Sunday, August 8, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Really? BLT is already one year old?!?

How will we celebrate? With pork, of course!

Well, it all began on the grill with mesquite-smoked chicken wings (that was 65 posts ago). It would only be fitting then, to return to the smoker for the anniversary post. But no chicken wings this time, we're going with the boss hog- St. Louis-style baby back pork ribs- they're a little leaner than normal baby backs, due to a little more trimming, one more pass of the band saw for them tips.

You can find the recipe and methodology here, but it's pretty basic- low+slow=BBQ. No, cooking burgers for 10 minutes on a gas grill is not barbecuing, that's outdoor grilling. BBQ, the real deal, requires low temps and a long cooking time. The dry rub was modified a little, as I ran out of ancho, added a bit more garlic, etc.

Notice the smoke ring- that's the pinkish appearance in the meat formed when the carbon and nitrogen oxides react with the myoglobin in the meat, but you probably just want to know that it's a sign of tasty. If you really wanna get in it, this is a great explanation.

The set-up-

A smoker complete with water pan and temp controls would be be great, and one day I hope to find that under the Christmas tree. Until then, this is how it works- a poultry rack to hold the ribs, set over indirect heat at 230F for 6 hours. The pan gets rotated every half hour or so, to cook them evenly. The direct heat side is for the combustion of wood chips- mesquite, hickory, applewood mixture. I used a smoker box that was soaked for 2 hours in apple cider, and numerous smaller packets made from aluminum foil. These tended to burn up quick and were replaced on the half hour while the pan was being rotated. You don't want to open the lid too much, gotta let that smoke do some work. If you have vents, keep them open to avoid creosote build-up.

BLT has learned a lot in one year, from taking decent pictures with a point-and-shoot to how to super-juice a lemon. (zap in the 'wave for thirty seconds)

Maybe for the second birthday, we'll do the bacon explosion. Might be time to think about life insurance.

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