Friday, August 19, 2011

A New Found Love for Rubs!

I've never really used rubs for cooking, and was very interested in learning a few tips from the Edenton BBQ Grand Champion for 2008, Don, our Innkeeper. So we signed up for his "Rib U Class" and headed out to the smoker for our lesson on how to make delicious St. Louis Style Ribs! Apparently, the secrets lie in the wood, briquettes, smoker, and rub!

Don likes these hardwood briquettes from Trader Joes

He wrapped a log of wood from his crab apple tree in foil, poked holes in it and surrounded it by the briquettes. Then he literally lit one briquette with a torch (lighter fluid is a no-no!) till it was smoldering, and said the heat from that one would spread to the others once in the smoker.
The Mac Daddy of smokers...has a digital thermometer to regulate temperature and a built in fan to keep it smokin!

The four rubs we could taste test and choose from
There were four "couples" staying at the Inn, so each of us prepared a slab. Once we chose our rub, it was time to decide what moisture medium to brush on so that the rub would stick. The choices were: apple juice, mustard, apple cider vinegar, and/or olive oil.

We chose the Barbecue rub from the THE RUB CO. which Don had mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with Turbinado Sugar. We loved the sweetness of it and thought apple juice might be the best liquid to brush on. Here are some pictures of the master at work, and our finished slab, ready for 5-6 hours of smoking!

In this picture, Don is showing us how to pull off the "silver lining" of skin from the back of the ribs so the rub can penetrate. Be sure to use the rub on the ends of the ribs as well.

 Here is our slab on top, with another couples' slab below, which had a very spicy rub

We all returned for dinner at 6:00, which included our ribs, with coleslaw, cornbread and baked beans prepared by Don's wife, chef Diane. What a fun time it was tasting everyone's slab to decide whose we liked best (no one knew whose was whose). Mom and I both picked ours out of the four (3rd from the left). So we will be ordering some Barbecue Rub from The Rub Company and mixing it with the Turbinado Sugar to use on pork and chicken in the future!

Apparently in competitions, presentation is huge. The judges want to see nice, straight ribs, with great flavor that isn't overpowered by the sauce, which is simply brushed on at the end to give the ribs a little glaze. The meat should not be falling off the bones...that was news to us!

What a fun time we had at Rib U! Anyone else want to share some tips for smoking or barbecuing ribs? What is your favorite rub or sauce? If you would like recipes for Don's homemade rub or the spicy rub, just let me know and I will send them to you. Have a wonderful weekend, and next time your grill out, try a rub!


  1. They look fabulous. I too thought it was good if the meat fell off the bones - I hate picking them - B finishes mine off if I ever have ribs. :D

  2. Yummy! So glad that you learned so much about rubs and ribs! Cant' wait to try out what you learned!