Posts Tagged ‘Ribs’
What makes a good rib? It starts with slow-and-low cooking over hardwood for just the right amount of time. That’s what gives the meat a hint, but not a wallop, of sultry smoke—the thin, pink smoke ring just below the crust of spices is your proof. The next test: A gentle tug should be all it takes to pull the meat from the bone. And finally, it should taste so good you can’t stop thinking about it. For daydream-worthy ribs, try these guys.
Uncle John’s We used to be in love with the hot links, then the tips, next the slab bacon and, recently, the fried chicken. Currently, the ribs have us swooning: firm but well-marbled meat and plenty of it, a solid smoke ring throughout the slab, and minimal seasoning with a tiny kick. 337 E 69th St (773-892-1233; half slab $9, full $14).
Smokin’ M’s You wouldn’t expect much from a strip-mall storefront, but this overlooked joint nails Southern staples (including down-home friendliness). The caramelized spice rub on the slabs of meaty St. Louis cuts (spareribs sans tips) gives them a slightly chewy crust. Underneath lurks a quarter-thin layer of smoke over a full inch of robust pork, and it takes just the right amount of effort to separate the meat from the bone. 7501 Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park (708-488-0123; half slab $11, full $18).
Big Ed’s You might expect a pit master like Big Ed to put up ribs that slam you with fat and smoke. After all, many of Ed’s customers are Chicago Bears, who practice nearby, and football players aren’t known for being nuanced. But while these ribs don’t skimp on the meat, overly fatty they’re not. And the smokiness comes second to the porkiness. Think of these ribs as tackling you with flavor—just, you know, gently. 2501 Martin Luther King Jr Dr, North Chicago (847-578-1901, bigedsllc.com; half slab $12, full $20).
Smoque The baby back and St. Louis ribs get a flavorful Memphis-style dry rub (we tasted paprika, garlic salt and plenty of black pepper) and slow smoke over both apple and oak wood. Delicate diners, go with the baby backs; cut closer to the backbone just under the loin, these deliver lean, but incredibly tender, meat. Ravenous carnivores, go with the St. Louis, the meatier of the two. No one will be disappointed. 3800 N Pulaski Rd (773-545-7427, smoquebbq.com; half slab $10–$11, full $17–$18).
Smokey’s BBQ How can a place execute solid ribs but bobble pulled pork and brisket? Let’s chalk it up to specialization. Menu options such as “Uncle Kenny’s Famous Mediterranean” might lure you, but original is the way to go. The caramelized spices get a glaze late in the game, moistening the exterior into a flavorful, slightly chewy crust. These meaty ribs stand up to the smoke well for good balance in every bite. 5481 N Northwest Hwy (773-763-2328, smokeysbbqchicago.com; half slab $11, full $19).
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Elizabeth Karmel (@GrillGirl on Twitter) is our big sister, BBQ Mentor and dear friend. We knew her before she became so famous and appeared on NBC in Chicago, look at her now! If it wasn’t for her, we would still be burning chicken breasts on our gas grill! Last June we joined Elizabeth for a weekend at the Big Apple Block Party which is probably as close as a BBQ lover could get to heaven on earth. She introduced us to Ed Mitchell, who makes some of the finest BBQ in the country at his restaurant “The Pit” in North Carolina. Some would say that he defines the “Whole Hog” BBQ and after having many of his sandwiches, I would agree. Here they are in the 2nd and third segments of this CBS Early Show Tailgate special.
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I want to start by saying that I feel like I am a purist, when I BBQ, I use real wood on my Primo XL Grill and I cook low and slow. When I grill on my gas grills, I use all natural ingredients and never use the smoker box. I am fortunate though, I have a big backyard, a deck, a Weber Kettle, two Weber Summit Gas Grills, and two Weber Smokey Joes. For those people that live in big cities without a deck or outdoor cooking space, the indoor Cameron Stovetop Smoker and the crock pot or broiler are all they have! So is using a BBQ method other than a grill or smoker cheating? I would think not.
A friend of mine opened my eyes to the magic of liquid smoke and although I prefer using a grill, I thought that this information could be useful to those people out there who may not know that liquid smoke is one of the best kept secrets out there. My good friend Jill one time told me that she made incredible pulled pork in her crock pot and I of course thought it would be a cheating in the highest form! I recently smoked pork butts for 16 hours and they were fantastic, how can a crock pot replicate that?
Thank you Heff for sending me this post called The Secret of Liquid Smoke that explains the science of liquid smoke and has a recipe for what they call “Ultimate Cheater Pulled Pork“. After reading the comments and the reviews on the article, it has opened my mind to the fact that BBQ is what you make it, and whether that is in your oven broiler, steamer or crock pot, you stick with it. Here are some of the Q&A from the article on Liquid Smoke, you can file this under “Bet you didn’t know…”
You can be forgiven for wrongfully accusing liquid smoke of nefarious fakey toxic chemicalness. Even chemists have been confused on this one. Back in June, Slashfood interviewed NYU chemistry professorKent Kirshenbaum, who–like you, me, Lynne Rossetto Kasper and everyone we know–had believed the worst about this cheap, sketchy sounding liquid.
Unlike the rest of us, however, Kirshenbaum actually went out and studied liquid smoke. He found that, despite its synthetic 1950′s aura, the stuff is perfectly natural.
What is liquid smoke?
Liquid smoke is very simply smoke in water. Smoke usually comes as a vapor, but there are ways to condense it and turn it into liquid and that liquid can then be carried in water.
How is it different from regular smoke?
Regular smoke is a vapor, and it is difficult to store.
Is one healthier than the other?
It seems that the liquid smoke can be substantially healthier because there are carcinogenic compounds that can be removed. A lot of the carcinogenic compounds [found in direct smoke from charcoal or wood] do not dissolve. But by dissolving the compounds into water, they can be removed.
So, it’s like a water bong?
So let me know what your “unorthodox” BBQ secrets are and how they worked. My first taste of “sublime” babybacks came from Jackie Shodo, a wonderful woman who used to stay with us when my parents went out of town. She made some fall off the bone ribs using maple syrup, brown sugar and the oven, so who am I to judge?