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Old 09-02-2013, 11:16 AM   #1
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Pork Rib Methods

Folks seem to like my BBQ ribs. Sometimes I wrap them, sometimes I don't. And I like the top to get a semi-caramelized look to it, although I do admit sometimes it gets a little tough on top and you need a sharp knife to slice through it without dragging it off the adjoining ribs for presentation. Very tasty though. Well today I noticed that the caramelized top is apparently a no-no on "the circuit".

I was watching BBQ Pitmasters this morning (they appear to be having a marathon showing) and three top rib cookers were competing for the big prize. And I saw two do something that never occurred to me and one of them also did something else.
Usually when I wrap up the ribs I add some sort of citric liquid, like apple juice, orange juice, pineapple juice... it adds a subtle flavor and helps tenderize the meat by gently steaming. What two of the competitors did was add a layer of brown sugar and honey to the foil and put the ribs on meat side down. I am going to try this. They add their sweetness during the wrapping stage, whereas I always try to make a sweet/hot sauce for finishing.
And the one guy, who ended up winning BTW, did something I have never seen before. I have seen guys mop their ribs, but he used squeeze butter and gave the ribs a few lines up and down. He added that this was to prevent them from getting that tough layer on top and he did this at the one hour mark while they were still on the smoker.

Anyway, I saw a couple new methods I thought I would try out.

Does anyone else do this; brown sugar/honey glaze while the ribs are wrapped? Or "mopping" with squeezable butter?
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Old 09-02-2013, 11:42 AM   #2
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I don't cook ribs enough to experiment with these different fine tuning techniques. I rub and smoke. Sauce on the side. For SO, I sauce her portion before taking it off the heat. I don't have a problem with the 'crust' on the ribs and would not add anything sweet (personal preference).
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:08 PM   #3
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I find the circuit rules are so strict that it doesn't allow for much originality. Let them have there type of ribs and cook yours the way you like them. I prefer the finished product that grilling can achieve over just smoking. I like to precook and finish on the grill, (with wood blocks or chips for smoke) with a sweet tangy glazed sauce that, in my opinion, rivals any rib I have ever eaten. And, I have had many people who have eaten them and agree.

I just keep the sauce moist by applying it every 10 minutes on very low smokey heat. They can sit there forever but the magic happens after about 45 minutes. The sauce becomes very, thick, sticky and gooey after about 10 thin layers. Then I let them sit off to the side for about anther 15 minutes to let the sauce "set". They are still soft enough so you can cut cleanly through them and get nice evenly cut rib-lets. I find they are best enjoyed with some vinegary style hot sauce like Texas Pete. They is a wonderful contrast of sweet, sour and heat,,,,,

I know this probably doesn't help your inquiry much, but you should give it a try once and tell me you don't like it...and it is also a good recipe for people who like to stand at the bbq and drink beer....
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:08 PM   #4
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I've never tried either of those methods. What I normally do is use a dry rub, wrap the ribs in foil, and then oven bake them at 225 until they are tender, but not falling apart. Then I finish them off in a smoker. Why precook in the oven? I just find it gives more control over the doneness. Also, I don't like my ribs overly smoked. I've had friends' ribs that tasted bitter and ashy from too much smoke.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:39 PM   #5
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That's how I like my sauce, Rock. Sticky good. Although I did cook those Memphis style ribs a year ago and liked them simply dry rubbed.
I guess it boils down to me liking different varieties of the same food. That's why I'm curious to give this a try.
I should mention these were spare ribs and not baby backs, which require a lot less time to cook. I think adding the "fat cap" with the squeeze butter was a pretty innovative idea.
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Old 09-02-2013, 12:55 PM   #6
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Pac, I too prefer the caramelized ribs. Ignore anyone who says otherwise!!
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Old 09-02-2013, 03:32 PM   #7
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I agree. I like my ribs like I like my chicken, but I think it would still be fun trying to duplicate the "experts". Then maybe I can come up with a hybrid method that I like even better.
I like playing with my food
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:02 AM   #8
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Those comp folks cook to what the judges score well. I have talked to both comp cooks and comp judges and most would not cook that way for thier own consumption. It is too bad, like was said before that comps don't allow or appreciate variety or flexability. I like my ribs dry rubbed with no sauce and want them tender but firm. My wife likes hers sauced, caramelized and fall of the bone done.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:15 AM   #9
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T. I like my ribs dry rubbed with no sauce and want them tender but firm. My wife likes hers sauced, caramelized and fall of the bone done.
This is it. I have a couple of smokers and tried many different techniques and recipes to achieve rib greatness, and every time my family said they prefer the precook/sweet sauced ribs. So, did I.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:53 AM   #10
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Those comp folks cook to what the judges score well. I have talked to both comp cooks and comp judges and most would not cook that way for thier own consumption. It is too bad, like was said before that comps don't allow or appreciate variety or flexability. I like my ribs dry rubbed with no sauce and want them tender but firm. My wife likes hers sauced, caramelized and fall of the bone done.
That is really interesting.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:01 AM   #11
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That is really interesting.
Yep saw the other day on line where even Johnny Trigg the Rib King does not eat his ribs the way he cooks for comps.
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:51 PM   #12
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You can't taste the TV ribs. You can taste yours. If you like yours, caramelized and flavorful, that should be your goal. What time are you serving? I'm sure a few of us could come by and give a test taste for you and confirm that the caramelizing is OK.
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:32 PM   #13
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Does anyone else do this; brown sugar/honey glaze while the ribs are wrapped? Or "mopping" with squeezable butter?
I've done the brown sugar/honey glaze for ribs I cooked in the oven. It's pretty good. The butter idea sounds interesting.

Personally, there is such a wide variety of good ribs that I've tried I couldn't tell you what the best way to prep them was. If they taste good and I can eat them off the bone then I'm probably going to like them.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:37 PM   #14
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I'm going to give them a go next time I cook ribs, which will probably be in the not so distant future, PAG.
BTW, is squeeze butter in the dairy aisle or over with the Velveeta?
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:40 PM   #15
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I'm going to give them a go next time I cook ribs, which will probably be in the not so distant future, PAG.
BTW, is squeeze butter in the dairy aisle or over with the Velveeta?
You could probably use softened/melted real butter.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:52 PM   #16
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You could probably use softened/melted real butter.
That isn't allowed in comps. It has to be out of a bottle. You would be disqualified.
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #17
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That isn't allowed in comps. It has to be out of a bottle. You would be disqualified.
Do I have to get special permission to use real butter at home?
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:57 PM   #18
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You could probably use softened/melted real butter.
Sure I could, but it just wouldn't be the same as Parkay'ing my pork
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:58 PM   #19
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Do I have to get special permission to use real butter at home?
I'll have to make a few calls. You don't want the BBQ Pit Boys raiding your house...
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:26 PM   #20
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I'll have to make a few calls. You don't want the BBQ Pit Boys raiding your house...
Yeah, the condo board frowns on that sort of thing.
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