I've been kicking around the idea of trying my hand at smoking meat, so the other day I picked up a slightly used smoker on Craigslist for 15 bucks. I've been reading up, doing some research and it looks like the particular smoker I just picked up is plagued with problems in its design. There are a bunch of simple modifications you can do to make it a kick butt smoker, but in the meantime, there was a this smoker: Just sitting there on my deck; Not being used.
So I proclaimed in my best manly voice, "Damn the mods, we will smoke TODAY!" I then kissed my confused girlfriend, hopped on my motorcycle and sped off to "harvest" 3 lbs of St. Louis cut pork ribs.
Beef ribs give you that classic Fred Flintstone, caveman look, but they just cant compete with the juicy tender awesomeness of properly cooked pork ribs. And I figured this was a fairly straightforward way to test out the smoker. Even a failure would still be pretty tasty.
Now, the schools of thought about smoking meat are as varied as the snowflakes I never get to see. If you ask 100 different people, you're going to get 100 different answers for what they think is the best. The recipe I used here comes from BBQ Pit Boys and turned out to be a really nice way to cook the ribs: Sweet, a little tangy, a hint of some spice, but not overpowering. Its a winner.
The key thing to remember here is timing. The ribs are going to cook for about 4 hours, but it takes two hours of marinating the meat before that, so if you're planning this for dinner, you need to factor that time in. Points are usually not awarded for dinner after 11:30pm.
First we start with meat.
BY THE WAY:
This cut of ribs is officially listed by the USDA as "Pork Ribs, St. Louis Style." They are categorized this way because a guy named Steve Olson - whose job it was at the USDA to draft the name for this particular cut of meat - was a Cardinal's fan. True story.
|Its a little hard to remove the rib membrane and take a picture of the process at the same time. Just thought I'd mention that.|
Aye, there's the rub. This is a super simple recipe that delivers some wonderful flavor to the pork:
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of paprika
1 tbs black pepper
1 tbs salt
1 tbs chili powder
1 tbs garlic powder
1 tbs onion powder
2 tbs ground cumin
Sprinkle the mixture on the meat and rub it into every nook and cranny. Dont forget the sides!
Pop this seasoned bad boy in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to marinate.
|On the smoke. The ribs are placed on the grills and away we go.|
|Oh yes, they were pretty freakin awesome.|
After 3.5 hours, the ribs were ready to come off. Wrap em in tin foil and let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
In hindsight, I recommend that you flip the ribs and mop the meat every hour. Dont lift the lid at any time before that. Use the old adage: "Lookin aint cookin!"
I didn't manage to take a photo of the ribs nicely assembled on a plate with a little dash of sauce and the vegetables and fork and napkin. Strangely enough, I was overcome by a feeding frenzy that had been building for 4 hours.