Mostly about food, this blog is just a place for me to throw things that are of interest to me. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by an look around. This represents just some of the stops on the various pathways that this amateur home cook finds himself.

You may find that these foods tend toward protein and away from carbohydrates - this is due to diabetic issues, so I try to only sparingly use carbs, and good ones at that. Of course, sometimes I forget....

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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Costillas mas fina - "Mo' Better Ribs"

In my poor multi-threaded mind, there's always a process running that's thinking about making good BBQ better. Lately, I've been thinking about spare ribs. then it hit me - maybe the same brining that works so well on other pork would serve me here. We'll see...

First I grabbed a cryovac rack of ribs, removed the membrane and prepped them St. Louis style. Then I trimmed of any large and obvious patches of fat. Finally, I cut the rack in half to better fit on the smoker.
Next, I prepared a simple brine. I heated half a gallon of water on the stove, and completely dissolved 1/2 cup of salt and 1/4 cup of sugar. Then I let it cool completely. This is very important so as not to start 'cooking' the ribs. Once the brine was cool, I placed the ribs in a zip-top bag and added enough brine to get them submerged with room to spare. These then go into the fridge for 12 hours, and I turned them over halfway through the brining period.

At cooking time, I pulled the bag of ribs out of the fridge and removed the ribs. Never reuse the brine - always discard it. Then I rinsed them thoroughly to remove any residual traces of salt, and dried them well with paper towels. Next, on to seasoning.

I rubbed the dry ribs down with Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, and then sprinkled garlic powder and coarse salt and pepper on all surfaces, rubbing it in. Then they went into the smoker for five hours at 250 degrees. After pulling them later, they looked like this:
There was a very small smoke ring, smaller than I expected. Perhaps the brining somehow inhibited the hemoglobin reaction somehow. Too bad the picture can't represent the taste.

These ribs turned out to be excellent! There was a good smoke taste - not too heavy. But the texture was off the hook! these ribs were so tender, it was more like a pork tenderloin. They were incredibly juicy as well. Completely absent was any of the "springy-ness" or stringiness sometimes associated with cooked pork.

Unless there is a time issue, I'll be brining my ribs from now on - no question. Give it a try!

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