Sunday Oct 28, 2012

Our winners- and some BBQ for everyone

Please also see "Allen's Grilling Channel" over to the right in my Bookmarks section...

Congrats to our two winners for the first two comments on my last entry. Steve from Australia and John Lemon. Steve won since he was the first person over the International Date Line to see the post I made so late after a workday on Friday. So not only does he get to live in a country with the 2nd most beautiful women in the world, but now he gets some cool Oracle Swag, too. (Yes, I live on the beach in southern California, so you can guess where 1st place is for that other contest…Now if Steve happens to live in Manly, we may actually have a tie going…)

OK, ok, for everyone else, you can be winners, too. How you ask? I will make you the envy of every guy and gal in your neighborhood or campsite. What follows is the way to smoke the best ribs you or anyone you know have ever tasted. Follow my instructions and give it a try. People at your party/cookout/campsite will tell you that they’re the best ribs they’ve ever had, and I will let you take all the credit. Yes, I fully realize this post is going to be longer than any post I’ve done yet. But let’s get serious here. Smoking meat is much more important, agreed? J In all honesty, this is a repeat of another blog I did, so I’m just copying and pasting.

Step 1. Get some ribs. I actually really like Costco’s pack. They have both St. Louis and Baby Back. (They are the same ribs, but cut in half down the sides. St. Louis style is the ‘front’ of the ribs closest to the stomach, and ‘Baby back’ is the part of the ribs where is connects to the backbone). I like them both, so here you see I got one pack of each. About 4 racks to a pack. So these two packs for $25 each will feed about 16-20 of my guests. So around 3 bucks a person is a pretty good deal for the best ribs you’ll ever have.

Step 2. Prep the ribs the night before you’re going to smoke. You need to trim them to fit your smoker racks, and also take off the membrane and add your rub. Then cover and set in fridge overnight. Here’s how to take off the membrane, which will not break down with heat and smoke like the rest of the meat, so must be removed. Use a butter knife to work in a ways between the membrane and the white bone. Just enough to make room for your finger. Try really hard not to poke through the membrane, you want to keep it whole.

See how my gloved fingers can now start to lift up and pull off the membrane? This is what you are trying to do. It’s awesome when the whole thing can come off at once. This one is going great, maybe the best one I’ve ever done. Sometime, it falls apart and doesn't come off in one nice piece. I hate when that happens.

Now, add your rub and pat it down once into the meat with your other hand. My rub is not secret. I got it from my mentor, a BBQ competitive chef who is currently ranked #1 in California and #3 in the nation on the BBQ circuit. He does full-day classes in southern California if anyone is interested in taking his class. Go to to check him out. I tweaked his run recipe a tad and made my own. It’s one part Lawry’s, one part sugar, one part Montreal Steak Seasoning, one part garlic powder, one-half part red chili powder, one-half part paprika, and then 1/20th part cayenne. You can adjust that last ingredient, or leave it out. Real cheap stuff you can get at Costco. This lets you make enough rub to last about a year or two. Don’t make it all at once, make a shaker’s worth and use it up before you make more. Place it all in a bowl, mix well, and then add to a shaker like you see here. You can get a shaker with medium sized holes on it at any restaurant supply store or Smart & Final. The kind you see at pizza places for their red pepper flakes works best.

Now cover and place in fridge overnight.

Step 3. The next day. Ok, I’m ready to go. Get your stuff together. You will need your smoker, some good foil, a can of peach nectar, a bottle of Agave syrup, and a package of brown sugar. You will need this stuff later. I also use a clean spray bottle, and apple juice.

Step 4. Make your fire, or turn on your electric smoker. In this example I’m using my portable charcoal smoker. I got this for only $40. I then modified it to be useful. Once modified, these guys actually work very well. Trust me, your food DOES NOT KNOW how expensive your smoker is. Someone who tells you that you need to spend a bunch of money on a smoker is an idiot. I also have an electric smoker that stays in my backyard. It’s cleaner and larger so I can smoke more food. But this little $40 one works great for going camping. Here is what my fire-bowl looks like. I leave a space in the middle open, and place cold charcoal and wood chucks in a circle going outwards. This makes it so when I dump the hot coals down the middle, they will slowly burn outwards, hitting different wood chucks at different times, allowing me to go 4-5 hours without having to even touch my fire. For ribs, I use apple and pecan wood. Pecan works for anything. Apple or any fruit wood is excellent for pork.

So now I make my hot charcoal with a chimney only about half-full. I found a great use for that side-burner on my grill that I never use. It makes a fantastic chimney starter. You never use fluids of any kind, nor ever use that stupid charcoal that has lighter fluid built into it. Never, ever, ever.

Step 5. Smoke. Add your ribs in the racks and stack them up in your smoker. I have a digital thermometer on a probe that I use to keep track of the temp in the smoker. I just lay the probe on the top rack and shut the lid. This cheap guy is a little harder to maintain the right temperature of around 225 F, so I do have to keep my eye on it more than my electric one or a more expensive charcoal one with the cool gadgets that regulate your temp for you.

Every hour, spray apple juice all over your ribs using that spray bottle. After about 3 hours, you should have a very good crust (called the Bark) on your ribs. Once you have the Bark where you want it, carefully remove your ribs and place them in a tray. We are now ready for a very important part to make the flavor.

Get a large piece of foil and place one rib section on it. Splash some of the peach nectar on it, and then a drizzle of the Agave syrup. Then, use your gloved hand to pack on some brown sugar. Do this on BOTH sides, and then completely wrap it up TIGHT in the foil. Do this for each rib section, and then place all the wrapped sections back into the smoker for another 4 to 6 hours. This is where the meat will get tender and flavorful. The first three hours is only to make the smoke bark. You don’t need smoke anymore, since the ribs are wrapped, you only need to keep the heat around 225 for the next 4-6 hours. Obviously you don’t spray anymore. Just time and slow heat. Be patient. It’s actually really hard to overdo it. You can let them go longer, and all that will happen is they will get even MORE tender!!! If you take them out too soon, they will be tough.

How do you know? Take out one package (use long tongs) and open it up. If you grab a bone with your tongs and it just falls apart and breaks away from the rest of the meat, you are done!!! Enjoy!!!

Step 6. Eat. It pulls apart like this when it’s done.

By the way, smoking tri-tip is way easier. Just rub it with the same rub, and put in your smoker for about 2.5 hours at 250 F. That’s it. Low-maintenance. It comes out like this, with a fantastic smoke ring and amazing flavor.

Thanks, and I will put up another good tip, about the ZFSSA, around the end of November.


Monday May 14, 2012

a break for something more important---

So we should have some news later this week on a minor code release with some helpful features in it. Can't say more until it comes out, but watch my blog this week.

In the meantime....  I have always been the grill-master at our camps with friends and family. My boys and I camp about 25-30 times a year. As much as I enjoy grilling, I was woefully behind in my smoking/BBQ skills. The difference being that grilling is cooking fast over high heat (think burgers, steak, and most seafood), and real BBQ involves smoke and slow-cooking over hours. Smoking is better for ribs, chicken, brisket and tri-tip. So I went to a real BBQ day-long class, got a small beginner's smoker, and now I'm smoking meat a lot more. Here's a pic of my last tri-tip in the smoker. Homemade rub and sauce cost just pennies compared to store-bought, and the meat is cheap at Costco. This may have been the best tri-tip I've ever made. Great smoke ring and flavor in only 1.5 hours. I was trying to tie this into the ZFSSA, but I just can't, so I stopped caring and now just showing off my new BBQ skills. Ha ha. Enjoy.


This blog is a way for Steve to send out his tips, ideas, links, and general sarcasm. Almost all related to the Oracle 7000, code named ZFSSA, or Amber Road, or Open Storage, or Unified Storage. You are welcome to contact with any comments or questions


« July 2016