Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rib Rub Challenge #2

After the first Regional Rib Rub Challenge, I got a few rubs sent my way from some suppliers around the country. I fired up the smoker on a Saturday morning for a baby back comparison, and I was also anxious to try a competition style recipe I was working out in my head.

The rubs were a Memphis Style dry rub from Green Diamond Rubs and Spices from Seattle and Bacon Rub by J&D's (they also brought us Baconnaise and Bacon Salt from a previous post). I put those up against a simpler rub of fresh cracked black pepper, kosher salt, brown sugar, paprika and garlic powder.

The pork chops just got a dose of my homemade rub and a couple hours under hickory and apple wood. The flavors and smoke levels were great, but the meat had dried out a bit. I need to get thicker chops. The rest of the meats on the smoker were a mix of St. Louis ribs and baby backs, all with the different rubs applied.

Baby Backs & Green Diamond Rub

Baby Backs & Bacon Rub

Competition Style Baby Backs

St. Louis Ribs with homemade rub

If you like a sweet rub (brown sugar's the first ingredient) that will stain your shirt, then go for the Bacon Rub. It promises a "wrapped in bacon" flavor, but had no bacon flavor on it's own. Then again, who could really tell after it's applied to smoked pork ribs? They threw in some yeast extract for umami, but again, this stuff is supposed to go on meat already.

The Green Diamond rub had a good kick from the red pepper, but it was just a bit too salty for me. I did like the single serving packet which was incredibly fragrant when I opened it. I guess the flavors of those spices had been locked in as promised. At just $2.50 a pop, I'd be willing to try a few other of their options which include cajun, morrocoan and coffee rubs.

In the end, I preferred the old standby of the (modified) black pepper and salt rub. The competition style were sweet, spicy and eminently enjoyable with a honey based glaze, but the extra work and extra time (from opening that smoker so many times for vinegar baths) just didn't seem worth it when just a simple rub and some smoke taste so good. This is the first time I can honestly give five stars to my smoking efforts.

Bacon Grease Chocolate Chip sandwich w/ bacon marmalade

To top it all off, I made some of the Homesick Texan's bacon grease chocolate chip cookies. I had some leftover bacon marmalade and thought an kicked up ice cream sandwich was in order. While the combination may have been a bit much after too many ribs, the cookies were a damn good ending to a wonderfully meaty meal.

- BBQ Snob

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Each joint is judged on the essence of Texas 'cue...sliced brisket and pork ribs. Sausage is only considered if house made. Sauce is good, but good meat needs no adornment to satisfy. Each review can only be based on specific cuts of meat on that particular day. Finally, if the place fries up catfish or serves a caesar salad, then chances are they aren't paying enough attention to the pits, so we mostly steered clear.