Sunday, March 05, 2006

Barbecue Test Kitchen - Spare Ribs

Today, I'm conducting a taste-test for a variety of spice rubs that are used on pork ribs. From left to right: Smoking Guns BBQ Rub "Mild", The BBQ Guy's "Original" Rub, Willingham's World Championship "Original Mild", and Blues Hog "Dry Rub" Seasoning.

I've tried them all individually from time-to-time, but I've never conducted a comprehensive test and tested them side-by-side....until today.

I'll be using them just as I would use them in competition...liberally. And to make this test as "scientific" as possible, I'm cooking a fifth rack seasoned generically with plain old garlic powder, onion powder and a liberal coating of brown sugar. This rack will serve as my "control" for the experiment.

In the interest of fairness, I'm also going to use the same barbecue sauce on all the ribs so I can better gauge the pro's and con's of the actual rub. I'm cooking them in my Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) and using Royal Oak lump charcoal.

Here's a few pictures of the prepartion process.

St. Louis-style pork spare rib with cut, trimmed and ready for seasoning (front side).

St. Louis-style pork spare rib with back-flap and membrane removed (back side).

Seasoned with Blues Hog "Dry Rub" this rack of ribs is ready to be placed back in the referigerator to marinade for several hours prior to cooking.

Some folks I know allow their ribs to set out at room temperature for an hour or so before placing back in the referigerator. The theory is that the pores of the meat "open" a little more and allow the seasoning to penetrate deeper into the meat. Although this may occur, I still prefer to keep the meat refrigerated until just prior to cooking in the interest of food safety. I think it's best to maintain meat temperature at or below 40 degrees as the health department advises.

Here's what I ended up with 6 hours later. I separate each type of rib into it's own stack and labeled them so we could compare the pro's and con's of each type. Guess what we determined? They're all good!

I actually liked Blues Hog and The BBQ Guy spice rub the best, but the Willingham's was good too. The Smokin' Guns was a touch too salty for my personal tastes, but was pretty good.

Read about last week's cook--Beef Brisket

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