Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Main Event: BBQ Beef Ribs

I lived in Texas for nine years and pork ribs just don't cut it for me. Kim, my wife, loves only pork ribs so look for a pork rib recipe coming soon. In either case, I use convection and radiant heat only. No direct heat. (Note the hat.)

When you live upstate, getting beef ribs is a chore and a difficult chore it is. I order only during the summer so I can BBQ them. This year, I ordered my ribs way in advance, making sure that I would get them in time for the First Virtual Twitter Throw Down. But, the best-laid schemes o' mice an' men/Gang aft a-gley. And gang they did and quite aft a-gley it was. Instead of my butcher getting me the beef back ribs I normally cook, he got me the beef spare rib. And, of course, they were huge. Since I was expecting smaller, 6 inch, back ribs, I thought I'd gotten brontosaurus ribs.

So, running short on time for this Throw Down, I went with the spare ribs and fed one per customer. I didn't have the heart to cut them off the bone. I've since corrected this mistake on the part of my purveyor and have ordered the 6 inch back ribs. Perhaps I'll only get stegosaurus ribs this time. Anyone want 20 lbs of spare ribs? Or just come over and help me eat these.

I'll be posting the back ribs next week. I should be able to get the post finished by the end of Monday, the 29th, the last day of the Throw Down. And I've also ordered some pork ribs. However, the spare ribs are wonderful ribs and more than delish. Lots of beautiful meat and rich as all get out. Sooooo, in the meantime, enjoy. The cooking times don't change that much. With pork ribs or beef back ribs you can shorten the time by 3 to 2 hours respectively.

To get more of the back story on the First Annual Virtual Twitter Throw Down, see Luna Cafe's wonderful fried chicken blog post.

The most important part of making great BBQ Beef Ribs or any ribs isn't the sauce, though a bad sauce can ruin them, it is the wood you use to cook them with and how you cook them. I prefer an indirect convection style cooking and of course I use a Mesquite and oak blend of wood or charcoal. When I lived in Texas, I'd just go out and hack down some mesquite and oak and start cooking. We'd put entire tree logs in the BBQ. However, here in New York, I find the best charcoal I can and use that. I usually use Cowboy Charcoal and a good all oak or hickory charcoal and soaked wood chips.

The first box is off the to left.

I do not use direct heat. I use radiant heat and convection. I usually use two fires, one on each side of the meat. However, since these ribs were from a brontosaur, I stoked the firebox full with charcoal and kept the flames away from the meat that way.

After cooking the meat for about four hours, I started applying my BBQ Sauce. I applied it three times as it continued cooking for another two hours.

Then, I brought in the ribs to rest for 20 mins and applied more sauce.

Then I cut them and applied more sauce before serving. I also gave the diners extra sauce to apply at they saw fit. In case you missed it, this is my sauce recipe.

Usually, when doing a BBQ, I make feather bread, but in this case, I had Brian make a nice focaccia:

For sides, I wrapped fresh corn on the cob in alunimum foil, added butter, garlic, smoked sea salt and pepper and threw those in the fire box for 15 minutes. I also served roasted fingerling potatoes. For dessert, Brian made a very nice Black Forest Cake with whipped cream rather than icing. After these ribs, it was deemed very light. A perfect way to end the meal. Or course, we started with my famous apple cider vinaigrette salad. All in all, a tasty treat. And all brought to you by:

My Italian Fried Chicken recipe coming next. I do a great panfried and baked version of this wonderful Italian treat. Yum.

Please see the following people who are participating in the ThrowDown:

Mark LaPolla, New York
Twitter ID: @LifeByChocolate

SMS Bradley, Pacific Northwest
Twitter ID: @LunaCafe

Gluten Free Sanctuary
Leslie McLinden, Arkansas
Twitter ID: @lesliemac59

Fresh Eyes
Jan Richards, California
Twitter ID: @MrsRoadshow

Twitter: @LicoriceShrine

Grandma’s Gluten-Free Baking N Cooking
Joyce Paige, Kansas
Twitter: @SilknPearls or @GFGrandmaBNC

The Sensitive Pantry
Nancy Kohler, New Jersey
Twitter ID: @SensitivePantry

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Anonymous LunaCafe said...

Holy moly, Mark, these look amazing! You are a master with the smoke and grill. Your sauce sounds fantastic as well. I'm with you on using real wood charcoal and soaked chips. That makes all the difference. I declare you the WINNER of the BBQ Ribs ThrowDown! I just hope your chicken looks really bad. :-)

June 27, 2009 at 3:18 AM  
Anonymous Cooking Dad said...

Dajum! Now that's what I call spareribs! I always get pork ribs, never seen any beef ribs before, they look more like my size of meat serving. From now on my BBQ will not be complete without beef ribs.

June 27, 2009 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger Mark by Chocolate said...

You can get back ribs, or what's called baby back ribs, they are 6" long as opposed to these monster spare ribs and believe me they are not that spare. Tons o' meat on them bones.

June 27, 2009 at 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brontosaurus BBQ Ribs:

Fred Flinstone is licking his chops! Good heavens Mark you either know the butcher or raised the Angus yourself.

The Hat!
The Beef!
The Grill!

Ladies, size DOES matter!
BTW, it's against the law in most TX counties to own and/or BBQ a pig.

Let's take a peak under the hood.

The Sauce: Standard TX stuff. Wait a minute... Cocoa Powder? And lots of it! Look at how it scaled up on the side of the big ol' sauce pot after hours of simmering. Can I scrape that off and eat it?

The Beef:
Take a close look at the BBQ Beef that's cut open. Notice how the pink color of the sauce has gone clear through the meat to the bone?=Flavor in the meat, NOT on it.

Bonus: The artist's rendering. Priceless.

Confession: I looked at your entry first, but was SO amazed, I decided to hold off on commenting until I saw the remaining contestant's entries.

June 30, 2009 at 12:12 AM  

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