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I have a pile of loves. I love my family and friends (how could I not?) like most reasonably well adjusted people. And anyone who knows me, knows I'm probably not as well adjusted as I should be, but where's the fun in that? I love food, ‘well prepared, fill you up to the point of exploding, but make you think about another helping’ good food! I love to BBQ and grill. I love machines and motorcycles. I have a couple of bikes. To be fair, I'm not sure if I'm allowed to call them motorcycles yet. They're being stubborn and won't run, yet... And I love trying to make something my own. I also love to rant on occasion (sometimes frequently) and every once in a while I love to write some shit down. I'm sure I have a lot of other things that I love, but this is a good start. I may not be interesting to some, but others may enjoy following me. Here's my journey through food, a bike build and all the shit in between. I call it as I see it and say what I think needs to be said. If that bugs you, you're probably too fucking sensitive anyway. I'm not sure where this is going, but I hope it's somewhere good. In the end it's all about laughing out loud at least once every day.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Slow Grilled Ribs

Part of the premise behind this blog is that I want to share some (that's right some, you think I'm going to give away all of my secrets?) of my cooking and grilling adventures. Epic or catastrophic, It's going to be entertaining.

A month or so ago, there was a potluck lunch at my office. So, since it was my first real chance to show my coworkers what I like to eat, I was out to impress. I did ribs on my BBQ, really, really slow. I know what you're thinking, 'Ya ya, we all do ribs, What makes yours so fucking special?' Well, since I love ya, I'm going to tell you. Sit back, hold onto your ass (or someone else's , I'm not going to judge) and pay attention. I'm only going to tell you this once. Well, maybe more than once, but I've always wanted to say that.

What you need:
2 Racks of Ribs
Wood Chips
A whole friggen day
Reinforcements to help you eat.

The Rub:
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup cane sugar
¼ cup Kirkland organic no salt seasoning
2 Tbs garlic powder
1 Tbs onion powder
2 Tbs sea salt
1 ½ tsp celery salt
¼ cup sweet paprika
1 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs fresh ground black pepper
1 ½ tsp dried sage
½ ground allspice
¼ cup cayenne
Pinch of ground cloves

Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl watching for clumps and lumps. Make sure you mix it together as evenly as possible.

The Ribs:
It doesn’t really matter which ribs you use. You’ll adjust your cook time to accommodate different cuts. Start the night before with ribs that are not frozen. Flip them over and peel back the membrane. If you leave on the membrane, it will tighten up and get hard and difficult to chew. I find the simplest way to remove the membrane is to use a meat thermometer to poke under the edge and get it started. Once the membrane starts to peel back it pretty much takes care of itself. Just keep pulling!

DO NOT BOIL THE RIBS!!!! Boiling starts the cooking process and will make them tough. It also severely shortens the grill time regardless of the temperature of the grill.

The next part is simple, cut each rack into two pieces and put the ribs on a foil lined cookie sheet and apply the rub to every exposed side and edge. Be liberal, the quantity of rub you just made will do two full racks of ribs.
Cover them up, and put them in the fridge over night.

The Grill:
You should plan for at least 6 hours of cooking time.

The next morning take your ribs out of the fridge and place them on the counter to get them up to room temperature then go out to your grill and get it prepped. Place a shallow roaster pan under one side of your grates. This is to catch the juices off the ribs and create a steam bath and semi-self basting system.

Make sure you start with a full bottle of propane if you are using a gas grill. Preheat your grill to 200 F to 225 F. You will be cooking with indirect heat so only turn on the burners for the side not under the roaster pan.

Take your time and get the temperature stable. While you are waiting, fill a large bowl with wood chips and water. I prefer a blend of hickory and mesquite chips. Let the wood chips soak for at least an hour. This shouldn’t be a problem since it’s going to be a couple hours before you need them.

While waiting for the grill to heat up, take the time to fold a smoker box out of aluminium foil. It doesn’t have to be pretty, just make it around 2” deep with a 3” x 6” opening and be sure to include a flap that can be folded mostly closed. If you have an actual smoker box or two, well jolly good for you.

Take your ribs outside with your oil and 2 cups of HOT water. Remember that the longer and more frequently you open the lid to your grill, the more heat you will lose so let’s try to keep that to a minimum, shall we? Open your grill and pour the water into the roaster pan. Wait a minute for the water to steam off the grill and then oil your grates. Place your ribs on the grates meat side down! Close the lid, walk away for 20 minutes. Go have a beer.
These are still done in full racks, but I found that cutting each in half  produces nicer results and are easier to manage.

OK, your beer is done. Come back to your grill. Put some chips in your box and close it. Open your grill, and flip the ribs, gently. Don’t knock off your rub that you so lovingly created and applied. That would just be sad.

Put the smoker box on your grates directly over the heat source. Close your grill. Go away and have a couple of beers. Every once in a while (20-30 minutes) walk by and make sure that the temperature is holding at around the 200 F mark. Adjust your running burners if needed, but do it a little at a time to avoid causing your temps to spike. That would be bad.

Sprinkle a little extra dry rub on if you want.

Ok, another hour has passed. This step’s easy. Grab a fresh beer (stop your grinning, this one’s for the ribs) and go open your grill. Pour the whole thing (ya, the whole thing. Stop arguing with me. It’s not my fault you didn’t buy more than a dozen) into the roaster pan. Check to make sure you’re still going to have lots of smoke and add more wood chips if you think you need to (smoking meat isn’t a science, it’s an art, it’s open to interpretation. Add more if you want to, don’t ask me, I like lot of smoke, you can do it your way if you want to bad enough). Close the grill go away for half an hour.

OK, now for the good stuff. Come back with your sauce and a meat thermometer. Check the interior temp. of the thickest, meatiest rib. It should be around 170 F. I know, I know, I’m using store bought sauce, Shame on me. I haven’t perfected my own yet, and if I had, I don’t know if I’d share it anyway. I generally like to use Cattleboyz. I’ve found it at Costco and occasionally Superstore. And if you love it and can’t find it, you can order it directly from their website, http://www.cattleboyz.com/, but it’s up to you what you want to use. You don’t need much, just go out and brush on a layer of sauce to your taste onto each rack of ribs. Close the grill and go away. Set the table, you’re almost done.

Fifteen or twenty minutes after you’ve brushed on the sauce go back outside you should be done setting the table (if you’re not, you’re probably drunk in which case you have bigger problems, call for help). Take your platter with you and rescue the ribs from the very scary heat. Tent the ribs in tinfoil for 15 minutes. Open the tent up and cut the ribs into singles (FYI: I use the term ‘cut’ loosely, the ribs will probably fall off the bone or be very close to it). Put a bowl of sauce on the table with a couple of spoons in it so that you can give yourself some for dipping.

Call in your reinforcements, divide the ribs amongst yourselves and attack! You’re on your own for side dishes and beverages. You’re probably drunk anyway and should stop drinking or not. It’s your prerogative. Enjoy the meat, you’ve earned it.
The key is to take your time and keep your temperature as close to 200 F as possible. If your ribs are a lot thicker, they’ll take longer, and they’ll be done faster if they are thinner. It all depends on your cut. Back ribs are meatier but have more fat, and baby backs and spare ribs have less fat but also a little less meat. They can be just as tender, but will have a shorter cook time.

There, that's what works for me. We're all different, so do what you want.

I'm working on something for my rotisserie. More details to follow, just be fucking patient.

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