Friday, July 15, 2005

ribs ribs

Wanted to make the rib recipe from America's Test Kitchen. So I did. I bought some hickory chips, mixed up a bowl of their spice rub, and smoked the ribs for four hours. We ended up with a *lot* of ribs, because I'd originally got a single rack of baby back ribs, but then had invited some friends over, so I got what I thought was a rack of spareribs. Unfortunately, what I got was a *pair* of slabs, because the thing was secretly a two-pack. Well, the two-pack cost as much as the single baby back rib slab, so whatever - I figured I'd just make 'em all. If I was gonna spend five hours tending the barbeque, I might as well make as much as I can.

The other thing was that the chimney started had been thrown out by the guys who cleaned up our back yard. And the grill brush. Dammit.

So, I found another grill brush we had, and piled up the coals. Ei-Nyung oiled some paper and wadded it up, but it burned much too quickly. Ended up having to use lighter fluid, which was a shame, but whatever. We got the coals started after about 20 minutes. Once the coals were hot, I put in a little foil bowl with the soaked (for an hour in water) hickory chips. Put the grill on, and gave it a thorough scrubbing. (we need new grates - after the winter, there's too much rust on the grill to get it as clean as I'd like).

I put the ribs on the "cold" side of the Q, away from the pile of coals, and realized we didn't actually have enough surface area available to get all the ribs exposed at a time. I ended up putting them on in an A formation, where the angled legs are the sparerib slabs, and the baby back ribs sat on the crossbar. I'd rotate them every 20-30 minutes, making sure everything got exposed to the smoke, and heat.

ATK says to rest the ribs for an hour, and we rested two racks of ribs for that long, but cut into the first one after only about 15 minutes. The spice rub was pretty darned good - a little sweet, a little punchy. I'm not sure I'd actually change it in any way, shape or form, and have no ideas as to how it could be better, or how the execution of the recipe could have been better.

The first slab of ribs was good, but not fall-off-the-bone-instantly tender. The later, rested ribs were. Great stuff, and frankly, I doubt if I've had better, without sauce. I brought some to work over the course of the week, and every time, when I opened up the container, the smoky smell was joyous to behold.



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