BB's, ST Louis cut & a Butt w/Red Bell Pepper Rub: qview

Discussion in 'Pork' started by forluvofsmoke, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I’ll be covering several aspects of my methods for ribs and a butt, with a few twists from the normal, as I’m looking to do a bit of tweeking on a few things today.

    I’ve wanted to do a rib comparison for quite some time and hopefully put to rest the debate on which we like the most. Also, I wanted to pass along a new method (for me) on finishing a butt…let’s find out how this works out, shall we? So, this venture will be all about the quest for tender and juicy pork with a natural bark…no spraying of juices, no mopping and no added sugars.

    For the novice rib smokers, I’ll be doing a side-by-side comparison, with approximate cook-time of 2.64lbs Baby Backs, 2.88lbs St Louis cut spares and 5.39lbs un-trimmed spares. I just happened to have a slab of each in my q-freezer, so what could be more convenient than that?

    I also get to try my Red Bell Pepper Rub on a 8.4lb pork butt, which I’ve been curious about doing since my last several smokes with that rub.

    For the ribs, I’ll use the same rub, smoke and braze liquid (water only) so I can do a side-by-side comparison of taste & texture of each with the rub. We’ve all agreed that we love this rub, now I want to find out which ribs are our favorites, if possible. The full-slab of spares will go into the smoke first, as they have a heavy cross-section with the rib tips intact. I figure about 2 hours more smoke time than for the St Louis & BB’s to get approximately the same finished texture. I’ll be looking for a light twist and pull of the bone to remove it from the slab, with a finish on the grate for a natural bark. This should be a nice combination of bite, chew and tenderness.

    I’m smoking the butt to ~160* to pan/tent and hold @ 200* overnight to pull for Saturday’s lunch. This time, I’m going to be using an accessory rack for supporting the butt in the smoker and transferring to the pan/tent. This will give me a few extra tricks I can do: (1) avoid removing any bark by handling the meat with direct contact; (2) keep the butt elevated above the drippings while steaming; (3) allow me to place the butt back into the smoker if I want to firm up the bark, again without direct contact with the butt, and especially to reduce the risk of it falling apart before getting it onto or off of the grate, as temp-hold steaming will make it extremely tender. Once the meat hit’s the rack, it stays there until finished. Think of the entire method as the 8-12-2 for butts.

    I’ve done the smoke, pan/tent & temp-hold method for two briskets in the past month, and I was rewarded with moist and tender pulled flat, so, I figure I can’t go wrong with this method for a butt.

    Lets get started smokin’, shall we?

    The butt, BB’s, St Louis and un-trimmed spares getting ready for their date with rub and mesquite:

    Smoke today provided by the Smoke Vault 24 with mesquite @ ~225*

    Butt on @ 11:20 am

    Spares on @ 11:20 am

    St Louis on @ 1:05 pm

    BB’s on @ 1:05 pm

    The butt on an accessory rack:

    Butt @ 1.75 hours in, getting ready to add more ribs:

    Spares @ 1.75 hours, just beginning to sweat:

    St Louis up front, BB's in the back:

    All loaded up for the day:

    Thanks for peekin'! More to follow soon!


    ***EDIT*** Here's the dry rub recipe:
  2. I have to say... you always have extremely entertaining Qs/Posts... I love it... its like im watching a movie (i'd say reading a book, but who reads??? LOL I kid)... Looking good thus far![​IMG]
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks Steve. Gonna be some great eats to come!

    I decided to start looking for some pull-back on the ribs. They all need more time, so it gave me a chance to post an update.

    I've noticed that vertical smokers do tend to run a bit cooler on grate temps the more you load them up, so this is slowing things down a bit because I didn't compensate for it by jacking it up more after adding the St Louis cut and BB's. It will make it somewhat more difficult to estimate the actual temp/cooking times for comparisons on the ribs, though...I'll do my best.

    I'll be be running a fairly long smoke on the ribs with a reduced steaming time, so, I need to see more pull-back before panning/tenting. This should give a bit firmer interior with a clean bone-pull after firming up the bark.

    St Louis and BB's:

    Untrimmed spares, and the soon to disappear flap meat:

    Well, I'm pushing the 4 hour-mark and haven't needed to add water to the Vault yet, so that's nice. The larger (2" x 3") mesquite chunk is still smokin' away nice and slow...just enough that I can smell it in the vent stack.

    Not much happening just yet, but panning/tenting will follow soon.

  4. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Pull-back is just starting to show itself more prominently now. Dinner is olanned for 7:00 pm, and it's now 4:40 pm...time to make things happen.

    3.25 hrs for the SL/BB's and about to pan/tent with the spares:

    5 hrs for the Spares:

    Time for panning and stab a probe into the butt and see how it's coming along.

  5. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Started seeing better pull-back @ 5 hrs in, so did the bend-test, SL/BB's had a slight dropp and the untrimmed spares had little bend at all. I panned 'em up with 1/4 cup water with the SL/BB's on bottom and spares on top/center.

    I'm doing a single pan steam because a pan added to a vertical smoker will baffle the heat, so it needs to go above everything else, or cooking of other meats will be drastically effected.

    Pull-back of the spares (top) and SL (bottom):

    The rub is still holding on pretty good so far, for as coarse as it is...also, lots of juices are still oozing out:

    Man, I'm gettin' HUNGRY!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!

  6. Nice looking ribs and butt. I checked out your red bell pepper run on another post. Have you tried brown sugar for added sweetness and chipotle powder or another form of heat in the rub? Just curious as I was thinking about making some but adding sugar and chipotle powder.
  7. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks, this is actually a simpler version of a different blend I was using awhile back which did have brown sugar, paprika and chili powder...I think I've tried it with powdered ancho chili as well. That blend was not focusing the flavor as much on the red bell pepper, but more on the chili powders.

    I've found that this blend gives a subtle spicy/sweet flavor from the red bell pepper. The garlic and peppercorn add just a touch to the spiciness. The onion adds a touch more sweetness to the flavor profile. This is just a very simple and quite pleasant flavor with the 5 ingredients.

    I am thinking about what I may want to add to it for certain cuts and meat types, as some have lighter flavors which could use some enhancing, or heavier/stronger flavors which aren't necessarily desirable, and need to be smoothed out a bit. So far, I'm undecided as to weather or not I would change any of the measures, or add something else for a certain meat.

    Really, if you wanted to kick up the heat, I'd go straight to the cayenne and crushed red pepper...that will do the job mighty quick-like! A pinch of this and a dash of that, and POW!!! LOL!!!

    As a basic rub, this can easily be modified from it's current state to provide more heat or a deeper flavor profile. The main thing I'm looking for with this rub is to see what it tastes good with as is, and what I might do to it if I don't like it with something. The problem is finding something we don't like it with...strange as it may seem, this rub's flavor is working out nicely with everything I've used it for.

    This butt smoke will be a really good test of the rub's character...if it's too weak, the pork will have that strong taste in certain muscles of the shoulder.

    With the ribs, it has proven itself on spares already, so the BB's is just a bonus throw-in for the comparisons.

    I almost can't wait 'til Saturday's lunch for a taste of the pending pulled pork...

    Anyway, that's the skinny on this rub...seems to be great basic flavors so far.

    Gotta go pull my ribs from the pan and toss onto the grate for firming up now!!!

    Thanks all!

  8. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    1.75 hours panned up and my first look was just what I wanted to see. Good pull-back on all three slabs of ribs...time to firm up for the finish!

    Much better!!!:

    The SLC & BB's back on the grate:

    And, the Spares:

    Tossed 'em back to the grates @ 6:40 pm...dinner is now postponed until 7:30 pm...gotta wait for it if you want good Q.

    I know this seems like a very long smoke for pork ribs, but a loaded vertical smoker does slow down a bit and I didn't want to skew the results by changing smoke chamber temps.

    Back ASAP with the finish and reviews/comparisons!

  9. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG] All of a sudden it came to me......I'll be doing ribs tomorrow.
  10. I'm not a fan of cayenne as I find it has a bitter taste. So I have been subbing chipotle powder.

    I think I will head out to wally world tomorrow and pick up some dried red bell pepper and make your rub. Will probably do some kind of chicken.
  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    But, wait...are you sure? You haven't seen the finished pics yet!!!! LOL!!!

    Yeah, cayenne does need smoothing over a bit. Not sure about wally-world for the dried red bell peppers...can't get 'em anywhere around here. Alison's Pantry (local rep) is our source for them and other spices, but you can order online also.

    Finish coming right up!


  12. old poi dog

    old poi dog Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    [​IMG] No need to see the final product Eric... In fact I just finished trimming my spares into St. Louis Spares...
  13. them thangs look tasty! Can't wait to cook some of my own.
  14. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Now, I still can't say we have a favorite cut of pork ribs...sigh...actually all three cuts are too good to make an accurate comparison without being biased.

    OK, I'll try to describe the pros and cons of each.

    BB's have a bit of a great gelatin texture in the interior, which adds to the experience...nothing I can't live without, but it's just something different to enjoy anyway. The down side is the bone fragments on the one end which you need to be careful of, as they are barely attached to the bone and can be bitten off quite easily.

    SLC...hmm...they are easier to smoke than any other, I feel, because they have a more consistent thickness. The tips being trimmed makes for a bit easier eating as well. The downsides I think are that you lose approx. 35-40% of the slab due to trimmings, so that needs to be used up on something, and more slabs will be needed for the plates to be filled.

    Untrimmed spares are a bit tougher to get cooked evenly as they have the thick tips still intact, and they can at times give you a false impression of whether they are done or not, so cutting into the slab is sometimes needed, at least for me, just to be 100% sure they are ready. The cartilage of the rib tips makes for more interesting eating...I'm sure some folks eat the tips, and some don't...we nibble the meat off and discard, even though they have very high nutritional value.[​IMG]

    As you will see, they all took on a beautiful smoke. Cook times for the BB's seems to be slightly longer than for SLC due to the heavier cross-section, and untrimmed spares need much more time than the rest (approx. 40% IMO).

    I did a steam for 1.75 hours with these ribs...could have been about 2.5-3.0, due to the stacking together taking longer for thermal transfer throughout the pan.

    S0, I've rambled enough here...more on the comparisons in a about those pics?!?!?!?

    I give you the Baby Backs (bones up here, so you can see the pull-back better):

    Pulled the first bone out nearly clean with a slight twisting...bone fragments held onto a bit of meat:

    St Louis Cut:

    Untrimmed Spare Ribs:

    I didn't get a heavy bark formation, as the rub is no-sugar and no added mop/spraying either, so a tough situation without perfect timing for everything along the way. Even then, may not be attainable without much more salt and/or sugar. They all had a nice, thin crust knew it was there when you took a bite.

    The rub seemed just about right for all three, for a mild blend...ancho chili powder or your favorite, would be a nice touch, I think, for a bit of heat. As is, it lets the meat do most of the talking, and coaches it a bit along the way...the presence of the rub isn't overpowering, and that's what I really wanted to focus on with it. It's just sort of there in the background waiting to express itself when you ask it to.

    Good eats all the I gotta figure out what's next for this dry rub...Brisket? Whole 7-bone Beef Rib? Well, I did just do rib steaks with it, and that was tasty...gotta keep searching I guess...the quest will continue!

    Thanks everyone...been another fun smoke!


    EDIT: forgot, I have the butt integrated into this thread...more to follow!
  15. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    What is there left to say? Oh yeah, [​IMG]for once again bringing the Saga to the blue screen of SMF. I have missed your posts. You been hiding somewhere or has work had you under its' thumb?
  16. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LMBO!!!! I've been around posting qviews at least once a week lately, I think...dang, am I that addicted!?!?!? LOL!!!

  17. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I smoked this bad boy for 10hrs-40min and we got him into a nice & cozy tent for the night to hold @ 200* with a quart of water in the same pan as the ribs were steamed in...held that in my cold SNP...did I mention its been cold and rainy all day & tonight as well? Anyway, I'll have all those yummy porky drippings to go with the butt for a finishing sauce.[​IMG]

    Oh man, lunch on Saturday will be as good as tonight's rib dinner!

    Just coming out @ 172*, and ready for a slow steam:

    Placed the rack straight into a 12" x 18" pan for tenting:

    Just about to close it up...added some water:

    Closed up for the night...hibernation time in the long, slow sauna:

    Well, so far, so good...crust isn't real serious, however, I can put it back on a bare grate for a couple hours to firm up, if I so desire...think I will, just for giggles...we'll see how it looks in the morning and take it from there.

    I just now had to resist the urge to go out and peek, with full intentions of grabbing a chunk of shoulder to find out how the rubs goes with a butt...wouldn't be a good representation of the true identity of it's character until I pull it and toss it in the de-greased drippings. Yeah, I'm gonna have trouble waiting until 9:00 am for tossing it back on the grate to firm up the bark.

    See ya in the morning!

    Thanks all!

  18. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    This was actually a nice twist from how I've finished PP before. The pan/tent temp-hold worked out very well as expected. I fact, it almost worked too well...10+ hours smoke to 172*, 12 hours in steam @ 200* and a 1 hour rest...when I open the foil after it rested for an hour, here's what greeted me:

    Drippings before grease removal:

    The bone-pull:

    I skipped going back to the open smoker grate and commenced the ceremonial pull and toss with drippings...only used half the drippings:

    Wifey's Tater Salad:

    That made for a nice Saturday lunch:

    Thoughts on the flavor/rub: I tasted a few small chunks with some bark after pulling, and then again after tossing with the drippings. It's nothing special without the drippings...lightly salted which was nice, and the rub seemed to be too far in the background, at least for me...very light flavor, but still good. The turning point was after tossing with the drippings...a hint more salt, and a much deeper profile.

    I'm eating my, third sandwich right now trying to describe it. The family is giving rave reviews, so I'll have to do this again.

    Temp-hold method to finish works just as well as it did for pulled brisket flat...moisture was still there and fall apart texture.

    I'll be doing it with this rub and method again, for sure.

    Thanks everyone! Have a smoke-filled weekend, my brothers and sisters of the thin blue!

  19. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man Etric those ribs look fabulous and I wish I was there with you man. It would be good to have some of that good ole home smokin. For sure[​IMG]
  20. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks everyone...the final verdict is in for using this rub on pork...ribs were very good for a mild seasoning blend, and the family says the pulled pork was my best ever.

    We're eating leftover ribs and PP for dinner tonight, and I can really taste the difference now that I've been away from the smoker for a day.

    I have another project in the works using this seasoning base...I'm starting it tonight, and will smoke it up on my next days off (Thur/Fri) this week...all I can tell you in specific is that it involves Tender Quick...[​IMG]...that should keep you guessing [​IMG]


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