A Run at
Last week I had A Bash at Brisket and was pretty happy with the results, but it just wasn’t comp-ready. So I decided to take a run at my old nemesis: beef ribs.
We were having friends around again and so I decided I was going to go all out: it was time for beef ribs, Texas style baked beans with a Queensland twist, home-made Buttermilk biscuits, and courtesy of said friends, a delicious baby spinach salad with Feta, raspberries, and a salad dressing for which I’m still trying to beg, borrow or steal the recipe!
I started out by putting together another batch of the spice rub that I’ll be taking to the competition. I’ve really nailed the balance now between my secret ingredient and the other staples of a good spice rub. And perhaps another secret ingredient or two! 😉 Just teasing – here is my spice rub recipe…
When you’re preparing your ribs, start by putting them in a dish or tray and drizzle with a neutral oil. I like to use sunflower oil. Make sure the sunflower oil is rubbed evenly over the ribs. Then, apply your rub liberally. Don’t be shy with it. Make sure you get the sides too. I also like to score the back of the rib three times, across the membrane on the back. I find it quite difficult to get a good grip on the membrane on these smaller pieces of rib and so scoring it helps prevent the meat from curling as the membrane contracts when heated. You can put rub on the back of the rib, but if there’s no meat back there then there isn’t really any point.
Once your smoker is at temperature, you are ready to put on the ribs. Generally, for low’n’slow, you’re looking at maintaining a temperature of 225 degrees Fahrenheit (107 degree Celsius). However I have found this to be too low for beef ribs: I’ve let them run for as long as ten hours and found that the fat doesn’t render and they are quite unpleasant to eat. So today I decided to go for hot’n’fast instead of low’n’slow: I kept my smoker between 275 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit for seven hours, spraying them every hour with a fifty-fifty mix of apple juice and apple cider vinegar.
To begin, put some neutral oil in a frying pan and cook up some diced bacon, red onion and minced garlic. Once the bacon has started cooking and the onion is softening, toss in a diced red capsicum, green capsicum and some jalapeno peppers.
While your ingredients are cooking, in a large bowl, combine a cup of Budweiser beer, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and a quarter cup of molasses. Once it’s nicely mixed, stir in the beans your strained pineapple pieces: this is your Queensland twist! Finally, stir in the bacon mix from the fry pan. Season with salt and pepper and pour the lot into a buttered baking tray. Put the tray in your smoker for about three to four hours, stirring every hour to make sure that the smokey goodness gets deep, deep into your beans.
Biscuits are actually very similar to scones and the process for making them is almost identical. Combine self-raising flour, a good pinch of salt and 75 grams of unsalted butter and manually crumble them together. When ready, make a dam in the middle and pour in a cup of Buttermilk. Then get prepared to get dirty…
Get your hands in there and mix it into a dough. It will be very sticky: don’t worry about it, everything will be fine.
Powder a baking tray with plain flour and tear off pieces of your dough about a half-palm size piece at a time. Roll it into roughly ball shaped buns and put them on your baking tray. Set up your BBQ for indirect cooking, run the temperature nice and high, around 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 degrees Celsius) and bake them for only 10 – 12 minutes.
Make sure you plan everything so that it comes out at the same time. That way you’ll get everything while it’s still hot and fresh. If your beef ribs hit 203 degree Fahrenheit before then, don’t be afraid to take them out, wrap them up in foil and a towel and store them in an esky until serving time.
Here’s a great tip – use those delicious, fluffy, fresh biscuits to mop up the sweet, spicy beans. You can close your eyes and feel a Queensland summer just around the corner.
The finished product is what you see above: beautiful bark on the outside, a bright pink smoke ring and juicy beef on the inside. And this my friends, is part of my comp lineup!