Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rib Practice

Last weekend I was able to go outside and get some cooking done. After a few hours of shoveling I found my trailer and got to my BBQ equipment. Originally, Because of the winter we've been having, I was just going to use the oven to test out a few new flavor profiles. But we got real lucky last weekend with no snow and temps in the 30's. Perfect! Upon opening my trailer I realized that I have not cooked anything over fire since the Jack. That's 3 months! Not good.

I decided to use the WSM instead of my smoker. I gave the Bullet a good deep cleaning and got some Wicked Good charcoal going. Every time I use the WSM I'm always impressed with how good it works. Light the charcoal, get it to your desired temp, then close the dampers. It's a great little smoker and I plan on using it at some comps this year.

Our ribs were all over the place last year. We came out strong in the first half of the year; a few highlights was first place at New Hampshire and 3rd overall for NEBS Team of The Year in ribs. But towards the middle and the end of the season our ribs started to lose ground. I didn't ignore my notes or forget my timeline; I didn't change anything. Sometimes these things just happen. The judges might be looking for something new and different. What used to be original, now is the norm. Also, there are a lot of new teams out there armed with great cooking skills and no preconceived notions of 'what judges want.' So we all need to step it up. And that means practice.

Changing recipes can be a difficult thing. What do you change? Rub, sauce, technique? Foil, no foil? Everything? Last year our rib recipe contained 12 ingredients. Probably a few too many. So the first thing I did was review my notes and see where I can eliminate a couple ingredients instead of adding ones. I continued the theme of less is more and simplified a few other things too.

One thing I really wanted to change was the rub. I use a wildly popular rub on our ribs...that means so do a lot of other teams. So Kris and I took a ride to New England BBQ and Catering and stocked up on some staples and picked up some new stuff to try. I mainly focused on rubs and picked out 3 new ones to try. I loved the taste of the rub on these ribs pictured below. (Any guesses?)

I cooked the ribs with my usual technique with the exception of the WSM. It was a good cook and the ribs were done right on schedule. How'd they taste? Good, not great. To me they seemed a little lacking in flavor. They were tender but could have used...something. I'm hoping that over the next few months I'll find out what that something is. Because ready or not, these ribs are going into a 9 X 9 real soon.


Ted Lorson said...

First place...

Anonymous said...

Mike, need more snow? I can help you out there but not with the Ribs. They look Great. Bill

Lakeside Smoker said...

You could be right Ted! Anytime I don't like something it does well. I might just leave these alone.

No thanks Bill, I have plenty of snow. :)


nitrofly said...

those ribs look great and I'm sure they taste
great too.. 999


Kevin Sandridge said...

Ted, my first time on this blog. I really love the story-telling style you use, and the photos are so great! I live in a condo down here in Florida, and we just don't have the ability to cook this type of BBQ. Hence - my KCBS Judging cert so I can go out and get good cue from the pros! Thanks for sharing. I've put this blog into my Google Reader, and would like to share posts from it via my BBQ Smoker Site Facebook Page if that's ok! Giving you full credit, of course!

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