Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Baby Back Birthday

Saturday was my daughters 8th birthday, and as I was busy building a zipline for the kids, my wife was left doing all the prep work--and clean up--for this meal (so I have to give credit where credit is due).  She followed all the recipes to the letter (on this blog), and when I tasted the finished product, I knew the ingredients, their quantities, and their incorporations were just as they should be.

This is what was on the menu….

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back’s have a lot of meat and are much easier to work with than the less expensive ribs.  It’s worth the extra money, especially if you don’t have a full day to commit to smoking.  Baby Back ribs take four hours to smoke, and another twenty minutes if you want to add BBQ sauce.

While I recommend Baby Backs if you are cooking at home, there are other types of ribs, including Memphis and Spare Ribs.  These have larger bones and take longer to cook which generally make them better suited for dining out than dining in.
When you purchase ribs there may be membranes on the back side, which needs to be removed and before you leave the store, be sure you know if the membranes are still attached (sometimes, I find it hard to tell).  The ribs I buy from Stew the butcher come without the membrane (it is removed at the processing plant) and in the off chance I buy ribs where the membrane has not been removed, I get Stew to do it. 

If you're stuck with the unfortunate task of removing the membrane yourself, a certainty if you're shopping at Costco or BJ’s, get ready spend some time getting that membrane off. Here is how I'd recommend you do it.  Once the membrane is off, you're ready to prep your ribs for the smoker!

To prepare the smoker for use: I use oak and hickory wood in the smoker and, under the grate, I keep a pan filled with beer to keep the smokers moisture content high.

1. Add a generous amount dry rub to the ribs.

2. Smoke the ribs at 275 degrees for about four hours (Baby Back ribs only).  When the meat pulls back from the bone, and the bone sticks out ½ inch, the ribs should come out of the smoker.

3. Every hour, baste the ribs.  I make a 50/50 mixture of beer (I used Pabst) and white vinegar and add it to a spray bottle.  That’s an easy and efficient way to apply it.  This adds flavor, and again, keep the ribs moist.

4. I finished these ribs in the oven (my grill was occupied with food for the kids).  I mopped on the BBQ sauce, back side first, and baked at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Then I flipped the ribs, mopped sauce on the front and baked for another 10 minutes. 

5. I removed the ribs from the oven, and cut them into threes.

1 rack of baby back ribs will serve 2-3 people.  Serve left over BBQ sauce on the side.

But Neil?  What if I don't have a smoker?
Baby Backs are so easy to work with, you don’t have to smoke them.  Just adding a dry rub and grilling over medium heat for 40 minutes (20 min per side) will give you an awesome meal. 

Mac and Cheese (C'est Cheese)

Uncle Bill’s Garlic BreadWe didn’t make it this time, but we usually do, as it goes very well with ribs.

Check out the video.

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