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Fabricating my Superbowl Dinner... ribs of course

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Prepping my Superbowl dinner. Was in Sam's Club they had spares in for $1.77 per pound. After feeling up ribs and doing an impromptu lesson to other barbequer's on what the heck I was doing feeling up all these packages of ribs. Found a nice package of the spares with good cover. Handed the checkout person 27 dollars and wandered on my way. Of course packer house ribs are in serious need of help when you open up the package. I mean if you want a professional looking end product you have to do some butchery and fabrication to get some useable ribs. As I described in my Fabrication of the St. Louis Ribs thread, I want a nice squared up professional looking rib that is going to look good on the table. I am not into meat that looks like I found a rib rack on some road kill found while I traveled home and decided to toss it on the grill for dinner. A little time doing some fabrication and you can produce professional results.

Remember we eat with our nose... then our eyes, then are tongue goes to work. So make sure the eating with your eyes part meets the standard you have for your smoke!

First a word about the packer packages. You will find a very
interesting phenomenon going on if you pay attention. The top spare is the best looking, the bottom is second best and the middle one is a little like the local tom cat with no home. You know its a cat... but it don't look so good!!!!!!

Follow me through a little fabrication work on my Superbowl dinner. A look at the ribs.

Of course we remove what is left of the diaphragm of the animal first. That flap has got to go.

Notice the slice were the packing house slipped the knife in to far removing the diaphragm and slit the membrane. This is most often observed with pork coming from Canada. Don't know why, but it always seems to trace back to a Canadian cut house. With the flap off I go to work trimming the hide side and squaring up to get my 10 ribs.

This is the top packed spare set. So it has the best cover as it will
present the best look to the consumer purchasing the package. It is
important to know when we count our ribs to get the ten we want to make a true St. Louis Rack, I layout the meat and look at what cutting will make the best square rack in the end. I usually end up taking one or to off the shoulder end and the rest off the flank end.

When cutting the rib remove both side closest to the bone you are going to remove. Leaving the maximum meat on the St. Louis rack you are
fabricating. So the meat stays hooked to the first rib of your St. Louis
and the meat stays hooked to the last rib of the St. Louis. You should see the bone on your trim ends indicating you left maximum lean on your rack for the enjoyment of you and your guests.

This picture of the trim rib section shows the bone I trimmed up against
ensure all the meat was left with the bone staying on the St. Louis Rack. That is what I want to see when fabrication a St. Louis for my guests. As the trim continues I am going to remove the dorsal of the rack looking at it with my knife in place prior to the cut so I can see that I am making a square cut, not some bazstardized triangle looking thing.

With the first one in I will get to work on number two and three. You should be able to recognize that this is not the rib that the top one was.... this is the middle rib and you can see the lean is not all the way to the end. This is a second rate rib and hence ended up in that stack on the cutting station so it would be packaged in the center where you can not see it. You can only feel it. As second stacks go this is not a bad spare. I have seen a lot worse when I opened packages. But since I was feeling this up I believed there was enough cover to make it useable.

With the second one all trimmed up and ready for the stainless its off with the membrane next and trim off any excess silver skin. Nasty crapppp that should not be consumed.

Then on to the third in the package. This is the bottom one. You can sort of see it through the heat shrink but not completely. So this is usually a covered rib with a little less cover than the top spare.

And so we work over the bottom spare and hammer it to a nice presentation shape with our knives and eyes. To me the difference between being a cooking person and a pit master is the ability to know how to create presentation quality meat out of anything. While I would not suggest purchasing lower quality cuts. We all end up with them and knowing how to utilize them best is the difference between someone that cooks meat...... and someone that knows barbeque. Always push the bar up with yourself. If you can not get top meat due to financial constraints, at least commit to present what you can afford in the best possible manner. It will make you better and better as you test yourself to produce a better end result.

And so I put them in order after fabrication so you can see what I mean by top cover, middle crapppppp and bottom spare.

You should be able to see the grade from top to bottom. All good... but the difference is obvious and you should train yourself to see the difference. You won't be sorry for having the knowledge.

Next up I have to get my sticky base onto the ribs. I spice the belly side different from the top side. Reasons are to many to discuss, but to me it is important.

Belly side now coated I turn to the top side to coat. Then flip again and start the rub to the belly side and flip to use my other rub for the top side.

With the the sticky stuff down I finish up the rubbing.

Then it is into the stainless for a little happy time in the reefer. (I
mean a refrigerator when I say reefer, not the other happy time reefer) I like
four hours prior to hitting the smoke.

That is it until they hit the smoker. I will post the smoke and the
eating as well. I hope you like these pictorial things I write as they
take time but I want to share things that I think help make better products. It was taught to me, I owe it to everyone to let them learn it too.

This is the link to the final product after smoking

Chef Bob Ballantyne

The Cowboy and The Rose Catering, Grand Junction, USA
post #2 of 15
What a quality tutorial! This is precisely what I needed. Thank you...

post #3 of 15
what he said^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
&points.giffrom me too!!!!!!!!!!
post #4 of 15
Great Looking Ribs Bob...PDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #5 of 15
Great looking ribs, PDT_Armataz_01_37.gifcan hardly wait for the results. You have given me some new knowledge Thanks
post #6 of 15
Great looking ribs and learned a few things also. Wat more could one ask for. Well done.
post #7 of 15
Unlike all the others I guess maybe I don't know what I'm talking aboput but the middle ribs don't look to bad to me there is a little more fat it looks. But when I watched Johnny trigg the other night he said he wanted the ribs with a good amount of fat in them. Ok now I'm starting to see what you are talking about After going back and really looking at the ribs and re-reading your post serial times and the again and try to see what you are talking about. Thanks for the little tutiral and I will start looking alitle harder at the ribs I selsct from now on too.Thanks Bob
post #8 of 15
Thank you for sharing your time and knowledge.
post #9 of 15
Amen! Great info!
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just wanted you all to know the finish is at the link below. The middle rack that was determined to be inferior did an interesting performance. Making bone creep and shiners.

The rib finish thread
post #11 of 15
You've made some nice looking ribs out of those, Bob. I have seen them on sale at Sam's Club recently. I still have a pack of BBs and a packer to get used up before I stock any more. Looking forward to the fiished pics of your ribs.
post #12 of 15
Nice tutorial Bob, this should be a sticky.points.gifIf I have them.
post #13 of 15
nice pictorial bob... there are indeed differences between rib packs as i never paid as much attention to as i should have been in the past. but thanks to info from bbally on bone creep i really think that along with making as good a choice as possible in your raw material and controlling your cooking temps will yield you an outstanding finishing product!!! thks for the info bob!!! heard mention of a sticky... wondering if a compilation of your st louis construction, bone creep, and this thread is in order. would make the complete spare rib tutorial!!!points.gif
post #14 of 15
Bob -- thanks so much for posting this. As a new guy here, it really helps when people like you share their knowledge -- I appreciate it very much.

As others have said, this ought to be a sticky.

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the kind words. I am not a moderator only they can combine things and sticky things. So as they see stuff they usually respond.
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