Smoked Ribs – Two Kinds

It was the Saturday before Father’s Day and I had three very cool dads coming over to dine with me. The choice was simple:  slow smoked ribs complete with a homemade rub.  So, I headed to the local butcher shop to select my racks!

Boy, was I happy to be in line at what used to be The Meat House (now The Butcher’s Market) when I was today.  There was a woman next to me purchasing ribs, St. Louis style.  The butcher told her “I’ll just go ahead and cut the membrane off for you…” to which she replied “Oh, do you have to?” I was able to jump in and tell the story of LAST time I tried to smoke ribs and how devastating it was attempting to rip that terribly stubborn piece of membrane off of the back.  It took me a good hour and I still wasn’t sure if I had gotten it all.  If the butcher offers, SAY YES.  If they don’t, ASK.  I was so happy when they offered that I nearly hugged the man.

By the way, if you’ve never been to the Butcher’s Market, please go for your next meat meal.  They offer so many types of meats, poultry, fish and wild game.  It’s so much fun to walk through the exotic meats section and plan my next Game of Thrones themed meal.

I decided I wanted to make two types of ribs, beef back and baby back pork ribs.  They didn’t have the beef back at The Butcher’s Market, so afar my stop there, I headed to my local Whole Foods to pick those up.  They were pre-cut, de-membraned and ready to rock! I knew the first to hit the grill would have to be the beef back, of course, because they take over 4 hours to smoke.  Considering both butcher shops had done the leg work for me, the prep was extremely easy.  I used a Bobby Flay rub that you can find here:

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For this particular batch, I didn’t change anything in the recipe. I did coat my ribs in dijon mustard before sprinkling the rub on.  You don’t have to do this, but i find that it helps the rub to stick and gives it just a little extra juiciness.   Next time, I’d probably add a little more brown sugar, or add some honey to my dijon mustard rub.

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I have struggled a few times with getting the smoker pellets to light using the propane torch as recommended.  What I ended up doing was just putting the tube on top of the lit coals.  With this technique, I had about 2 1/2 hours of smoke, much better than last time.

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The second rack were pork baby back ribs.  I used the same rub, the same dijon treatment for these.  Really I just wanted to do a little compare and contrast to see what the difference was between the taste of the types of rib.

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Both cooked up beautifully!  The beef back went on at 1:50pm and were taken off at about 6:45pm (cooked to a perfect 183 °F).  Knowing my crowd, I planned to have the pork back ready to come off the grill first, at 6:00 so I put them on the top rack at 3:30pm and they were at a great temp right on time!

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I started mopping on the sauce at half way through for both racks of ribs.  I decided to purchase a sauce, because I knew that keeping the temp correct would mean careful attention to the thermometer.  I didn’t want to take the chance that I’d mess anything up.  I purchased Num Num Sauce (seemed fitting) from Whole Foods.

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It was a hit.  We went with the hot, which was not too spicy.  It had a good balance of vinegar and paired nicely with my rub.

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The pork ribs were very juicy and even though they were on the top rack, they had a good amount of smoke.  They had a good amount of flavor.

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The beef, on the other hand, had a great amount of crusty outside.  There is a lot of fat on beef ribs so there were bursts of flavor throughout.  This, to me, was absolutely fantastic.  Every bite exploded in my mouth.

Even though smoking ribs is time consuming, it is so worth the effort.  Especially if you are celebrating three amazing men on the night before Father’s Day.  I was honored to be able to create this meal for all of them.

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