047/18: WSM Hung Ribs
In 042/18 I cooked a Tri-Tip Santa Maria style over logs in the WSM. The method came from BabyBackManiac and was retweeted by @OnlySlaggin. Whilst I was watching that video I spotted another one by BabyBackManiac for WSM Hung Ribs. I liked the sound of this and decided to give it a go but would use Oak logs again as with the Tri-Tip.
This was the Tri-Tip cook:
My 57cm Weber Smokey Mountain, Oak logs from a local supplier and most importantly the Weber Expandable Smoking Rack (7473). I haven’t seen these before and it was hard to track one down as they appear to be discontinued. I originally found one listed with a company in Spain and ordered it but after chasing them up they told me they didn’t have any and were struggling to source one. Unimpressed I found one on Amazon for £70 which is a fair wedge of cash but I wanted to try this and felt it was only going to get harder and more expensive to track these down!
Baby back ribs from Turner and George – 2x450g for £6. British baby back ribs traditionally are not very meaty compared to others you see from the US and elsewhere but I feel it’s a good trade off to get quality, traceable British meat.
Lit kindling in the WSM topped with a couple of Oak logs and left to settle for half an hour. All vents open on the WSM and the lid was left up with the hanging rack in place. You could use lumpwood or briquettes but I am trying not to use briquettes any more and want to use logs in the WSM with the Kamado Joe used for low and slow cooks.
I had some of the Pork Season-All Dry Rub left over from the last rib cook which I made from the recipe in Hardcore Carnivore by Jess Pryles:
The rub was applied all over the ribs using the shaker I got from Nisbets.
You do get something to hang meat on the rack in the box but they look a bit flimsy. I have some butchers hooks I got from Hot Smoked previously – 10 for £12.50 which are far more sturdy:
I put the hooks through the ribs just past the 2nd bone. BabyBackManiac recommends this just to stop the meat ripping and dropping into the fire.
Ribs hooked, time to hang them off the rack.
View down from the top. The logs were smouldering pretty well, with the lid off they were flaming. As soon as the lid went on the flames died out due to less air in the WSM. I have the hinge on my WSM lid and it closed over the rack without any issue, no need to remove the pin.
30 minutes in they already had a nice colour to them.
The logs were smouldering pretty well. Temperature was high, off the scale on the WSM temp gauge and the amount of smoke coming out was unreal. Even with all the windows open and the hatch I couldn’t stay in the hut, the Oak smoke smelt fantastic though!
I kept checking the meat each time I added another log to the fire.
Not long after this point the ribs were looking quite dark so I wrapped them in foil to try and stop them getting any darker.
Time to Plate Up:
2 hours in they looked ready so I took them out. You can see from this shot it’s darker than I would have hoped for but the rub had a fair bit of sugar in which had burnt.
A bit of sauce would cover it up and make it look a bit better! The sauce is a leftover from a previous cook but I can’t remember which one!
Really enjoyed this cook. Always good to try something different and the smell of the Oak smoke was glorious! Not sure my neighbours will agree when the weather picks up and they have washing out!
The ribs were darker than I wanted them and there are some good lessons I learnt from this cook for next time:
- Better fire management: Only cook over smouldering logs/embers. Add new logs to the side to take so they don’t flare up on the meat.
- Hanging: Hang 2 racks off the one bar and in the centre of the grill or to the side away from the lit logs.
- Wrap: Keep an eye on the ribs and wrap them if they are going dark.
- Rub: Try a rub with less sugar in, less chance of burning.
- Meat: Try spare ribs rather than baby backs as they are meatier.
Even with all this in mind and considering they cooked in 2 hours compared to my usual method that takes 6 hours we both felt these were the best ribs I have cooked yet. Not sure what that says about my previous cooks though!
Why were they the best? They were incredibly soft and easy to bite but the smell and taste from the oak smoke was fantastic. I would definitely cook ribs this way again with the changes listed above but I will be trying other meats as well. I think the hanging rack just saved me buying a barrel smoker!
Not a great photo as it’s indoor lighting and off my phone but it shows how soft the meat was.
|Detailed notes above
If you like the look of the hanging rack there are currently 6 left on Amazon for £70: