Saturday, May 14, 2011

Rib-N ... the verdict is N!!

Well that last two hours seemed an eternity but I have been grinning ever since.  The smell of smoked meat permeated the house long before I was able to sink my teeth in.  When the timer finally went off, I was a little disappointed to find a ring of liquid around the base of the pan.

I thought I had the foil closed up tightly, but I guess all those juices just had to find a way out.  I was worried about having dried out ribs but there was no problem at all.  I unwrapped each package almost like a kid at Christmas with ooohs and aaahs and a little nibble here and there.  When I finished, this is what I saw.

Be sure to click on that photo above for the bigger version.  I started slicing right in the middle, wanting to sample a mid-section piece from each half rack.  I kept the ribs separate, so I could judge whether the marinade made a difference or not on each type of rib.  I found little difference.
None of the ribs displayed a deep smoke ring, but as discussed previously, that seldom seems to affect the taste.  All of these ribs were perfectly tender, moist, the fat was rendered just right, and the dry rub added some nice flavor and a little heat.  The one thing that was missing was smoke flavor.  I don't know if I didn't add enough wood or if it needs to stay on the smoker longer than two hours.  Probably the former, as my Mrs turns out perfectly smoked chicken in that time.  Rookie mistake.  My main concern was in "leaving it be" in the smoker without dropping the cooking temperature below the "ideal" range.  There was plenty of smoke exiting the smoker, but I guess it needs more, for longer.

I was really happy to find none of the meat falling off the bone.  It all held well, yet was tender and left a perfect bite mark.  In KCBS scoring these ribs would have done very well on tenderness.

I have to admit I did not find a lot of difference in the baby back versus the spare ribs.  I was concerned with the baby backs being smaller they might cook too much and dry out.  Not a problem either on the top or bottom rack.  They all came out great.

After eating way too much, I chopped up the remainder for leftovers.
I found years ago that ribs warm up great in the microwave so you can guess what I'll be munching on the next few days. 

Overall, I think the marinade did not add a thing.  As well as these turned out, I doubt an overnight or longer marinade would help much versus the 3 hours I did today.  In fact I kind of find myself wondering, is this all there is to it?  I guess I can understand now why I had so many good ribs when judging cook-offs.  Maybe it really is that easy.  It also makes me wonder why I get so many bad ribs at BBQ joints.

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