Celebration in Pork: Sous Vide & Smoked Ribs, Rack, and Shoulder

Most glorious mum-in-law flies in — not on her broom — about once a year. Her favorite food on the planet is pork ribs. In fact, her favorite meat is pork. Ya just gotta love an Iowa farm girl.
Smokin Frenzy
Clockwise, from the top, St Louis cut spare ribs, shoulder (butt), and rack.

The ribs (20 hours @ 134°F), shoulder (48 hours @ 140°F), and rack (10 hours @ 134°F)  were all sous vide well in advance, ice bathed, then stored in the fridge awaiting their smoke-filled finish. This is one of the greatest things about sous vide: once fully pasteurized, and as long as the bag isn’t opened, you can safely keep it in your fridge for several weeks.

Each piece of meat was liberally salted in advance of the water bath. That’s it. Nothing fancy here. I simply wanted to see what salt alone would do.

Always being interested in the science of cooking, I did some research on the smoking bit too. The result of that was a few simple things 1) charcoal for heat, 2) wood for smoke (I used dry oak chunks), 3) wait for blue smoke (the nearly invisible kind), 4) meat goes in cold and wet. Pretty simple stuff. For those interested in a shitload of details, go here.
Smoke Ring!
Science works. Check out that smoke ring! Believe it or not, the ribs were in the smoker for only 40 minutes. I pulled them out of the fridge, out of the bag, left a bunch of gelatinous goo on the surface, and put them in the smoker. No added rubs, spices, or fussery. Continue reading

Labor Day Sous Vide St. Louis Cut Ribs

It seems like the summer of 2015 has zipped by in a flash. Where does the time go? I moved to Maryland just a few weeks ago, didn’t I? In nine days, it will be three years.

I thought I’d celebrate Summer’s end in high style.
St. Louis Cut Ribs
I’ve become a huge fan of St. Louis cut ribs for various reasons, but that’s another post. Actually, it’s a previous post. I don’t recall the link, so just search for it. Continue reading

Big Green Egg: St. Louis Cut BBQ’d Ribs

Posted by johngl

One of my secret “guilty” pleasures is reading through my annual compendiums (1993-2011) of Cook’s Illustrated magazines put out by the good folks at America’s Test Kitchen. What attracts me to these folks’ publications is the total lack of advertizing. And, more importantly, these folks actually cook! They test things ad nauseum and while I’ve found them (absolutely) wrong on occasion (e.g. when to salt beef), they eventually see the error in their ways and aren’t afraid to admit it. In the nearly 20 years I’ve been reading these things — and I do read them cover to cover — I’ve grown to trust them. So, when the same folks started Cook’s Country a couple of years ago, I bit. In my 2011 compendium of Cook’s Country, in the June/July issue, I found, in the Cooking Class section, the rather bold statement: How to Barbecue Ribs. Well, firstly, I totally disagree with the way they spelled barbeque. It isn’t abbreviated BBC, it’s BBQ. But who am I to nitpick?

Secondly, that’s a pretty bold statement: How to Cook Ribs. I like bold and direct statements, so I decided I’d give it a whirl.

St. Louis Cut Barbeque Ribs

These are St. Louis Cut Spareribs. I’d never used them as I lean in favor of baby backs. Yes, these SLCs were even recommended in the article. I actually managed to follow their first instruction.

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Posted by johngl

Regardless of the date on the calendar, summer has officially arrived in Texas with Austin temps easily reaching the high 90s and the last thing you need to do is heat up the house by doing a lot of cooking. And I never really need an excuse to play with fire.

Last Monday, the work holiday known as Memorial Day, gave me the extra day I needed to do some serious fire roasting. Brats, Italian sausage links, tequila chicken, and finally some loin-back ribs were all slated for sizzling contact with hot steel. We’d have ready to eat goodies for the rest of the week.

Of course, having a bbq loin-back rib dinner for Memorial Day wasn’t bad either:

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