It’s the beginning of summer. The hose has been uncoiled. The deck furniture has been dusted off and set out. The comforting hum of distant lawn mowers fills the air… You’ve probably been grilling and even bbq-ing all winter, but now begins the season of ‘low and slow’. What better way to herald in those glorious pitmaster meals than by smoking up a tasty rack of baby ribs?
The answer is by smoking up four racks of baby back ribs.
And for bonus points, why not approach each rack like the work of art it is and treat it to its own rub? That’s what we did for a recent gathering of hungry pit aficionados. We took four different approaches to our racks using a couple of stellar spice blends from The Spice House and some other tasty favourites:
Gary Wiviott’s Barbecue Rub – a tangy/herby blend with definite spicy zip. The paprika gives the meat a gorgeous reddish-orange colour. They look yummy even before the smoking begins…
Bronzeville Rib Rub – You’re gonna get a sweetly spicy hint of nutmeg here – sensitive noses may catch a unique smoky sweet scent as it cooks. Mmmmm…
Rub Some Butt BBQ Seasoning (from Old World Spices and Seasonings Inc.) – as a Carolina-style rub, this one’s mustard-based combined with tangy apple cider vinegar and a sweet dose of brown sugar. Definitely stood out as different among the other two where chili and paprika played more of a leading role,
Last but not least, we went salt-and-pepper only, then brushed on some Rufus Teague’s Honey Sweet Sauce, a great sticky-sweet sauce whose name says it all.
Three hours or so of smoking goodness on our Big Green Egg resulted in our first ever ‘Flight of Ribs’, our bbq spin on what you might find on a fine-dining menu. (Frankly, paired with Two Left Feet, an unctuous Molly Dooker Shiraz/Cab/Merlot, our meal was as exquisite as it gets. And it’s inspired us to develop a beverage pairing for our next Rib Flight. It’s going to be one, luxurious summer.)
As for the verdict on which rub was best, each approach was appreciated, but one of our guests singled out the saucy goodness of the “Rufus” ribs while another preferred the spicy bite of Wiviott’s blend. A lengthy discussion ensued on the ideal order for the various ribs to be eaten (spicy to sweet? tangy to saucy?) and how that might have affected the palate. Debates are great because to resolve them, you have to revisit the evidence, so to speak.
To sum up, ‘food flights’ are no longer for the fancy folk. Get creative with your ribs – but put out the white cloth napkins at your peril.