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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Monday, January 19, 2009

Super Spares on the MES

Ever since I picked up the Masterbuilt Electric Smoker (MES) from Bass Pro Shops during a monster sale just before Christmas, it has been the subject of many experiments, with more yet to come. My MES seems to be pretty true to the temperature controller, but I have heard others that were off a bit. So far, it's all been good. Since last Thursday, a large regional grocery chain (H.E.B.) has been running a monster sale on a few meats - including cryovac packs of both pork butts and spare ribs. A dollar a pound, folks! Needless to say, my freezer is bursting now with Q for the whole summer It was time for the first rack of spares to run through the MES, and here they are.

These ribs are being sold one-up, or one to each cryo pack instead of two- or three-up that we often see here. That's fine, they keep a long time like this, and it allows me to pull one without having to vacuum seal the rest. This one was about 5 pounds.
I trim my spares in a modified St. Louis style (Kansas City cut). First, I remove any large fatty areas, leaving enough for juiciness during the smoke. Then I trim off the rib tips, the boneless 'tail' (this is what makes it KC style), and take off the chine bone. There is usually a good piece of meat on the chine bone, so I strip that off and toss the chine in the trash.

Next I flip them over and remove the pleura (membrane) on the inside of the ribs. No one wants to try and chew that nasty thing, so it goes in the trash too. Last trimming is the flap of diaphragm that is usually left running diagonally across the rack. The trimmed pork goes into my container of rib tips I keep in the freezer, and any decent trimmed-off fat goes into my pork fat stash in the freezer for use in sausage making, my next endeavor.

This leaves you with a nice roughly rectangular rack of ribs that looks good, is meaty, and easily split up for serving. Here it is after initial prep.
Now, because I am running these through the MES, there's no way they'll fit in one piece. Therefore, I eyeball the middle and split them in to smaller halves for the smoker. It is easy to see from the cut edges (facing you) just how thick and meaty these spares are. Now you know why I am stocking up!

I prepared these as has become my habit - quirky but reliable. I rinse the ribs off and dry them completely. Then I douse them with Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (not cheaper stuff!) and rub it into all the little spaces, edgs and surfaces. Lastly, I sprinkle all surfaces with Bolner's Fiesta brand Fajita Seasoning. I know, it has MSG in it, but it is a perfect spice blend for BBQ and Mexican cooking (without the cumin and chili powder). It is also available in a salt-free version. Ths spares then go into a bag to sit overnight.
Aaaaaah - done! Since I never cooked spares in that smoker, I needed a baseline. I set the MES to 250 degrees, the timer for 3 hours, stuck them in there and left them alone. I did do some temp checks at 2 and 2 1/2 hours with an instant-read thermometer, all progressing nicely. This is how they came out.
Here's a closeup of the finished product. Note the color, and how moist they are, with just the right amount of rib ends showing. Did I hit the right cooking combo the first time out? Only time and palate will tell...
Plated for service, with frozen fries (time-saver) and some pinto beans topped with fresh-made Pico de Gallo. It tasted better than it looked, and it looked good. These ribs turned out at least as good as most off either my stick-burner or charcoal smoker. Amazing.
Here's a close-up of the ribs. They were extremely juicy, very flavorful and you can even see the nice smoke ring. So, this one is for the nay-sayers that turn their noses up at smoking on a watt-burner!

1 comment:

Kathy said...

you're makin me hungry!!