I have been working on my BBQ technique. Real barbecue is not just slapping something on a grill, but cooking it low and slow with indirect heat and plenty of smoke. There are so many variable, it can take a lifetime to really perfect even something as simple as ribs - much less brisket, pulled pork, and other more lengthy recipes. I've been working on it for a while now, having acquired a smoker, and tried various methods.
Yesterday I had my closest effort yet - using the methods I've gleaned from watching "BBQ Pitmasters" and especially those of the Godfather of Ribs, Mr. Johnny Trigg. I got a rack of ribs from Costco. Unlike the past, when I put a dry rub on them the night before, this time I did it about half an hour before putting the ribs in the smoker. I used a commercial pork rib mix, but punched it up with extra garlic, dried onion and brown sugar. In the future, I'll get a leaner cut of rib, and without the rib tips at the top. These I put in the smoker with apple wood for wood chips, which I didn't soak in water overnight. I did the ribs at 275F, rather than the 220F I'd been shooting for in the past. After two hours, I took them out and wrapped them in heavy duty tin foil, along with some squeeze-margarine and brown sugar to create a nice caramelized glaze. Margarine is better than butter because it has a higher smoke point, and won't burn.
For some reason, the glaze came out caramelized on the bottom of the ribs, but not the top. Other than that why were quite fine - very tender, with a good thick bark on them. I brushed 'em with a little sauce and served them. Like I said, a leaner rib would have been better, and I'll try that next time. But all in all, a decent effort. It didn't have a visible smoke ring, but I think less fat would make that possible.
While I had the smoke ring going, I made some Atomic Buffalo Turds - which are jalapenos sliced up and hollowed out, stuffed with cream-cheese and sausage, wrapped in bacon and throw in the smoker for a couple of hours. They came out quite nicely, and were popular enough that they were gone before I got more than one. I think this is a good little idea, and I can use it again in the future, though preparing the jalapenos was fussy and time-consuming.
There's another end-of-summer party this weekend, and I'm pledged to bring something. I'm not sure what to do, I won't have the time to do a slow-cooking project like ribs or brisket.
I miss Mab. She was such a pain in the ass when she was with Blink, and she made him crazier and harder to take too. But she was a lovely creature who craved affection and a well-thrown monkey to fetch. I hope she is happy. There was no indication that she was even slightly reluctant to go - when P's friend showed up to pick her up, she trotted right out the gate with her and didn't look back.