BBQ - I Finally 'Get' It
Okay, you guys can go ahead and laugh now.
I've always liked BBQ but never really understood the whole 'good' BBQ thing. My definition of 'good' BBQ was that it tasted good irregardless of any nuance of flavor. Hickory smoked meant someone actually forked over $3 for wood chips that made no appreciable difference in flavor to me. Charcoal, lighter fluid and funky grill lines were all that differentiated BBQ from roast as far as I could tell - and if you overdid the lighter fluid roast definitely won the day.
That changed last week and I have Billrd to thank for it. Bill is part of my de.li.cious network (for those of you sitting there going 'what?' that's a social bookmarking network. delicious.com) and he recently bookmarked an article about how to turn a Weber grill into a smoker.
I honestly couldn't have cared less about smoking meats since I don't notice anything that distinctive in the commercial stuff. However, I had a number of country style ribs in the freezer I wanted to use and I hadn't come up with a good way to parboil them without traipsing from kitchen through dining room through bedroom and then outside with a pot of boiling water or hot ribs (I'd blame the architect but I just haven't gotten things out of the hallway yet) which for obvious reasons I didn't want to do. Bill's article caught my eye and the recipe eliminated the need to parboil (I'm a little Southern girl and if it ain't gonna be fried to a crisp it is at least getting boiled long enough to kill any parasites or anything else) plus I was going to get a grill anyway, soooo...
My grill is a $25 Wally World deal - yes I'm cheap but more to the point I have to move soon and wasn't forking out a lot for anything right now. Worse - avert your eyes if you have a weak constitution - some of the ribs had freezer burn. I know, several of you are having apoplectic fits at the thought of not just tossing them - did I mention I'm cheap? Anyway, freezer burn is a lot like tough cuts so I was pretty sure the same trick that would tenderize tougher cuts would reduce the burn - and what the heck, couldn't hurt to try.
The night before - well, it was supposed to be - I set some of the ribs in a deep dish partially filled with water to thaw and coated the top with kosher salt. Later I rotated the meat and covered the other side with the salt then finally rotated again to let it rest and thaw in the brine. The next day got too busy (stupid job) and I didn't get the grill assembled until the day after. Yes, of course I forgot to remove the ribs from the brine...
Have I mentioned that I'm cheap? After getting the fire started - the oak tree in the yard providing the fuel - I rinsed the ribs and threw them on the grill. Yes, I know, normal people would have tossed them long since and would never have considered cooking ribs that had been sitting two days in brine - I did tell you I'm cheap, didn't I?
Let's just say I haven't built many fires in the last decade or so and I'm a little rusty. I got it done - I just kept forgetting how fast this stuff burns and had to coax the fire back out of the embers a couple times. I followed the directions from the article and spent a lot of time wandering around the yard for more fuel (yeah, yeah, I know - but I needed the exercise anyway) and two hours later I had beautiful looking BBQ'd country style ribs.
So, finally, the moment of truth. I fully expected them to be too salty - I'm cheap, not stupid - and they were but amazingly only slightly. But the flavor was out of this world anyway. The salt enhanced the smoke flavor throughout the meat instead of just at the surface - I finally knew what people had been talking about all these years.
Needless to say, I've been BBQing a lot this last week. 12 - 24 hours in the brine works best for frozen; as little as two hours works well for fresh. Yes, the salt did soften up the freezer burn - in fact, I wasn't 100% certain where it had been afterwards.
Yard waste, cheap grill, kosher salt and country style ribs = nirvana. I read somewhere that oak was too strong for pork - evidently that's for more refined palates because I loved it. The meat is actually flavorful instead of just tasting like pork with sauce dumped on it - or lighter fluid if someone got carried away.
Anywho, that's my story. For those who never quite got the point to social bookmarking this is it - other folks find stuff you might be interested in too and the service let's you see them - it's totally cool!
Thanks, Bill! Attachment 8094
If anyone wants to know, my name on de.li.cious is Archena (big shock, huh?)
Link: How to Turn Your Kettle Grill into a Smoker | Simply Recipes
Re: BBQ - I Finally 'Get' It
When you brine meat there is one thing to remember. It only takes on the amount of salt needed. I recently roasted a whole pig and brined it for 18 hours in a combination of salt, sugar and a few spices. I also put a frozen turkey in the same brine. I cooked the pig but didnt have time for the turkey. I left the turkey in the brine for another 30 hours before cooking it. It was perfect. Very juicy and flavorful. I kept ice in the brine for food safety reasons of course. I will be doing to 24-48 hour brine from now on. In a good brine you want a lot of salt and a lot of sugar, any other spices are for good measure. BTW oak is a wonderful wood for pork and poultry if slow cooking / BBQ. oak works great for anything really.
Re: BBQ - I Finally 'Get' It
I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you. Did you say cheap?
Anyway, welcome to the world of real BBQ. BTW, beef ribs that are smoked are out of this world.
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