I Admit It, I’m A Smoker

Well, not in the usual sense.

Dry Rub Smoked Spareribs

I like to smoke…

ribs, tri-tip, salmon, chicken, and my Thanksgiving Turkey.

It was just recently Memorial Day here in the U.S. Part of the celebration is backyard BBQs with family and friends.  This year we visited my husband’s brother.  Since it was also T’s birthday we drove the 2+ hours to visit him.  He too is a smoker!  Just like me, but the real kind, with overnight preparations, a homemade rub,  fruitwood chips, and an 8 hour bath in smoke.

Me, I have my simple Traegar pellet smoker, my store bought BBQ rub, and preparation means a thorough seasoning after taking off that membrane on the back of the ribs (if I can), before a 2 hour bath in mesquite or hickory smoke.

So, while we were with T and his family I took notes while we anticipated devouring the ribs that have been gaining renown in his little town.  T, is a foodie.  He even took classes from a champion smoker.  You would think that I would have thought remembering the guys name was important, but sorry, it escapes me.  What was important to me at the time was – How does a professional make ribs?

What I learned from T:

  1.     Never boil the ribs!
  2.     Prep them the night before -by removing the membrane on the back, poking very liberally all over with a fork, and salting generously to dry brine over night.
  3.     In the morning, rub with a dry rub before smoking them.
  4.     Fruitwood is best  for pork ribs.
  5.     The smoke does all its flavoring in the first few hours.
  6.     Sauce them in the last few minutes before removing from the smoker.

T says the plan within the process is to draw as much moisture as possible out of the meat.  They are not supposed to fall off the bone like crock pot ribs as some people suggest.  They should adhere somewhat, though not like jerky.   After their 8 hour smoke bath they should be firm and flavorful, with a nice pink tinge on the edge due to the effects of the smoke on the meat.


Is all this Really necessary?

Now with all that said, I asked my husband what he thought of the ribs?  With all that effort, was it worth the trouble?  Honest opinion, not one of those, “How do I look in this dress?” questions.  I can take it. Be honest please.

According to my hubby, he enjoyed T’s, but like me, he doesn’t like an all day to 24 hour process for one meal.  T’s ribs and my ribs both turn out delicious.

His…… firm, chewy and easily torn off the bone, some napkins needed.

Mine…. also tear off the bone easily, the meat is tender and juicy, multiple napkins needed.

Either way they taste smoky and are delicious, but I don’t like things that take all day if I can help it. I think that I’ll stick with my method. T shared that there are many ways to get good ribs, so my shorter 2 hour method works fine for me.

Usually I add BBQ sauce.  I used to add it while smoking, but found that it didn’t hold up well while I sliced the ribs.  Since I don’t like “raw”/cold sauce.  When the ribs come out of the smoker for their rest, I add BBQ sauce to a saucepan and simmer on med-low.  Then after the ribs are separated we sauce them on the plates.  No burned sauce, but still caramelized with plenty on the rib.

Easy 2 hour ribs

1. Remove membrane on the back of the ribs and salt liberally.

Unprepared ribs.
Unprepared ribs.
Salted Ribs
Salted Ribs
Dry rubbed
Dry rubbed

2. Season well with Dry Rub.  I used Grill Mates Barbecue rub. But the following one looks similar to T’s rub.  BARBECUE RUB

Add plenty of rub.
Add plenty of rub.

3.  Prep the smoker and add the ribs when ready.  I set mine for about 275 degrees F.


4. I check them after about 90 minutes with a digital thermometer and turn off the smoker or remove ribs when they reach 160 F.


After a 2 hour smoke bath and 20 minute rest.
After a 2 hour smoke bath and 20 minute rest.

5. Rest the ribs for about 20 minutes before separating the ribs.

Like I said, I like them juicy.
Like I said, I like them juicy.

6. Enjoy!  Notice that pink edge due to the work of the smoke molecules flavoring the meat.

Notice that pink edge. That is how you know they are smoked.
Notice that pink edge. That is how you know they are smoked.



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