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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Smoked Baby Back Ribs

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 My dad doesn't spend a lot of time in the kitchen, unless he's eating, but the man does make a mean rack of ribs! It's a once every couple of years occasion, but it is always well worth the wait. I have no idea what his techniques are, other than that it is a multi-day process.
I'm a little bummed to not be celebrating Father's Day with my dad this weekend, so I decided to do the next best thing: make ribs! And by make ribs, I mean, have Ryan make ribs! When John McLemore, Masterbuilt CEO, Dadgum That's Good cookbook author and BBQ Master, offered to send me a Masterbuilt smoker to review, ribs were the first thing on my mind! 
Having little to no experience with smoking meats, I was shocked when a giant box arrived on our doorstep with the Masterbuilt electric digital smoker in it. It's a heavy duty piece of equipment that does a pretty heavy duty job! Ryan and I picked up two racks of baby back ribs and began our smoker research. 

The process began on Friday, when Ryan prepared a spice rub and massaged it into the ribs. They rested in the fridge overnight and then yesterday morning Ryan added apple wood chips to the smoker and let the ribs do their thing for 5-6 hours. I made a few trips past the smoker throughout the day and the scent of smoked ribs wafting in the air had me hungry for dinner all. day. long. 
Given that we are complete smoker novices, we were relieved that Masterbuilt's electric smoker was so easy to use. It comes with a remote that allows you to control the smoker temperature, check the meat temperature, and adjust the time, all from a distance. When the heat and humidity are at an all-time high in St. Louis, having the option to control your smoked dinner from inside your air-conditioned home is a luxury!
The smoker certainly did its job, our ribs turning out way better than expected, especially for our first time. We went crazy for the spicy rub and though we had BBQ sauce on hand, it wasn't even needed. The ribs were full of moisture and so. much. flavor. I can't wait to use it again--we have grand plans for smoked salmon, smoked turkey, and all sorts of other fun things. John's site has loads of smoker recipes that we're anxious to try, especially now that we're stocked with both a smoker and the three bags of wood chips we picked up.
We ended up transporting the ribs to Forest Park last night for a picnic before Shakespeare in the Park, where we shared them with Julia, Nate, and our friend Sarah. Unfortunately after we enjoyed a (rather fancy) picnic of ribs, root beer baked beans (coming to the blog soon!), a roasted beet and asparagus salad, and mini cheesecakes, the show was rained out! We ended up fleeing the rain and taking cover in our living room where we watched a movie. Even so, I couldn't have asked for a better summer night, unless my own dad had been there to enjoy it with us! Happy Father's Day to the best dad I could have ever imagined! And with that, Happy Father's Day to all of the other wonderful fathers I know and admire!

One Year Ago: Oatmeal Pancakes
Two Years Ago: Cheddar, Bacon, and Chive Savory Cheesecake
Three Years Ago: Cowboy Caviar

Smoked Baby Back Ribs
rub recipe from Food Network (Bobby Flay)

-1 tbsp cumin
-1 tbsp paprika
-1 tbsp granulated garlic
-1 tbsp granulated onion
-1 tbsp chili powder
-1 tbsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp kosher salt
-1 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 tsp black pepper
-2 racks baby back ribs
-apple wood chips (or your preference)

1. Combine all spices in a medium sized bowl and mix well. Massage rub into the two racks of baby back ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
2. Add apple wood chips (or your preference) to the smoker along with the ribs. Heat smoker to 220F. Add ribs and smoke for 5-6 hours, until tender (test ribs by trying to pull two ribs apart--they should separate easily). Serve plain or with desired BBQ sauce.