Monday, May 10, 2010
All's Well that Ends Well on Mother's Day
So even though it was going to be a busy weekend and it was Mother's day, my better half had to work and I knew she'd rather stay in to eat than go out. We had a rack of ribs in the fridge with her name on it. As you will read on, today's story is full of unexpected twists and turns and probably should not have turned out an edible food product, but it actually turned out some nice ribs. My wife and my mom are usually the biggest critics of my backyard shenanigans including barbecue, but neither of them had any complaints.
One running theme in my short lived blog is that I'm experimenting with different charcoals and that I havn' found anything I liked. I've been thinking lately about lump and after the reviews I saw of Cowboy at HD and the cost, I picked up some Argentinean lump, 20 pounds for ten bux. More on that later.
A close up of the lump
For those of you familiar with the Char-Griller brand, I had to do some last minute MacGyvering on my charcoal tray, because the end rail- the one with the indentation for the hook to attach- broke loose. I drilled a hole and attached it to the next one using some bare wire I had around. Stuff like this makes me want to learn to weld.
Last year's homebrew- not fit for human consumption but fit for vapor-basting my ribs.
These ribs were rubbed with what I call my turmeric rub. Go to about.com, find their recipe for 'best odds rib rub' I think it's called, and substitute turmeric for mustard. The first rub I ever made- I found it, wanted to make it, and made do with what I had around the house. Gives nice flavor and a nice bark. Some rainy weekend I'll elaborate on it.
Here's where my problems started.. After taking forever (40 mins) to get ready in the chimney, moved it to the Side Fire Box. The temperature reading on the grill level (not stock) thermometer would not go above 150- After a while I added a 2nd chimney of the lump with the same result. Pissed me off. I eventually dumped my coal box inside the main smoker chamber to one side and separated it from the meat with my home made heat shield. I supplemented that with the rest of the Kingsford Competition Ive been bitching about which got my heat where it needed to be and higher.
This was all taking so long I was starving. I took advantage of having a hot side of the grill and threw on some frozen puck burgers for my parents who were over and I. These things were so frozen I had to grill them for a minute or two to separate them. Even then if took some elbow grease and the WMD I use as a spatula.
On top of everything else my thermometer was dodgy. The plug the probe goes into recently pushed itself into the housing of the device, so I took it apart, found the plug part, and superglued it in place. A couple of other bits and pieces fell out but who's counting? Now the thing turns on and off at will and the temp it reads varies by a range of about 30 degrees. What you see below is after about 2 hours of cooking- 191- highly unlikely.
All in all a thin area at the end was crispy but the rest turned out to be a good rack of ribs for Mother's day.
Turned out good. The end.
-The lump charcoal was a good deal price wise, and made some nice burgers, but does not produce enough indirect heat at least for my smoker. Does anyone else have experience? Please comment away-
-The Kford Comp I was complaining about saved the day.
-Even when things zig when you think they will zag, you can still get a decent meal out of it.
Wondering now what my next fuel source experiment should be. I'm going in on a cord of firewood with some guys, all hardwood supposedly. I'll have to get my boy scout field guide and try to identify some hickory or mesquite in it, maybe cherry would be more likely here in NJ. Maybe I should forget about charcoal and go caveman style with the logs.