Tag Archives: St Louis Spare Ribs

Austin BBQ Roadtrip Day Two: Franklin Barbecue

Franklin's BBQ, on line for an early lunch. Aaron Franklin chats it up and drinks his morning espresso.

Franklin’s BBQ, on line for an early lunch. Aaron Franklin chats it up and drinks his morning espresso.

After stopping it at the Taco Xpress, for some breakfast taco’s and some food to keep us satisfied, we headed to Franklin Barbecue and arrived in line at 9:15 AM. Franklin’s claim to fame is that they open their doors at 11a and stay open until they are sold out, oh and also that they have the world’s finest Texas Brisket! So they usually run out of food around 2p as the sign says. Our timing was perfect, we were amongst the first 25 people in line and that got is in the door on the first shift. The line just grew and grew as we waited there, people joining people holding spots and the beverage lady coming through the line to serve drinks. The wait was half the fun, and a little tip, you can use their bathroom.

The first person from Franklin’s we met was a really Sweet young lady who came through to gauge our order as to how much, brisket, pork, ribs and sausage you would be interested in having. It is first come serve so she takes your order and then let’s you know whether there will be any left by the time you get inside. Not an issue for us, more of an issue for the folks closer to the end of the line.

We were lucky and got inside at 11a, waited another 20 minutes and was happy to see Aaron Franklin enjoying his morning espresso and watching over the first cuts of brisket hit the trays. We went with a pound of brisket, 1/4  LB of Turkey and pulled pork, two hot links and a pound of spare ribs and went to work. The surprise of the meal and not to be missed is the smoked turkey, we surmised that we may have been the first to order it and we got a fresh breast that was just amazing, nice blend of pepper, salt and smoke, with a delightful bark. Don’t miss it, we shared it with some line mates who made the mistake and they had the same reaction.

At Franklin's BBQ, the brisket is awesome, but their Turkey could change Thanksgiving dinner for the masses!

At Franklin’s BBQ, the brisket is awesome, but their Turkey could change Thanksgiving dinner for the masses!

The pulled pork was awesome as well, salty, smokey with a hint of pepper and moist. Moist seems to be the seem at Franklin’s, how they do it, I do not know but all our food was tender and didn’t dry out as we ate it. The sausage casing had such a snap and a great flavor. Now the spare ribs had a great bark and a peppery smokey flavor with tenderness that made it easy to separate meat from bone. No falling off, but pulling off was just a delight and an awesome flavor.

Last but not least was the brisket, we asked for fatty and the bark, oh the bark was just amazing. The brisket was not like anything we have tasted thus far in Texas. It was light, fluffy and literally had the consistency best compared to a good birthday cake. The crusty bark mixed with the light and tender meat that was airy and so moist. The bark has a pepper flavor which is the most predominant flavor and it was worth every second in line to taste this Pit Master’s handy work.

Finally, Franklin’s has sauce and the Espresso BBQ Sauce, which is evidently taken from Aaron’s love of a good espresso is the perfect companion to his brisket. Highly suggest taken a few bites on it’s own, but then give that BBQ sauce a try, the mix of the coffee and the black pepper is just not to be missed. Had an almost chocolate under tone and was a pleasant surprise.

Enjoy the photos from the Austin BBQ Roadtrip on BBQ Pro Shops Flickr Page

Yazoo’s Delta Q Style St. Louis Spareribs

Yazoo's Delta Q Ultimate Rub, Chioplte Bold Sauce and Original Mild Sauce is Available at BBQ Pro Shop

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.

Yazoo's Delta Q Style St. Louis Spare Ribs

Check Out the Color On These Yazoo's Delta Q Style St. Louis Spare Ribs

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.

17th Street Bar & Grill: Barbecue Mecca

Rubbing Buddha's Belly: The Welcoming 17th Street Piggy

We have had the honor of meeting both Mike and Amy Mills Tunnicliffe at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party and once at Memphis in May. We have “tasted” (never more than just a few ribs) Mike Mills famous Baby Back Ribs, fresh out of the Ole Hickory Smoker in NYC at the Block Party.  We had never been to 17th Street Bar & Grill for the full experience, until last weekend when our pilgrimage brought us to BBQ Mecca.

We gathered the St. Louis BBQ crew, and met at the 17th Street Bar & Grill in O’Fallon Illinois, site of the old St. Louis classic Super Smokers and now home of the world famous Mike Mills BBQ joint. It was more than a joint, a great big restaurant with a large bar and walls lined with press clippings and photos of famous BBQ Pitmaster’s including many historical looking photos of a personal favorite of mine, Ed Mitchell.

We sat family style at a big square table in the back next to the winding staircase and started with some appetizers. First, pulled pork nachos, packed with Jalapeno peppers, cheese and topped with Mike’s tender smokey pulled pork.  Next, smoked chicken wings with a nice smokey flavor, a little heat but were so much more tender and juicy than any deep fried wing could be. Finally, the house sampler arrived, full of smoked hot links, fried pickles,  incredibly crunchy onion rings, more smoked wings and an array of dipping sauces. Fried pickles were a first for me and just awesome!

The St. Louis Family BBQ Crew

In between courses, the warm honey rolls arrived with a delicious cinnamon butter which we only sampled in order to save room for the BBQ onslaught that was coming. The meats arrived and most went with two meat combos of baby backs and brisket. Others had pork shoulder so we passed them around. First, the ribs were so delicious and rich that a half slab was plenty when combined with a second meat. All the meat comes dry, sprinkled with Mike Mills Famous Magic Dust which adds a flavor that works perfectly with the 17th Street sauce and apple smoke flavor.

Low and Slow, Apple Wood Smoked Beef Brisket in the huge Ole Hickory Pit Smoker

The sleeper of the meal, besides the awesome hush puppies and corn muffins (which became the next mornings breakfast) had to be the brisket. It was smokey and very flavorful. The brisket was so tender you could cut it with your fork and it had a smokey bark that just went perfectly with 17th Street Spicy BBQ sauce. We were not surprised at all that it was so delicious, but I went for the baby backs and fell in love with the brisket!

The meal was the kick-off to Donna’s 50th birthday weekend and so our waitress (who promised not to sing or dance) brought out dessert, and it was as good as everything else was.  We were served a delicious bread pudding and a strawberry shortcake that was passed around and enjoyed by all. Huge thanks to Amy Mills Tunnicliffe for the VIP treatment, to the Manager Sue, who took us all out back to see where the magic happens. Last but not least, our server Anna who made us feel like we were visiting family and made sure we tried some hot links!

Fathers Day Grilling Gift: Mike Mills Ultimate Rib Gift Set

Pit Master Mike Mills 17th Street Barbecue

We often get asked what makes up a good gift for dad on Father’s Day and here is a list of things that you would need to make the ultimate in Mike Mills Baby Back Ribs all on your own! Get these BBQ gifts for dad and he cannot go wrong in making the ultimate baby back ribs that will make his family proud.

  1. Peace Love and Barbecue The bible of all things BBQ, side dishes as well as hints and tips on how to smoke some of the best baby back ribs in the business.
  2. Grill Friends Apple Wood Chips (2 Cups) – Mike Mills sort of put Apple Wood smoking on the map in the world of BBQ and any fruitwood will do, but if you are going to follow the baby back rib master, you may as well stick with what works. Grill Friends makes these small and easy to use bags of wood chips or you can by a smoker box and the wood chips as well. If you want to go with more quantity and something additionally special, try Baxter’s Original Apple Smoking Wood
  3. Grill Friends Super Silicone Multi-Use Tongs – every good BBQ grill needs a great set of tongs and these Grill Friends tongs are some of the best. Great quality and great design, these tongs will help dad get the baby back ribs off the grill when they are done.
  4. Grill Friends Rib Rack and Roast Holder – Whether you are cooking baby backs, St. Louis spare ribs or beef ribs, this rack holds them all. Flip this over on the grill and it holds ribs, flip it the other way and it holds turkeys, roasts or hams.
  5. Mike Mills Magic Dust – You can get away with the 3 oz, but we would suggest the one pound bag and the Grill Friends Rub Shaker, because once you make ribs with this rub, BBQ will never be the same!
  6. Mike Mills Spicy 17th Street Barbecue Sauce – 18 oz – It is important to finish off the ribs with barbecue sauce when they are all done and and the spice bbq sauce goes great and really compliments Mike Mills Magic Dust.
  7. Grill Friends Super Silicone Angled BBQ Brush – It is all about the grilling gear and this is the ultimate in BBQ brushes, this is a really great barbecue tool to use to apply the BBQ sauce before they come off the grill / smoker or after they are cut and ready to serve.

All of these BBQ accessories including the rub shaker come to around $90 and is everything you will need for the ultimate Father’s Day grilling gift. Your dad will be able to smoke incredible baby back ribs of all sorts. Feel free to mix and match, but all of the above is the best way to get the Mike Mills, 17th Street Barbecue experience. All of these BBQ products are authentic and come right from 17th Street Barbecue.