Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Surprise Party: Spare Ribs v2

So MBH's birthday was this past Wednesday and her sister and I planned a nice little surprise party for her the Saturday before.  All of our planning was very last minute (the invites went out Thursday for the Saturday party) but it all came together really well.  I knew I wanted to cook for the party so my first item on the agenda was to come up with a cover story so that I could start cooking early in the day without MBH getting suspicious.  I came up with a nice little story about a friend from out of town coming to dinner with us and my desire to show off my eggin' skills by doing some ribs and some appetizers.  MBH quickly bought into this and I think it helped that her favorite cook to date was the first batch of spares I did. 

Once the story  was covered it was time to decide what appetizers to make for the 20 or so people that said they could make it.  I had been dying to do Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABT's - I did not come up with this name, this is an egghead term) and wings but those will be saved for a separate posts as I would like to describe each process in detail.  In this post I will focus on the ribs.

I picked up the ribs and beer from Sams so that I could get 3 slabs without MBH complaining about the quantity (my planned argument was that the price was right at Sams so I had to get them there and I could not help that they come 3 slabs to a pack, in the end she could have cared less).  I took them home to prep for the party day.

I recently made a trip to an Ace Hardware near my office that sells Dizzy Pig rubs (DP).  I had heard about DP rubs from the egghead forums.  The forum members constantly rave about the DP rubs so I had to get some.  I picked up a bottle of DP Raging River and DP Raising the Steaks that I mentioned in a previous steak post. For this cook I used the Raging River rub for one slab of ribs, the Grill Mates applewood rub for the second slab, and a combination of the two rubs for the third slab.  After rubbing, I placed the ribs in saran wrap and into the fridge for the night.

I started the ribs around 11am on Saturday with grill set up for indirect at 225º.  I used a combination of Jack Daniel's wood chips and a hickory wood chunk for smoke.  I cooked the ribs on the Lambda rack over a drip pan for 3 hours as can bee seen below.  After the initial 3 hours, I pulled the ribs off and wrapped them in foil with some apple juice for an additional hour.  One final hour of unwrapped cooking to firm the ribs up completed the process and the ribs were again foiled and placed in a cooler to rest and stay warm.  The method detailed above was described in my previous rib post and is call the 3-1-1 method for the amount of time the ribs are in each phase of the cook.

A beautiful shot of the ribs just after placing them on the grill.
These were some of the meatiest ribs I have ever had.  I recently read about people trimming the excess meat and cooking it separately as it is hard to get the ribs to stand in the Lambda rack.  I decided not to trim them and instead shove them into the rack as best I could (as you can see above, there is meat everywhere!).  Since we had so many people, I sliced the ribs individually and put them out. Because of the amount of food I made and others brought, only 2 of the 3 slabs were eaten and I pulled the leftovers out for a party we had a week later.  The ribs were delicious and tender. I was very happy and I think the guests agreed.  I had a hard time differentiating which slabs had which rub after I had cut the ribs but both were very good. I think these ribs were better than the first batch and would get my ribs from Sams next time around.

Some of the leftover ribs cut up. They were still delicious after re-heating.
(A little bit of FFIL's famous Brunswick stew can be spotted in the upper right corner, so good.)