Tuesday, August 23, 2011


That stands for Best Ribs In The Universe. Not modest, are they? ;) I got the recipe from The Virtual Weber Bullet. It's a little different for me since I usually don't put salt or much sugar in my rubs, but I thought it was worth a try.

RANT - I hate recipes that specify chili powder. That's mostly because I do not have any on the shelf. It's easy enough to make with paprika, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano ... Why not just list those ingredients instead? Is there something magical about letting some spice packager mix it? They probably add the magic salt. IMO it's like listing "cake mix" as an ingredient for a cake recipe. /RANT

Also I'm not slavishly following the recipe as so many have recommended. I skipped the MSG in the rub. I guess I should call my variation  NRBITU (Next Best Ribs ...) I'm also not going to run out to buy KC Masterpiece sauce when I've got perfectly good Sweet Baby Ray's on the shelf.

I got two cryovac packages (3 racks each) of baby backs from Caputos for a total of 15¾ lb of baby backs. I will add a third grate to my WSM so I can lay them all flat. I've also cut the racks of ribs in half to make them easier to arrange on the round grates. It's nice to put a whole rack on a platter to serve, but I'm making these as a 'bring along' to a corn roast so they'll be sliced down to individual bones once I'm done. It turned out that 6 racks fit well on three grates with four half racks on each grate.

There are two more grates under the top one.

At about 9:30 AM I got the rub on the ribs just as the storm moved in. Weather is not really with me today. We might even get a tornado. I'm going to situate the cooker in front of the garage and maybe pull it under the overhang for some rain protection. I have two hours to get the smoker ready and the fire lit. The rain should last longer than that.

Weather at the time the meat went on: 71° (From the meat probe on the Maverick.) Light rain tapering off and wind light at 10 mph.

timetemp comment
12:45 PM
Coals on a Minion lay using some BK Blue, some lump and some Stubbs Briquettes. Poured about a gallon of hot water into the bowl.
Temp hit 210° on the remote so I put the meat on and closed two of three bottom vents.
1:21214°/185°Temperature had recovered higher about 15 minutes ago and seems to be dropping so I opened another bottom vent about half way.
1:47242°/205°Climbing slowly.
2:31236°/???Temps seem to be wandering up and down. Ambient reads 86° F. Must be in the sun.
2:51267°/215°Temps jumped as a new storm cell starts passing through. Probably a reaction to the wind providing extra air for combustion. I'll leave it be for now as the rain will likely cool the smoker.
3:00209°Heaviest rain  yet has taken cooker temps down.  Radar shows us about the middle of the storm cell.
3:15212°Rain has stopped and temps are recovering after dipping below 200°.
3:58227°/215°First peek - ribs look good and there is no pulling back on the bone as of yet.  As per directions, all bottom vents open full for rest of cook. Temp is already climbing.
4:35303°/215°Quick peak -
4:50267°/215°Temp drooping a bit - stirred coals and threw in a couple more pieces of wood.
5:06276°Temp starting to recover a bit. And it sure smells good!
6:28228°/245°Need to peek! Surprisingly the ribs in the top rack were not done. They didn't flex that much when picked up. They resisted a bamboo skewer poke. And they measured about 155° between the bones. But they are fairly meaty ribs. So I closed the smoker back up, stirred the coals and left it to continue the smoke.
7:43256°/245°Meat off! As I took the ribs off, I sauced them with 4:1 Sweet Baby Ray's and honey.

"(grate/dome)" refers to the Maverick ET-73 remote reading vs. the Weber thermometer in the lid.

Comments on Quantities:
  • 6 racks of ribs fit well on three grates when cut in half.
  • I doubled the recipe for the rub and that was just right.
  • I made 2½ C BBQ sauce and that was about triple what I needed, but I bottled the rest in a squeeze bottle to be used as a condiment when they are served.
Initial taste impressions: These are good. They don't seem too hot but they leave a hot sensation in your mouth. Maybe I should lighten up on the cayenne if I use this rub again. Overall, I'm not sure this is much better than the rub I usually use which has no salt or sugar and includes rosemary, fresh garlic and oil. (And no chili powder!) Overall, this seems to be a more conventional recipe.

Having three grates in the WSM worked well. They're spaced almost 4" apart and that seems to be good spacing for ribs.

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