Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pork rib experiment with the new smoker

For my birthday from my awesome family (and arranged by my wife), I received a Masterbuilt Propane Smokehouse and a 20 lb tank.  I love it, as I have always wanted one.

Link to the item:

After a dismal first go at trying to smoke my regular jerky recipe (heat too high, not enough ventilation and scorched most of it), I did a lot of research and decided to go with ribs this time.  I normally braise them in the oven, but figured that this would be my best choice for a real go at using the smoker.

Hit up Costco for a pack of ribs.  I picked some that had enough fat, without being overbearing.

The dry rub I made up was a mix of cumin, kosher salt, dark brown sugar, garlic powder, ground black pepper, chili powder and a bit of cayenne.  Pulled out the mortar and pestle to give it all a good grind, but it was a bit small, so I had to finish up in one of the Kitchen-aid bowls.

Pure Canadian pork.

I took a bit of time to strip the membrane off the back of the ribs.  It was a bit of a pain as the membrane kept tearing, but I was able to remove it all before adding in the rub.

From here I switched from the iPod Touch camera to the Sony as I wanted better resolution and colour for the photos.  The rub I used really took on a nice colour after about an hour allowing it to penetrate a bit into the meat.  Did both sides, but heavier on the meatier side of the ribs.

 For the smoking, I decided to go with the hickory chips.  I did have other kinds (sugar maple, mesquite, black cherry and whiskey), but wanted to keep it to something I was used to using when barbequing.  Soaked the chips for about 40 minutes before adding to the pan.

Loaded up the top 2 racks with the ribs.  I was able to fit 3 per rack, but spaced it out with the shorter ribs on top and the meatier ribs below.

 All closed up and the propane was started.  In the second shot, you can see the smoke coming out from the emblem on the front of the unit and around the door.

 Heated up to the perfect temperature now.

After an hour, I opened up the smoker briefly to spritz down the ribs with a spray bottle.  The spray bottle contained a mixture of 3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice and 1/4 cider vinegar.  I also refilled the water pan with a mixture of apple juice, cider vinegar and RO water to keep the humidity up.  Added another couple of handfuls of chips to the pan too.

First peek at the ribs 1 hour in.  Nice reddish shade, but still very raw.

Sauce making time!  In a medium pot, I added in 2 cups of Heinz ketchup, 3/4 cup apple juice, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 cup mustard, 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 tablespoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and heated it slowly until I saw some bubbles, then lowered the temperature and simmered for 15 minutes while stirring frequently.

 Hour 2.  Sprayed the ribs down again and refilled the water tray.  Bark starting to form.  Added in more chips.
 Hour 3.  More water, more spritzing, more chips.  Crusty bark is getting darker.  I poked the ribs and saw it separate a bit showing tender pork under the bark.  Smelled phenomenal, but closed it back up.

 Hour 4.  Time to pull them out for saucing.  Checked the ribs and really easily pulled out a chunk of pork and bark.  TASTY!.  I smothered the ribs quickly on both sides and wrapped them up in tin foil.  Refilled the water tray and put the ribs back in for another 45 or 50 minutes.

Final product, which I slathered with a bit more sauce before serving.

 The knife went through the ribs so easily.  Not dry at all.  I am really happy with the results.  Added in some corn on the cob and my roasted potatoes on the side.  Had a couple guests over for dinner and we only went through 2 racks.  The remaining 2 I am breaking apart for sandwiches for me.

Next attempt will be either lamb or a brisket I think.

I also have some apple wood and cherry wood coming to me from a friends property.  He needed to remove some trees and I get some of the wood which I am going to season for later.

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