I was reading that Aaron Franklin of Franklin's BBQ in Austin only seasons his meat with salt and pepper. I also remember that two years ago at the NBBQA meeting in Mobile that I tasted ribs at the cook-off that were seasoned with only salt and pepper and they were phenomenal, although they didn't win first prize. Last night I decided to cook up a rack of baby backs on my Big Green Egg (BGE) using only salt and pepper and see how they came out versus using a rub.
My spice mix was simple: 3 parts kosher salt to 1 part coarsely ground black pepper. I coated the ribs with a bit of olive oil and sparingly sprinkled the ribs on all sides with the mix. I am aware that salt can dry out meat, so I only wanted to use a little to cook the meat as opposed to coating it completely. Five hours at 225º and they were done. I sprinkled just a bit more of the mix on top and let them rest in the kitchen for 20 minutes before I sliced them.
I can't begin to tell you how good these tasted! The smoke flavor came through loud and clear (I used oak) and the salt was just enough to bring out the natural flavor of the pork.The pepper gave it just a bit of a bite, but not at all overpowering. Lest you think I spent a lot of money on my meat, I purchased these ribs at Publix, a large supermarket chain in South Florida.
It's made me think differently about rubs. I've tried dozens of rubs from sweet to hot, from spicy to bland. I have to tell you that just salt and pepper is now one of my favorites!
Edited by bocaboy - 4/23/14 at 10:47am