St Louis with unbiased olive oil vs. mustard analysis + qview

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Fire Starter
Original poster
Oct 26, 2010
Waxahachie, TX
St. Louis were on sale at albertsons, buy one get two free, so rather than buy spares and do me own butcherin' I thought I'd do like Tommy Callahan suggests and take the butcher's word for it.  Each weighed in right around 3 lbs.  I've never used olive oil as rub base before, but have heard many good things.  I have also heard and experienced good things with both yellow and dijon mustard.

I rubbed two racks with olive oil and one with mustard, they're in the TEX right now with cherry wood cooking along on the Jeff Phillips 3-2-1, many thanks Jeff and the crew of folks who supply us young bucks with smoking knowledge so we reduce our trial and error.  Also am using Jeff's rub, it is to ribs what spinach is to Popeye.

A few preliminary shots as things get rolling:


I cut them in half to fit on the TEX's grates.


I've got walmart yellow mustard and Texas olive oil.


Above, a shot of one of the olive oil based racks.  As a preliminary note, I did think that the rub absorbed into the meat better with the olive oil. 


Above, a shot of the mustard based rack.  The rub doesn't absorb into the mustard like it did into the olive oil, but it made a thicker outer coating.  My guess is that the mustard will be a thicker bark, but that less rub flavor permeates the meat as in the olive oil, but we'll see.


All set for a smoke.  Also added a water pan underneath as the TEX gets just a tad fidgety starting up, but will level out nicely after a half hour to an hour.

More to come.  Please offer your thoughts on my method and/or mustard vs. evoo.

I would use Peanut oil VS Olive Oil to test.

Peanut oil has a much more neutral flavor, where as decent olive oil is actually used for its flavour.

I typically rub everything with peanut oil these days vs mustard. Mainly cuz I found I was running outta mustard for eating as a condiment!
Is that a Smokette?

I could be wrong, but I believe that if you read the fine print of Albertson’s sale add it said buy one get two free so you can give one to a deserving sole in Iowa because they don’t have an Albertson’s
Hey there, Herky.  Thanks for the tip - will definitely try it in the future.  I have family that lives in Eugene, and family that just moved from there.  You ever come across a Kosoris up there?  Those are my kin.

Go Ducks,


Well which process won???? I voting for the mustard.
Last edited:
Smoking is all done!

Arnie, I'm using a SmokinTex.

A chronological presentation of the qview:


Above, all set to come out.


Above, side by side comparison of mustard and evoo.  Mustard on the left, evoo on the right.  The lighting is really bad in my kitchen, but the mustard ribs actually came out looking a tinge redder than the evoo ribs, which were a shade darker.


Above, close-up of mustard ribs.  Lighting is a little better here and you can see the brighter hue.


Above, close up of evoo ribs.  Just a slight bit browner than the mustard ribs.


Above, a look at the first cut into the evoo. 


Above, first cut into mustard.  May not be as easily seen from these pictures, but the evoo did not have much of a smoke ring, whereas the mustard had a clearly visible smoke ring.


Above, mustard on left and evoo on right.  Contrasting colors are more apparent here.


Above, another close up of evoo.  Here it's easier to see the nice, thick bark formation and the slightness of the smoke ring.


above, a close up of the mustard ribs.  You can see the fading pink of the smoke ring, but also will notice the bark is a good bit thinner than the evoo.


BOTH ribs pulled nicely away from the bone when eaten - meat didn't fall off, but came right away with each bite. 


Nice, full pan of ribs ready to go!

Well if you have made it this far thanks for sticking with me.  This was a great experiment because it really showed physical manifestations of the different effects that evoo and mustard have on smoking.  It confirms what you will learn by reading around these forums about the way that water and oil interact with smoke and rub.  I will do my best to get the next part right, but if you see I have made an error please correct it.  thanks!!

The evoo ribs as you saw exhibited a noticeably thicker bark, at the expense of smoke ring formation.  This is because the dry rub ingredients dissolve better in oil, leading to the formation of a thick, sticky coating which hardens beautifully with the heat.  The rub ingredients interact more fully in the oil base and mix the flavors together better.  The absence of the smoke ring is due to the fact that nitrogen dioxide, the ingredient in wood smoke that forms the smoke ring, is water soluble but not oil soluble, so it does not absorb into the meat.

the mustard ribs had a thinner bark but a pronounced smoke ring.  This is because mustard is a water-based product which absorbs the nitrogen dioxide and thus forms the smoke ring.  The thinner bark is the result of the rub not being water soluble and thus not being able to take on a paste-like texture and hold up during cooking as is the case with evoo. 

I welcome comments, criticism, and anything else worth talking about - thanks for reading.

As far as taste goes, the evoo ribs were a little sweeter, and the mustard ribs had a bit more of that slight apple essence you get from the AJ while foiled, but without the sweet edge.  Both were superb.

Which method will I use in the future? 

I haven't decided yet :)

I have done the same comparison with spares, and I prefer using mustard. It gave me a better flavor, texture, smoke ring, and the ribs were not as dry when compared to the ones slathered with olive oil. Just my experience. It's all good my friend. 
Last edited:
Now I'm thinking how about mixing a little olive oil with the mustard. I've always used mustard on ribs, but I might try thinning it with a little EVOO. Thanks for sharing, by the way all of your ribs look great! is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.