Thursday, December 27, 2012


One of the annual traditions of my friendships with Derek and Kyle includes a weekend where we predominantly eat pork. The picture at right is of our winter rib racks. These ribs were meaty, not the thin weak stuff you get at an applebees. These ribs had thick meat from end to tip. The ribs were from mature pigs and were very flavorful. Cooking Ribs is about three things: Dry Rub, Smoke Flavor, and BBQ sauce.

(Please read more about my ribs after the break.)

Step 1: Prep and Dry Rub
First you must cut the backing off the ribs. It is a thin layer of silver skin on the back of the ribs. You will never have juicy tender fall off the bone ribs as long as this connective tissue is left on. Not removing it is a rookie mistake. After you've removed it you should dry rub your ribs. Dry rubs come in all flavors. Opinions of what makes a good dry rub are numerous. No one dry rub is best, everyone has their own secret formula. I use McCormicks pork blend, or sweet and spicy blend.  You should rub the rack well and wrap it in plastic wrap or put it in a ziplock.

Step 2: Smoking
I use hickory wood for my pork. It's a mild wood that offers good smokey flavor without being too dominant or too unique. A smoker isn't the only way to make ribs, I've used a foil pack, a steamer, and an oven. A smoker is however the best way to make ribs. You want to smoke anything over a low temp (200-250). Low temps allow the food to cook slowly and they don't shock the meat into contracting. The low heat also allows the fat to gelatinize without drying the meat. The magic happens when you find the sweet spot.

Step 3: BBQ sauce
Again there is no magic sauce. I used sweet baby rays original mixed with brown sugar and apple butter for these ribs. You just want a moist sauce, that is not too thin, and you don't want to apply it too soon so that it burns. The magic happens when the sugars in the sauce begin to caramelize on the ribs. This doesn't take much time but it is dependent on the temp of the smoker.

Amazing ribs. They are tender, smokey, and sweet. The meat is ridiculously moist. The investment in the smoker is already paying off.

(Credit to Kyle who did most of the work on these. They were delicious.)

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