Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ribs Redux


Well I'll be damned! Another smokey discovery recently made!

If you've ever done any research into smoking meat, you may have noticed that there are as many different ways to smoke food as there are kinds of wood. It can get a little frustrating when you're investing a lot of time and money and effort to find out how to do something the best way possible only to discover there are 50 other ways to do it that may or may not be better.

In my original post on smoking ribs, I presented the 3-2-1 method of smoking, which involves rubbing the meat and refrigerating it overnight, smoking them for 2.5 to 3 hours uncovered, wrapping them in foil (aka "tenting") and splashing them with some sort of flavourful liquid (apple juice, cider, etc.), smoking for another 2 hours, unwrapping and finishing for an hour. Now, this always produced super-tasty ribs, but they never were quite the right tenderness for my exacting tastes.

So, with that in mind, I went back into Internet Search mode and found a different technique, one which involves a bit more work and attention, but the results were fantastic. I give credit to The Smoker King for this method, which I didn't follow to the letter, so I'll break it down for you in my own words and personal tweaks.

OK, so first of all, nothing has changed with the basics. We're looking for back ribs, membrane removed, rubbed in whatever goodness you have since invented or found online (or, if you're still using one of the rubs I've posted, awesome! Thanks for the compliment!) and left in the fridge overnight.

It's the next day that things get interesting.

Once your meat has been sitting out for about an hour to get to room temperature and your fire is going, it's time to apply the new secret technique! Oooooo...

What is said technique? A ridiculously simple mop sauce.

Mop Sauce for Ribs

- 1 1/3 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- pinch of rib rub (if you don't have any, just a pinch of brown sugar and a tiny pinch of cayenne will suffice) NOTE: This pinch of rub is optional. Sugar burns/caramelizes during the smoking process, and the rub contains sugar. Some of us, like me, like this crispy, burnt-y, bitter flavour. Many do not. If you don't, omit the rub/sugar and just add a pinch of cayenne and some salt.

- Whisk together in a ceramic/glass bowl with a whisk or fork

Apply a generous amount of mob sauce to both sides of the rack(s) of ribs.

Place ribs on the smoker (bone side down) and smoke uncovered for 5 and a half hours. Apply a layer of the mop sauce to the top side of the ribs every 45 minutes, no need to mop the underbelly. Also, if you can find it, try out pecan wood with your ribs, its flavour is just wonderful. If your smoker is like mine, you may need to move the ribs around a bit to ensure even cooking. Don't flip them over though.

At the 4 hour, 30 minute mark, wrap ribs in foil with the rest of the mop sauce. Smoke for another hour.

Remove, unwrap, and let stand about 5 minutes before cutting into sections.

Admittedly, this results with this method aren't as pretty as the mahogany coloured ribs you get from the first method I've used. These ribs are going to be "wetter", even before you add BBQ sauce. But the texture and tenderness is PERFECT. Well, at least the closest I've ever come.

So, the rib experimentation will continue until TRUE pork perfection is achieved!

Till then, may you smell of wood smoke and meat vapour! And may every bite be as tasty as the last!


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