Mitch Weinstein opts out on grilling, and decides to go all in on barbecuing for Memorial Day weekend.
Text And Photo By Mitch Weinsten
Memorial Day weekend is coming up in the US folks, so fire up the Weber and do some barbecuing. And save your grilling for later. Real barbecuing, low and slow, is my favorite method of preparing ribs and various other cuts that benefit from long, slow cooking with low heat.
Last Memorial Day weekend, ribs it was. Both pork spareribs and beef short ribs. Along with a wayward chicken that took an overnight bath in brine, the ribs were dry rubbed (pick your favorite dry rub, or just salt and pepper) the night before with a mixture of salt, sugar, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, cumin and a bit of fennel powder that had made its way back to me from Umbria, via our friends Jude and Jeff. The ribs can come out of the refrigerator an hour before the fire is ready, and the chicken should be rinsed well of its brine and dried thoroughly before going into the smoker. It helps to have a rib rack, but even without one, make everything nice and cozy on the ‘cue.
The coals and fire are built off to one side, so none of the meat is directly over the coals. It’s a low fire, and you want to keep it in the range of 200 – 225 degrees. A handful of soaked wood chips gets placed on top of the coals, and every 30 minutes or so, a couple of unlit pieces of charcoal can be added to keep the fire going, along with another handful of wood chips. Your smoker should look something like this:
Ribs can take anywhere from 3 – 5 hours, depending on their size and how hot the fire is. During this time period, you can make a salad. You can take a nap. Or you can drink. After we could wait no longer (actually, right around the 4 hour mark), everything came off the grill. Try to let it all rest for 15 minutes (good luck!); then cut and platter and get ready for the feast:
That’s a short rib in the upper left hand corner, and they were damn good. You can see the beautiful pink smoke ring on the pork ribs and they were mighty fine too, as was the chicken. Trust me, these are as good as any you’ll get at your local BBQ place. And just think; you made them all by yourself.
We hope to see you outside this weekend. Stay safe and have a Happy Memorial Day!
Mitch Weinstein is an avid seeker of good food, culinary school grad and writer of the blog Tasty Travails. When not cooking at home, he is on the hunt for that next delicious restaurant meal, great market or maybe even a cocktail. He regularly contributes to the food and drink forums on mouthfulsfood.com, eGullet.org, Chowhound.com and others.