We recently traveled to the Murphysboro Barbecue Cookoff on the night of the TLC Barbecue Pitmasters season finale in which Melissa Cookston’s Yazoo’s Delta Q competition team was competing for $100,000. So I was able to catch the end, in which I got to see her now infamous “$100,000 hog” which I was simply amazed at the mahogany color that the hog had, it was truly a work of art. So when we arrived in Murphysboro, Gretchen and I stopped by to meet Melissa Cookston and her husband Pete in person and see if we could sell Yazoo’s Delta Q sauces and rubs on BBQ Pro Shop.
She and Pete were so fun to talk with and she sent us home with a bottle of her Ultimate Rub, Chipolte Bold BBQ Sauce and Original Mild BBQ Sauce and went on to become the 2010 Grand Champion at the Murphysboro Barbecue Cookoff. So last week I bought myself four racks of St. Louis Spare ribs and decided that I would put the Championship Rub and Sauce to the test and see how my ribs turned out.
We rubbed up the ribs with the Ultimate Rub only a few hours before putting them into the smoker, which is probably something I would do differently next time. I often rub my ribs and let them sit overnight and this rub had a great balance of sweet and salt which made me feel comfortable that the Ultimate Rub wouldn’t cure the pork with salt, which has happened to me in the past. The color before they went on the grill, looked like most other rubs, with a nice paprika orange red.
I slow cooked them for about three hours at around 175F with some fresh Apple Wood that I picked up at an orchard this fall and some Baxter’s Original Cherry chips because I like fruity smoke on my pork ribs. I then rotated them in the rack a little and the caramel of the rub started to turn a beautiful shade of light brown. I cranked the heat up to around 225F and let them cook another two hours, then wrapped them in foil for the last hour as we waited for our company to show up.
When the company arrived, I laid all of the racks out on smoker and using a Grill Friends Silicone Mop I coated three racks with the Original Mild Sauce and one of the racks with the Chipolte Bold Sauce and let them sit on the grill for ten minutes. Then I opened it up, touched them up again with some sauce and the end result was stunning. I really felt like I should cut them up and put them in a blind box! Instead I served them up to the family and they loved them.
The rub leaves a great flavor, you know it is there, as it has little bite to it but it leaves a lot of room for you to add some cayenne pepper and spice it up if you wish to. The sugar is more of a natural raw sugar maybe Turbinado? This makes the Ultimate Rub sweet, but helps the pork turn a pretty unique color. Really let the pork shine through on it’s own. Now the sauces were more of a vinegar taste although they were tomato based. The original brought that molasses taste that you would expect from Mississippi, but a fine sweetness that balanced the rub with the sauce for a perfect flavor profile. The Chipolte Bold was an original flavor with enough a kick to warrant the spice, but was timid enough that my kids loved it too.