Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day back loin ribs

That's what Mom (*) wants and we're having company so I got two cryovac packs of three racks each from Sam's club. They had no spare ribs so I went with loin back ribs. (SWMBO had requested back ribs but my original plan was to do some of each.) Target serving time is 3:00 PM. I should have these on the fire by about 8:00 AM (based on previous cooks) but that's not critical since I can easily bump it up with additional heat.

Weather is going to be beautiful today. We're at 57° right now and the temperature is climbing fast with full sun and practically no wind at about 5 mph.

I'm using my typical wet rub (dry ingredients + peanut oil + lots of crushed garlic.) In the rub went:

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Coarse grind black pepper.
  • 2 Tbsp. ground Sage
  • 1 Tbsp. Coriander (**)
  • 2 Tbsp ground Rosemary (**)
  • 1 Tbsp ground dried Oregano flakes. (**)
  • 1 Tbsp. ground Chili Ancho
  • 1 Tsp. ground Chili Chipotle
  • 1 Tsp. Cumin
  • 1 1/2 bulb crushed garlic (not clove, bulb.)
  • Enough peanut oil to make this mixture a slurry.

(**) These herbs and spices were ground in the Krupps whirling blade coffee grinder that has been repurposed as a spice grinder.

These are going into the regular WSM of course. I'll be using the third rack since I like to smoke ribs flat. This is going to be a big load for the smoker. I'm firing with Grove lump from Woodman's (very nice mix of sizes with very little fines.) For smoking wood I'm using Hickory, Box Elder, Black Walnut, Apple and one piece of Cherry. The 22" WSM would be ideal for this size cook but I can get by with the 18". I just cut the last three ribs off each rack and then I can fit two racks and the extra pieces on each rack.

Later on I'll fire up something else to roast some red peppers and then bake some foiled potatoes. Maybe time to use the 18 1/2 which hasn't been fired up in years.

8:00 AM°Lit coals on the Minion lay. closed bottom vents to (0, 0, 1/2) (The numbers indicate the approximate fraction that each of the three bottom vents is open. 0 => closed, 1 => wide open)
Meat on! 

9:25180°/190°I'm happy with this start. I can bump the temp later if necessary to hit my target time.
10:03178°/190°Opened the bottom vent a bit to (0,0,3/4)
10:30176°/185°Need to bump this up a bit - stirred the fire and went to (0,1,1) on the vents.
11:09192°/220°Bump working - back to (0,0,1)
11:58192°/230°Threw some Box Elder, Apple and Walnut on the fire. Higher lid temp than smoker temp is a puzzlement. But the smoke is progressing. I peeked in and the meat is starting to darken a bit but there is no hint of pulling back off the bones. When the spuds are finished, I'll see if I can add those coals to the smoker to give it a little bump.
2:45242°/200°Flipped the ribs over. They are starting to pull back on the bone but did not pass the "break when you pick them up" test. They should be done soon but I miss the 3:00 target. 
Meat off!
(grate/lid) Temperatures are recorded using the built in lit thermometer and the smoker temperature probe of a Maverick ET-73 hanging near the edge of the top rack.

I didn't get pix of the final results as it was time to eat and other food to get served. But part way through they looked like this.

Everyone liked the ribs. They were pretty moist and had good smoky flavor, but I felt the spice mix left a bit to be desired. I dunno... I just felt they could have been better.

While the ribs were smoking I fired up some more lump in the 18 and fire roasted some red peppers and then closed things up to bake some foil wrapped spuds. Temp reading I'm getting with a thermometer inserted through a vent is about 425° Peppers were done in minutes on a very hot and open grill and the spuds were started around the edge. Once the peppers were done about 11:30 the spuds were spread over the coals, one bottom vent was closed (1,1,0) and the lid put on.

Once the peppers are roasted, the skins slip off easily and I slice them into strips and dress with white wine vinegar and lemon juice.

Next time I do this many ribs, I should take the three-rib mini-racks and experiment on them with different rubs and perhaps smoking conditions. I could do them in the mini while the almost full racks smoke in the WSM.

(*) Not my mom but the mother of our children. When they were young I had started to call her 'mom.' She pointed out that I was not her mother and I was directed to call her Cindy. I did so and soon our sons were calling her Cindy as well. She sighed and said "OK, call me mom."

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