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In Pursuit of the Ultimate Ribs!



Is the ultimate pork rib something that can be achieved? I enjoy experimenting with different ways to season and cook pork ribs. There are so many approaches to making idyllic pork ribs. You must decide on the type of rib, the seasonings, the type of grill or smoker to cook on, and whether to add sauce or not.

If you are looking for inspiration for your ribs, please check out Steven Raichlen’s book, “Best Ribs Ever”.

The Ultimate Ribs
The St. Louis-cut spareribs are my favorite due to the size and the marbling of fat. Through many tasty experiments, I have narrowed down my favorite ways to make ribs. Each method starts by seasoning spareribs with a sweet and spicy homemade rub and letting them marinade overnight.

I then fill a spray bottle with an apple cider vinegar mixture which is used to keep the ribs moist while cooking. My two most utilized cooking methods for spareribs are smoke roasting them on a kettle grill or hanging them in a barrel cooker. The cooking time varies based on the method. I know the spareribs are done when they are a mahogany color, the meat has pulled back from the bones, and the ribs pass the bend test. The finished product has a balance of smoke, spice rub, and juicy pork flavor. No sauce is required. The third method I enjoy for ribs is cooking them on the rotisserie.

To Wrap or Not to Wrap
Recently, I read Nancy Loseke’s blog, “To Wrap or Not to Wrap Barbecued Meats” I started thinking about how I make spareribs and decided it was time to experiment. When I cook brisket, I wrap them in butcher paper to protect the bark, so I wondered if wrapping the spareribs in foil would produce the ultimate sparerib.

I had not wrapped pork ribs in foil since I was making ribs in the oven while living in an apartment after college, so I decided it was time to give it a try. Based on my research, brown sugar, honey, squeeze butter, and barbecue sauce appear to be the most popular flavoring agents to add to ribs when wrapping in foil.

The game plan was to smoke the ribs at 250 degrees for about two hours to add smoke flavor and to get some color on the spareribs, and then wrap in the foil. The spareribs were seasoned and rested overnight in the refrigerator as usual.

Prepping the Ribs
A Ceramic Grill was set up for indirect grilling at 250 degrees with large wood chunks to generate smoke. The spareribs were smoked for two hours with the apple cider vinegar mixture applied during the second hour at which point the color of the ribs was looking good. The spareribs were then wrapped in foil with a mixture of brown sugar, honey, and Cole’s barbecue sauce. Cole’s is a thin, spicy vinegar-based sauce from Cole’s Restaurant at the Montage Resort in South Carolina, the new home of Barbecue University.

The sauce was selected to balance the sweetness of the brown sugar and honey. The thinner sauce helps provide liquid so the brown sugar and honey blend with the ribs while preventing the sugars from burning. Once the spareribs ribs were wrapped tightly in the foil, they were returned to the smoker. I could not bring myself to add the squeeze butter and go full-on Trigg’s style.

My goal was for the spareribs to be sweet with some heat from the rub and the sauce, while not becoming fall-off-the-bone tender. The ribs were tested with the bend test after one and half hours in the foil: they were close. After an additional thirty minutes, the ribs easily bent when lifted from the middle of the rack.

Did I have the ultimate sparerib? The spareribs were much darker than I expected, which was likely due to the brown sugar. The spareribs looked juicy, and I could see the fat had rendered out in the foil. I could feel the tenderness of the spareribs as I moved them to the cutting board, a little nervous they might be too tender.

The Results
Finally, it was time to dig in and taste the results. The spareribs had a sweet and smoky flavor. The brown sugar and honey created a crusty texture on the outside without being tough. These were the juiciest spareribs I have ever eaten. The ribs did not have the bite I prefer that is produced when smoke-roasting. If the ribs had cooked any longer, they probably would have been falling off the bone. The heat from the rub and the sauce was lost due to the amount of brown sugar and honey. I decided not to add additional sauce and return the spareribs to the grill since they were already so tender.

I was excited with the results. My wife does not normally eat ribs and she was all in on these, so that is the true measure of success. In the future, I would shorten the initial smoke time to one and half hours and reduce the amount of brown sugar to produce a more mahogany color. I would incorporate more rub and the spicy barbecue sauce in the foil to increase the heat factor and balance the sweetness. I hope this inspires you to experiment and find your own ultimate rib!

Have you ever persued the ultimate ribs? We’d love to hear your stories. Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!

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Homepage Feature,Ribs,The Grill Lab,Foil Wrap,ribs,Spareribs,St. Louis Spareribs

By: Daniel
Title: In Pursuit of the Ultimate Ribs!
Sourced From:
Published Date: 04/13/21

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Grilling Tips

Nashville Hot Cauliflower



Say wha?
Saw this idea a few weeks ago, don't remember where.  I started with a roasted cauliflower recipe I like to use; boil the whole head in heavily-salted water for no more than 5 minutes, drain for ten, coat surface with oil and black pepper, then roast at 450º for 25 minutes.  I didn't know if I should pre-coat with the oil, as I'd be dipping it after it was cooked, so I painted one-half of the head with oil and marked it with a toothpick.  After 15 minutes on the Egg I had this:

The left side does show a bit more darkening, but not really worth the trouble.
I had printed out a Nashville Hot Chicken recipe some months back, but haven't made it yet.  I looked it up, and the first two ingredients for the sauce were 1) half-lb of lard, and 2) two sticks of butter!    I thought that may be a bit overwhelming so I made something up:  melted 3 Tblspns of butter, added a clove of garlic, then whisked in a tsp of cayenne, 1/4 cup of Frank's Red-Hot, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp of a cornstarch/water slurry.  Once thickened, I poured it in a bowl big enough for the cauliflower head.  
After 15 minutes on the Egg, I put the cauliflower in the bowl and rolled it around; was just the right amount to totally coat it.  Returned it to the Egg for ten more minutes to "set" the sauce:

Kinda purty, like a 7 pound meatball.  I sliced it into "steaks", not florets, and let the pieces fall where they may.  Served with Kimchee:

The kimchee added nothing as far as color contrast, and nothing to do with Tennessee barbeque, but Ron's recent thread had me hungry for kimchee so…  The meal could've used a big pile of white rice, however.
Thanks for looking.  

EggHead Forum

By: Botch
Title: Nashville Hot Cauliflower
Sourced From:
Published Date: 06/06/21

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Grilling Tips

A brief caveman pic tutorial



For those on the reverse sear/caveman fence, this may or may not seal the deal; (all temps *F on the dome)
Low and Slow around 250*F to around 7-8 *F below your desired finish temp. (Expect this step to run around 45 minutes for 1 1/2" and reasonably up steaks-half inch excluded  )

Now time for the hot and fast:  Open the dome and shut the lower vent-let the fire produce a hot lava bed across the coals,

Time for some long tongs and nimble-flip at around 60-90 seconds and pull when your finish temp is there.

You will be justly rewarded.  Add to your arsenal.
Stay healthy and safe out there- (Same steak for the whole show!)

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By: lousubcap
Title: A brief caveman pic tutorial
Sourced From:
Published Date: 06/07/21

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Grilled Flatbread with Charred Shallots and Figs



Figs are something I have let fall to the wayside in recent years. There was a time when I eagerly awaited the short windows of time when I was able to walk into my local grocery and purchase tender and sweet figs, and over the years they've worked their way into dishes on this site and off. The shift to almost entirely home cooking during the pandemic reminded me of the virtues of figs and the additional fodder they provide for recipes that offer something different from my usual rotation. So I picked up a package back in the fall and used some pantry staples to put together these grilled flatbreads with charred shallots and figs, then I wrote it up and scheduled the post for seven months from that date to remind to eat more figs when their first season hits in early summer.

This recipe was really born out of finding something new to do with figs that I purchased on a whim, and a pizza making session the day before I made these flatbreads left me with a desire to keep rolling with grilling dough. I have made many variations of flatbread dough throughout the years, but they were all doughs specialized for a specific cuisine, so I was looking for a more all-purpose recipe here and decided to try one out I saw on Food52. The hallmark of this high hydration dough is the large amount of extra-virgin olive oil in it, which I hoped would make this a flavorful bread without the long fermentation time I normally use to achieve that goal.

The first rise for the dough to double in volume took just under and hour, and during that downtime, I put together a balsamic glaze to use as a finishing drizzle on the flatbreads. I had a very small bottle of balsamic vinegar in the cupboard, so I poured the entire contents into a saucepan and added a little brown sugar to it. I then let the mixture simmer over medium-low heat until it reduced by half and had a spoon-coating thickness. When done, I removed from the heat and set aside.

Once the initial rise was finished, I transferred the dough to a well floured cutting board (it was a very sticky dough), divided it into four, and then formed each of those pieces into a ball. I set the portioned dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, covered with a damp cloth, and let it start the second rise, which took about 30 minutes.

During this time, I got everything else together needed for the final flatbreads so I could assemble them very quickly while the bread was still hot and at its very best. After lighting the fire, I cut up my figs into somewhat thin slices and also halved and peeled six small shallots.

The grill was ready to go after twenty minutes of ignition time, and I began by grilled the shallots, which I did over direct heat, placing them cut side down and just letting them cook until well charred. At this point they were somewhat tender, but not fully, so to finish them off, I flipped them over and grilled them until second side was also charred, which took less time than the first since they were already more than partially cooked. Once done, I transferred the shallots to a cutting board, removed the root ends that were holding them together on the grill, and then cut them into thin slices.

The shallots cooked pretty quickly, which was a good thing because the fire was still blazing hot to grill the bread, and a hot fire makes for the best flatbreads. I've rolled out other flatbreads I've made before, but this dough was so soft and stretchy, I went with freeform hand stretching this time. I did as best I could to get the bread even throughout, but, like with pizza dough, it was hard not to have a little extra heft around the edges with the center being thinner.

Happy enough with my globular oval shape, I carefully put the dough over the fire and let it cook until it began to brown a bit. I then flipped it over and browned on the second side and by then the bread was mostly cooked through, so I just kept flipping and moving it as needed to get it across the finish line and add a little extra color too.

As soon as the bread was off the grill, I brushed it with olive oil and assembled the final dish. I started with a layer of arugula, which I ended up going heavier on with subsequent flatbreads for an increased peppery character. Next went on the slices of figs and strips of shallots followed by dollops of a soft goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. After slicing it up, I dug in and ate it while still pretty hot.

My first taste was of the bread, which had a nice crunch and chew, although it was not as flavorful as dough I let ferment for many more hours at room temperature or days in the fridge. That lighter touch though meant the toppings were more prominent, and for me it was the sweet and fruity figs that served as the centerpiece. Although there wasn't one in every bite, their presence was lasting and was elevated by the tangy and sugary glaze and given savory contrasts by the cheese, arugula, and shallots. I consumed a couple slices of this first flatbread before moving on and cooking the rest—wanting each one to be as fresh as possible when served. All-in-all, this was a good reminder that I need to get figs back into the rotation more, and having written this post mainly as a nudge to myself, you may see at least one more recipe featuring this dual seasoned fruit on the site before the year is out.
Published on Thu Jun 3, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

Yield 4 servings

Prep 15 Minutes
Inactive 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Cook 20 Minutes
Total 2 Hours 5 Minutes

For the Balsamic Glaze
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
For the Dough
3 cups bread flour (396 g)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (3.5 g)
1 teaspoon instant yeast (4 g)
1 1/4 cups warm water (292.5 g)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (43 g)
For the Flatbread
6 small shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8oz fresh figs, thinly sliced
2 handfuls arugula (about 2 oz)
5oz soft goat cheese
To make the balsamic glaze: Whisk together vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer until reduced by half and thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make the dough: Whisk together flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add water and oil and knead with dough hook on low speed until dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer stand, cover with plastic wrap, and let dough rise at room temperature until roughly doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes more.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals evenly across charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place shallots on grill, cut side down, and cook until well charred, about 5 minutes. Flip shallots over and continue to cook until well charred on second side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer shallots to a cutting board, remove root end, and cut into thin strips.
On a floured surface, stretch one piece of dough out into an oval roughly 1/8″ thick. Place dough on hot side of grill and cook until browned and lightly charred in spots. Flip bread and continue to cook until second side is browned and lightly charred in spots. Transfer bread to a cutting board and brush with olive oil. Place 1/4 of the arugula on top followed by slices of figs and shallots. Spoon on dollops of goat cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.
Dough recipe from Food52.

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barbecue,bbq,grilling,foodblogs,foodblog,nyc,new york city,meatwave,Grilling,Bread,Vegetarian

By: (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Grilled Flatbread with Charred Shallots and Figs
Sourced From:
Published Date: 06/03/21

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