A new and delicious way to make barbecue ribs
My friend and barbecue expert Mike Hiller just sent me pictures that blew me away.
My mind is not easy when it comes to smoked meat, as I have been writing on culinary topics and in particular everything related to BQQ for over 20 years. My last cookbook was a New York Times bestseller, I was a guest judge on Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef and visited famous and obscure barbecues from coast to coast, covered all types of style. barbecue, served as a judge at two of the four “Majors” of the BBQ competition (Jack Daniels Invitational and Kansas City BBQ Society) and participated in several barbecue training camps, including the famous BBQ University Cooking School . (See my brand new 2021 Father’s Day gift guide from the best grills and smokers)
But I have never seen anything like it.
Neither does Mike, and he knows even more about smoked meat than I do, as a skilled chef, barbecue enthusiast, and food and tourist writer for the Dallas Morning News and Los Angeles Times. He wrote about food for Texas monthly and he runs the # 1 food and dining blog in Dallas, a must-see for any foodie or visiting the city, Escape from Hatch Dallas. He has also served on the board of directors of the Society of American Travel Writers and has explored gastronomy around the world. But he especially enjoys smoked meat, cooking a lot at his home in Dallas, where he has several outdoor cooking appliances, a smoker, a Big Green Egg, a wood-fired pizza oven, and more.
Mike decided to do something different, so he invented what he calls the “Rib Wing”.
Now, before I start writing, the whole subject of food ‘invention’, from Caesar salad and Buffalo chicken wing to the recently debunked Connecticut burger story, has been murky, and the stories of “creation” around food are hotly debated. This being the Internet, many of you will immediately send hate mail saying that you have been doing the following for years, if not decades, if not a family secret handed down for generations.
But suffice to say that I have been to countless acclaimed barbecue restaurants and never seen this, I have a wall full of barbecue cookbooks and I have never read this, I have never seen this. never heard of anyone doing this, and neither did Mike. I checked the ultimate source, Best ribs ever, one of 31 grilled food cookbooks by five-time James Beard Award winner Steven Raichlen, the world’s number one barbecue recipe author, and there aren’t any either (but the Hiller’s writings on food made their way to Raichlen’s site, Barbecuebible .com)
So for now we’re going with Mike Hiller as the creator of the Rib Wing. Here is what he did, why and how.
“I started to think about how to maximize the surface area of the smoke? If you smoke on a Big Green Egg or a pellet grill, anything that is not a compensated smoker, you should do whatever you can to maximize the smoke because it is less efficient in terms of smoke. At the same time, I know that chicken wings are the perfect outdoor hand food, and I started to imagine “what if pigs could fly?” They would need wings, so I thought, let’s make a pork wing. But in the end, it was about maximizing the smoke surface. Plus, it turns out that there are a lot of other benefits and it’s good. With these ribs you get a true 360 degree smoke, rub and flavor experience. “
What Hiller does is first cut the grates into individual ribs, then rub them all over with a dry rub, then smoke them. It’s that simple – except when it gets all finicky and complicates things.
“If you ever had to apply the word ‘Lazy’ to a barbecue ribs recipe, this would be it.”
The added benefits: From a practical point of view, the ribs cook faster, about an hour less than you normally do, without turning. For Hiller using St. Louis ribs, 4 hours instead of 5. “I don’t think dos babies are as delicious as St. Louis, but if you like back babies, it works just as well and cooks in less time. “Personally, I like full size pork ribs.
“Also, I hate removing the membrane from the backing, but if you don’t, it’s chewy and you’ll only have a smoky flavor on the side. When you cut it first, you don’t have to take it out, it takes care of itself, the ribs are not chewy, you save a boring step, and you get the smoky and delicious flavor from all four sides, not only one or two. “
“There’s no wrapping, none of that 3: 2: 1 aluminum stuff. The beauty of a rib is that it’s curved, so as long as you put it bone side down, the rib is smoke circulates and you never have to return them. It’s also a nifty way to maximize space on a round grill like a Weber of Big Green Egg. I made them on my Traeger Timberline Pellet Grill and Egg and they both worked really well.
It’s also a pretty dramatic presentation for the guests, whose eyes will light up, it goes from smoker to set, bypassing the cutting board, and it avoids the waste of giving some sub eater half a slab and to throw away the leftovers. It works great for ribs as a main dish, but also turns them into a starter for finger foods, a portion for a multi-meat dish, or whatever your imagination allows.
As for the taste?
“I had some great ribs, but these are even better. The fat makes it cleaner than full grates, and the outside is slightly crispy all around each rib. Nobody eats ribs for meat, we eat them for the fatty, sticky, smoky, delicious taste that comes from a long smoke bath. I like to smoke then at 225 ° until the last hour, then push it to 325 ° to crisp the edges. “
It can be that simple, cut the ribs, rub them, smoke them. Serve with or without a sauce option (I prefer the Caroline mustard style). Or you can take it a step further and really hillerize things.
“I spray my ribs while smoking with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, water, sugar and a few touches of Tabasco. As a delicious bonus bath, at the end I tumble them into a mixture of clarified butter and rib juice with a hit of Vermont maple syrup. I keep some of the melted cooking juices and mix them with butter, then I keep “Mike’s Cowboy Butter” in my fridge. “
And to drink? “Fill a pie pan with water and put it on your grill for an hour while smoking something. Then freeze the water in ice cube trays and serve the ribs with a Smoky Old Fashioned.
I love the Rib Wing concept. It’s different, it’s delicious, and it’s eminently practical.
“The first thing someone does when taking a rack of ribs off the grill is cut them up. You’re going to cut them anyway, why not do that first? “