The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke
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Mini Grill Camp '08 - Pt. 4 - Thu.

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This was one of those days the turned out nothing like I’d planned when it started. I ended up doing ribs but not the ones planned and on the grill not the smoker. One of the things I like to do during Grill Camp is to revisit recipes I have had trouble with. I can revisit the recipe in a leisurely fashion and if it doesn’t turn out well I didn’t ruin a meal for a family occasion. Events caused a change from a new rib recipe to revisiting RENDEZVOUS RIBS.

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The first time I did these 100 percent direct I couldn’t stay ahead of the flare ups caused by the dripping fat. The application of the rub at the end covered up some of the sins

To begin at the beginning I got up around 8:00 and fired up the smoker. I was making pulled pork for Sunday’s meal. As I detailed in my FoodSaver blog entry, the pulled pork actually taste better after it has been stored in the vacuum bags. I figure Thursday was as good a day as any since I would be using the smoker to make ribs later. My local Whole Foods was out of St. Louis ribs and wouldn’t be getting any in until after noon today. I decided to call around and see if I couldn’t get some sooner. I located some at a store 15 minutes away from my normal Whole Foods. I started making a shopping list for the ribs and also the 3 Ginger Rotisserie chicken I planned for Saturday. It was then I discovered a major problem. I had skimmed over the part in the recipe where it had you apply the marinade to the ribs and refrigerate them for a minimum of 6-8 hours and a maximum of 24. Even if I had the ribs now there wouldn’t be enough time to get them ready and get them in the fridge for 6-8 hours.

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The rubs was primarily hot or spicy with no sweet. Oregano was the unusual ingredient here. The rub is used in the mop sauce and the rest isn’t used until the ribs are done.

I began to look in Steven Raichlen’s Ribs, Ribs, Ribs cookbook for a Plan B recipe. I quickly found Rendezvous Ribs. I made these during my first Grill Camp using a recipe from How to Grill and they were the least successful meal I made that week. These are unique ribs in that they are grilled not smoked. They receive a rub but not until they are done. They are based on ribs made for years at the Rendezvous Restaurant in Memphis. They are called grilled ribs not BBQ ribs. This solved two problems. They are grilled at 350 degrees and are a quick cook. Secondly they are very different from BBQ ribs so I could serve these Thursday and do the other ribs Friday night and not have it be too much of a good thing. Another bonus was that besides the ribs, I had all the ingredients in house.

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Simple mop of vinegar and some rub. It is applied at 30 minute intervals during the cook and when the ribs are ready to eat.

So it was off to Whole Foods to get not 4 but 6 racks of ribs now. 2 for the Rendezvous Ribs for today and 4 for the Buccaneer Ribs for Friday. I was lucky in that my smoker was running very steady. It ended up I had to leave 3 separate times for an hour to an hour and one half. I was having trouble finding the ginger preserve for Saturday’s 3 ginger chicken. Every time I came back to find the temperature of the smoker was no more than 5 degrees plus or minus away from my target temperature of 225 (110 C). Another factor in my favor was pork but is somewhat more forgiving of temperature variations than say brisket or ribs.

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The ribs are cooked for 90 minutes under indirect medium heat and then seared for 3 minutes using direct medium heat..

The ribs are really simple to cook and prepare. There was an 8 spice rub which uses primarily salty or spicy ingredients. It was the usual suspects except for two things: There was nothing you would consider sweet in there and one of the spices was oregano. The other unusual thing was the rub is not applied until you pull the ribs off the grill. The mop sauce was simple: Some vinegar and a bit of the rub.

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These ribs both looked and tasted far better than my first attempt from 3 years ago (shown above)

The ribs are cooked indirectly at 350 (175 C) degrees for about 90 minutes. You mop every 30 minutes . When the ribs are done you sear them for 2 or 3 minutes per side on using medium direct heat. On my grill to do a medium indirect I set burners 1,2,5 & 6 at medium and leave of burners 3 & 4- the middle two burners.. When it was time for the sear I put one rack over burners 1 & 2 and one over burners 5 & 6.. The first time I did this recipe 3 years ago I used a recipe from How to Grill and also as done on the BBQU TV show. It went direct all the way. When I tried it I did OK up until the last 15 minutes. That was when the flare ups started. I began moving the 4 racks or ribs around to avoid the flare ups and quickly found I could react fast enough. The ribs came out a bit charred. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t particularly great either. I had already done several rib recipes that ended with a quick direct heat sear. Typically they were coming off the smoker and being finished on the gas grill. I wasn’t worried at all about direct grilling for that short 3 minutes.

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In some fortunate timing the pork butt finished up just after I finished eating the ribs.

When the rib meat had pulled back from the bone between 1/4” to 1/2” (0.66 to 1.25 cm) it was time for the sear. After the sear the ribs are moped and then a liberal application of the spice rub is given to both sides of the ribs. This time around I really liked the way these ribs came out. They had an interesting crispy skin and the meat itself had a different flavor than normal BBQ ribs. Having fresh rub on the ribs at the end was also a nice twist. If you are every looking for ribs that aren’t the same old same old, these are it.

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Before pulling the pork, I prepared the marinade for the Buccaneer Ribs. That will be covered in Pt. 5 of this entry.

After this my day continued. I’d no sooner finished eating when my remote thermos alarm sounded, informing me the pulled pork had reached 195 and was done. I wrapped it in foil and then a towel and placed it on a bed of newspaper in a cooler. I would pull it around 11:00 after a few hours in the cooler. In the mean time it was time to make the marinade for the BUCCANEER RIBS. I will save that for the next entry in this series and will close here.
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SOME RELATED LINKS:
  RENDEZVOUS RIBS-v1 Pork Picture Entry
  RENDEZVOUS RIBS-v2 Pork Picture Entry
  MINI GRILL CAMP ’08 - PT. 1-TUE Blog Entry
  MINI GRILL CAMP ’08 - PT. 2-WED Blog Entry
  MINI GRILL CAMP ’08 - PT. 3-WED Blog Entry


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  INDEX OF BLOGS: ALL YEARS

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