- 1 rack, spare ribs
- Borrowed from a friend
- 13 ounces Apple Cidar vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup BBQ sauce*
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder*
- 2 teaspoons regular chili powder*
- 2 teaspoons cumin*
- 3 shots, Jack Daniels
* – estimates, I just dumped stuff into the pot without any regard for quantity, but I’m pretty close
My roommate’s boyfriend Joe sent me a text message yesterday, saying that with the snow about to hit that would likely wipe out work for the day today, that we should smoke something. I don’t know what it was about the weather being at its absolute worst that brought out Joe’s desire to smoke something, but it seemed like as good an idea as any with nothing else to do in the bad weather, so I said sure, why not. We had an extra set of ribs in the house, and my friend Gene had given me some of his rub when I saw him a few weeks ago, so we wouldn’t have to buy anything special for this smoke, and it would be easy to put together quickly, so last night we rubbed the ribs and put them on today, our first ribs on the smoker.
To be honest, I was more of a consultant on this smoke. Joe took the lead on this one, it was his first attempt at smoking meat in there and he did a good job. He kept a good eye on the temperature to make sure it wasn’t getting too hot or too cold. He closely monitored the smoke situation to make sure the meat was getting good smoke. For this smoke, we went back to wood chips, since we wanted to use something that would last throughout the entire project, and the pellets would only last us an hour at a time, and we only have two packets of each wood. We wanted to keep as much constant as possible during this smoke, since the weather was in and of itself a big enough variable.
My contribution was the mop. Originally, we were going to go only with apple cider vinegar, but I decided to throw some other stuff in there as well. If we had a spray bottle, there’s a very good chance we would have only gone with the vinegar by itself, but since we had a little mop, and we had other things to throw in there, we decided to go with more of a flavor mop. I’m not sure I loved the result; I don’t think the Jack interacted very well with the vinegar, and the smell was somewhat unpleasant. If I made this mop again, I would go with another vinegar if using Jack Daniels, or I wouldn’t use Jack at all.
Overall, the product turned out good. I did make another rookie mistak. I mopped the ribs before checking the temperature, only to find that the ribs were at 174 degrees. When I had checked the temperature an hour earlier, they were still at 130, so I thought we would be mopping at least another 2 hours, but the ribs really climbed in temp over that last hour. The mop was still a little wet on the ribs, but we slathered them in some homemade BBQ sauce left over from the pulled pork, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Still, next time, check the temperature and THEN mop.
But the ribs overall were quite good. Gene’s rub provided a tasty bark for the ribs. They weren’t too dry, even before we slathered them in BBQ sauce. Since we went with another person’s rub for this recipe, there wasn’t a whole lot to learn in terms of spice for this smoke, but we did at least get a good experience in learning how long the ribs will take for future smokes. The books I read about spare ribs called for anything between 4-6 hours, and we wound up right at 4 with these, even with the snow throwing off our temperature, so we know to anticipate on the low end for the next time. I might also cook them on a higher rack next time, as we had them closer to the middle this time, to help delay the cooking process a little.
While we were making the ribs, since we had a rack free, I threw a few hot dogs on there around noon to make for lunch. This was an idea from the Smoke and Spice book, which features all sorts of good ideas for smoking just about anything. They turned out good, a little different than what you’re used to seeing out of hot dogs, but they gave us a good lunch. Joe also made chili today, which made for some good hickory-smoked chili dogs. Overall, I’d call it a fun way to get through a snow day with no work and nowhere to go!
Up next: I have nothing definitive on the on-deck circle, thinking maybe of doing some chicken thighs in the next week or two, or perhaps giving brisket or pork butt another go-around.