of slightly-less rub and reduced-sodium soy sauce was a very good idea, as it kept the salt from overpowering everything. the flavors all blended well so that you could taste them all, but no one flavor could really be picked out. the finishing glaze was excellent and imparted a deep red color and crusty texture, just as advertised. i really have to thank danny gaulden of the BBQFAQ, wherever he may be, for bringing that glaze (and many elements of rib-cooking methods) to my attention.

cons: the thicker ones (started out on top rack, finished up on bottom rack) were not quite done; conversely, the thinner ones, which ended up the top rack, were a bit overdone. tenderness suffered on all levels because of this. in retrospect, i should have left them where they were at the beginning. i forgot that the top is usually of a hgher temperature and that had i left the thicker ones there, everything probably would have been done at the same time.

because of this, these ribs weren't quite in the "bacon-on-a-stick" class that my first ribs were, but the other improvements showed real promise. i believe that the many elements are coming together well and my main task is now to learn to cook them evenly until they are done, using my smoker to it's full potential to do so. one way, as mentioned above, is to keep the thicker ones on top; i imagine another way might be to take ribs off as they finish and keep them in a foil-covered pan in the oven on loest setting until the thicker ones are done. if i do this, the challenge would be to keep them moist, perhaps with a very small amount of water or club soda in the pan to provide steam? 

all-in-all, i count these as a major success as i was able to recognize and come up with possible solutions to the one "con" that i had with this smoke; everything else indicates major improvements and continuing evolution on my rib method....oh yeah, they tasted GREAT, too!

as always i welcome and would appreciate any feedback and/or suggestions. thanks! 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 15:39

Tas, Here's the dry rub recipe that I use. I don't go all out with the smoke etc. just the gas grill. This seems to work for that application so it will probably be even better with yours. Yields 2 1/2 - 3 cups depending on how fussy you are with measuring. We're not throwing gunpowder charges here.

1 cup Sugar      1/4 cup Seasoned salt     1/4 cup Paprika

1/2 cup Barbeque spice    1/4 cup Garlic salt    2 TBS Onion salt

2 TBS Celery Salt    2 TBS Chili Powder    2 TBS Black Pepper

1 TBS Ground Ginger    1 TBS Lemon Pepper  

1/2 tsp Ground Thyme       1/2 tsp Red Pepper or Cayenne

I got this from a TV show years ago and make up a fresh batch every year in April for the coming grill season. I put it on ground pork patties, pork chops and ribs. Even used it on beer can chicken with great results. I suspect you could use onion and garlic powders instead of O & G salts to lower the sodium. I sometimes buy my spices in bulk from the local Organic Coop. They seem fresher  and are definitely cheaper than the grocery store. RD

 

 



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 16:24
RD - looks good! i'll give it a try and play with it a bit. my main goal is good flavor, although i would like to cut down on sodium whereever possible. i don't know if a completely salt-free rub would do what a rub is supposed to do, though?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RobertMT Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 July 2008 at 21:54

Rockydog;

That looks like pretty good rub.  Do you use plain sugar or brown?  Looks like about 50/50 ratio between salts and sugars.  I've found paprika adds more color than flavor to rub, the red color is welcome though.  I hadn't tried thyme, I bet it'd go great with pork though.  I wonder if a little nutmeg wouldn't work also as you put that in sausage.  I'll have to give your rub a try next time, thanks.

Ron;

Great looking ribs, I wouldn't call them overly dark by any means.  I may have to try your soda pop mop, I can't stand taste of Dr Pepper though, does any taste of pop remain or is it like mustard and you couldn't pick out the taste as being mustard, after it's done?

I've tried low salt rubs and found the salt draws the spices into meat, without the salt, spices tend to stay on surface.  The sugar balances out the salt, keeping it from tasting too salty,  sugar in your Dr Pepper is doing that.  Sugars caramelize above 250 degrees so shouldn't burn either.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 July 2008 at 04:34

>>>does any taste of pop remain or is it like mustard and you couldn't pick out the taste as being mustard, after it's done?<<<

robert - the dr. pepper blends itself into the soy sauce perfectly; what you're left with is something that doesn't taste like dr. pepper but more of a variation on teriyaki sauce and really compliments the flavor of the ribs. i gotta thank TIKKABUCK for pointing me in that direction, because i never would have thought of it!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rockydog Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 July 2008 at 06:37

Robert, I use white sugar because it makes such a large batch that i need it to keep a while. I haven't tried Brown sugar because my thought is that the extra moisture would draw to the salts and make the whole works lumpy. I haven't tried nutmeg in sausage but I know that it really excels in home made creamed corn.

Tas, You realize I'm sure that the soy sauce has tons of sodium? RD

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>>>Tas, You realize I'm sure that the soy sauce has tons of sodium?<<<

yep, even the reduced-sodium has more than i would prefer. when we lived in spearfish, south dakota, we were able to by salt-free souy sauce, and i really liked that. i wish it was available here and might need to see if i can find it on the internet.

my thinking is that if i eliminate salt where i can, then the saltiness of the soy sauce will be diluted, especially if it is low-sodium soy sauce.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 April 2014 at 17:49
Since making the opening post, my ideas on barbecuing
ribs have evolved a bit. The information in the opening
post is definitely good, but it seems to me that this
post will expand on it a bit, applying things that I've
learned through experience. If you have a method for ribs
that you love, then stick with it; perhaps this post
might offer an idea or two. If you're looking for a great
way to barbecue ribs, then try this, and let me know what
you think:

The night before:

1. remove ribs from packaging; pat them dry with paper
towels and place them on a rack and/or on a foil-lined
cookie sheet or platter.

2. If they are spare ribs, trim off the bottom and side
"brisket" and also the flap of meat on the back, leaving
a rack of ribs and the trimmed brisket. This helps
promote more even cooking and simply looks nicer as well.
If you're cooking baby backs, no cutting is required.

3. With both baby backs and spares, be sure to also trim
the white membrane off of the "back side" of the ribs.
This might be a chore, but it is absolutely 100% worth it
in the end. In theory, it peels right off, but in
reality, there is often a little more work involved than
that.

4. Brush with a light coating of plain, yellow mustard to
both sides. Yes, I know, but you will NOT taste the
mustard when the ribs are done, so no worries. Trust me
on this, I know it sounds weird but it helps with rub
absorption and bark formation. I've tried other mediums
such as olive oil, catsup, vinegar, orange juice, butter
and others; nothing works as well as plain, old yellow
mustard, and there is never a "mustardy" taste. It took a
leap of faith for me to try this, but I am glad I did.

5. Apply barbecue rub of your choice to both sides - be
on the generous side, but not TOO much. I like Mad Hunky
for pork, and also to make my own now and then for
special purposes (Greek, Bulgarian, Chinese, Caribbean,
Yucatan etc.), but the main thing is that any rub you
like is the right one to use.

6. Cover the ribs with saran wrap and place them in the
refrigerator overnight. Doing this prep work the night
before has led to better ribs every time. If you do the
work right before cooking, your ribs will be fine, but
they will be better if you take the time the night
before.

The next day:

1. Get your smoking wood (sticks, chunks, chips, pellets,
whatever) and your fuel (charcoal, wood, whatever) lined
up and ready for the day. Also a bucket and small
gardening shovel to keep the firebox free of excess ash,
if applicable. Tongs, gloves and anything else you might
need? Set it up, now. If your smoker is set up for (or
can accommodate) a water pan, start heating the water now
up to boiling.

2. The hard work is done! Put on some music, set out a
full cooler and some chairs. Crack open a beer or other
beverage of your choice.

3. Depending on what type of pit you're using, light it
up and get it to a steady temperature of at least 212
degrees (note the significance of that particular
temperature - it does make a difference). Never use
charcoal fluid or any other "starter." A charcoal chimney
is cheap and effective, and you won't have to wonder what
chemicals are getting onto your food.

4. While the pit is heating up, it's a good time to see
if anything else needs done - or, take a look at your
smoker for anything it needs in terms of maintenance, and
then either act on it or make note of it for future
reference. One thing I like to do is see if I am getting
any rust anywhere on the pit; if so, give the rusty area
a quick brushing with a wire brush and then spray a
little Pam (or similar cooking spray); you can of course
rub down with a little cooking oil, lard or whatever.
Wipe off the excess with a paper towel. As the pit heats
up, it bakes the fat into the surface of the pit,
seasoning it like a cast iron pan, stopping rust and
turning black for a nice finish.

5. If you're using a water pan, fill it up now with the
boiling (or almost boiling) water when the pit gets to
212. The temperature will probably drop again for a few
minutes, but will go back up. Now is also a good time to
add your smoking wood. You only need a little - just
enough to maintain a thin, blue stream of smoke that you
can barely see. If the smoke is black, dark grey,
billowing white or heavy, you're doing something wrong -
you probably need to get more oxygen on the fire and
improve airflow.

6. Once the pit crosses 212, remove your meat from the
refrigerator and apply a little more rub, if you'd like.
Put the meat on the grates.

7. Close the lid and keep it closed. Try to disturb the
ribs as little as possible for at least an hour; maybe 90
minutes. Maintain a temperature of around 225 for an hour
or two, allowing the smoke to penetrate into the ribs and
for the rub to set.

8. Temperature control: Keep the exhaust vent/smokestack
fully open at all times. You can control the temperature
with the intake, shuttering it open to raise the
temperature and closing it off a bit to lower the
temperature if needed. Do not close it all the way. If
the pit over-heats, simply open up the firebox (or in
extreme cases, crack open the smoking chamber a bit) to
dump the extra heat. Try to keep the cooking temperatures
between 225 and 235 at this stage. Add fuel if you need
to in order to maintain temperature; it pays to shove the
existing fuel to one side and set the new fuel near - but
not touching - the existing fuel. This is also a good
practice when adding smoking wood. Preheating the fuel
and/or smoking wood in this way does a lot to maintain a
good temperature curve and especially promote clean,
efficient burning of fuel and wood for best results.

9. After 90 minutes or so, I like to apply a "mop," also
referred to as a "spritz." This can be as simple as plain
old apple or orange juice, or more elaborate. Pretty much
any combination you like is good, as long as it is
relatively thin and moist. It is also very good to have a
bit of oil or fat (I use olive oil) in there. I don't
know exactly why, but my ribs are better when it's there,
so I do it. I think it has to do with a basting effect. A
combination that I've found to work very well for ribs
involves a mixture of Dr. Pepper (about 1 cup, maybe 1-
and-a-quarter), low-sodium soy sauce (about 1/2 cup) and
a little olive oil (about 1/4 cup); I've also used many
variations on this with different beverages and sauces,
depending on the desired effect - but the basic one never
fails. mix the mop well, apply the mop to the ribs, then
flip them over and rotate them to promote even cooking.
Apply mop to the other side. I like to apply the mop
every hour or so, which is also usually a good time to
add fuel, a chunk of smoking wood or whatever. Be sure to
flip and rotate the ribs, while you're at it.

10. After the first couple of hours, bump the temperature
up to around 250 degrees, although if it is 10 degrees on
either side of this, it's no big deal. Maintain this
temperature range throughout the cook until you're close
to the very end. Allow the water pan to evaporate down to
nothing - no need to add more water as in my experience
the benefits happen during the early stages and there are
diminishing returns as the cook gets toward the end.

11. Baby backs will usually take around four hours;
spares around five; depending on temperature control
issues, I always assume that they will take an hour or so
longer than that, too. Toward the end, when you judge
that you are maybe an hour from being done, you can, if
you want, start applying a glaze in a few very thin
layers. My "go-to" glaze that I recommend consists of
equal parts brown sugar, yellow mustard and apple cider
vinegar. Once again, I know that it sounds weird, but it
works and works well, taking three weird flavours and
making a whole new one. Take 1/3 of a cup of each, and
heat them on the stove on medium until everything is
dissolved and mixed well, then set aside and allow to
cool. As with my "basic" mop recipe above, it can be
modified to fit the occasion, using different things such
as orange or pineapple juice, catsup etc. - but the basic
one never fails. When the time comes to start applying
it, use a brush and apply in a very thin layer to both
sides of the ribs. Allow the glaze to "cook in" for 20
minutes or so, then repeat. Four or five applications
should be enough, but if you want more, then go for it.
This glaze will make good ribs better, and will also give
the ribs a beautiful, mahogany sheen. Apply the last
coating of glaze just a minute or two before the ribs
come off the heat, if you want them to be a little wet,
or 10 minutes or so before, if you want them to be dry.

12. The ribs are ready! I honestly don't know how I know
when they are ready, but it's usually just a while after
I THINK they are ready. Knowing when they are ready is a
bit difficult; meat that is "done" and meat that is
"barbecue" are two different things, as barbecue involves
higher finished temperatures necessitated by the time and
temperatures required to render fat and melt connective
tissues. This is the reason barbecue is done "low and
slow" rather than "hot and fast" as is done with grilling
lean cuts such as steaks, chops etc. I see no point in
trying to do a probe temperature reading on ribs due to
the thin meat, but as I recall one source says that an
internal temperature of 172 represents great ribs. If you
use a thermometer, that's a good temperature to try -
maybe 180, probably no higher than 185. Some people
measure readiness by "pullback" of the meat from the
bones, and this is as good as any way that I've found to
determine when to remove the meat from the heat. Mainly,
they simply look and feel ready. Experience is the best
teacher.

13. Remove the ribs from the heat to a platter, cover
them with foil to keep them arm and allow them to rest
for a few minutes while you get out the paper plates,
napkins etc.

14. Cut the ribs into serving portions as you desire,
serve and enjoy. Sauce is almost never necessary, but
it's okay to set some out for those who don't know any
better.

Important things to remember:

a) Maintain good airflow throughout the cook. Lack of
airflow leads to bitter, ashtray-tasting meat due to
condensation and the formation of creosote.

b) Maintain temperature and your fire as consistently as
possible. The best fire is a small, efficient fire based
on coals rather than flames; too big or two small, and
you have problems. Learn to think ahead when it comes to
adding fuel to the firebox.

c) You do not need as much smoke as you probably think
you do. As long as you have an almost-invisible, clear,
blue-grey smoke, you are in great shape. Any change in
this condition means you need to set the beer down and
look at your fire or airflow. Billowing, white smoke
might look impressive as the neighbours drive by to see
what's going on, but for smoking meat, it isn't any good,
either.

d) Experimentation leads to great things! Try some
different things and see how you like the results. 19
times out of 20, even the "screw-ups" will be better than
anything you can buy downtown.


That is a good, general over-view, any questions, just
ask.
TasunkaWitko - Chinook, Montana

Helfen, Wehren, Heilen
Die Wahrheit wird euch frei machen
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