Tired of my tech articles? Too much geeky Eclipse stuff? Well, then I have something completely different for you: Smoking Baby Back Ribs! No electronics, no microcontroller, no software: only heavy metal, fire wood, meat and beer :-).
❗ WARNING: this post shows raw meat and alcoholic beverages! You are only allowed to continue reading if you are 18 years or older 😉
It is week-end time! So here is the thing: half of the family is on a special diet (I will never understand why!). Incredibly, that special diet does not allow them to eat any BBQ stuff? Good for me: instead of four family members fighting for the best pice, there are only the two of us. With half of the ‘table competition’ knocked out, my chances have greatly increased :-). And if you know me, I don’t want to miss a good BBQ (see “My First DIY Smoked Beef Brisket: Day 2 – the Way and the Result“).
💡 ‘Swiss Style’ is usually ‘grilling’ with meat and sausages. Regardless, I name this one here BBQ Swiss Style, even if that style is not so common (yet?) 🙂
Saturday morning, time to start the smoker engine at 9 am. After one hour, the fire-box is ready to put the meat into the big smoking chamber.
I’m using old cherry wood from my brothers farm in this smoking session:
💡 I use cherry wood with the bark removed. Smoking wood with bark adds a bad taste to the meat.
The smoker temperature is about right: I will keep it around 110°C (225°F). Little bit too high at the beginning, but it comes down to 110°C shortly:
I’m carefully monitoring the temperature: It shall not go above 120°C because my marinade is using sugar, and I don’t want to turn my ribs black 😦 Normal sugar carmelites around 160°C (320°F), so I want to stay below that value.
💡 That analog temperature meter measures the temperature in the upper part of the smoker. The temperature at the grill level is about 40-50°C slower. I recommend to use a second thermometer just to be sure.
Ready to put the four baby back pork ribs into the smoker:
I have my ‘butcher of trust’ in the village nearby (Messerli Metzg, Steinen). He cuts down the pieces for me, and already has the membrane removed from the inside of the ribs.
💡 removing the membrane is a must for me. It makes the ribs much more flavourful and tender.
The ribs have been pre-marinated over night in the fridge. I’m using my home-made marinade:
And here is the secret (or not so secret) recipe for the marinade and mopping sauce:
- 4 TS brown sugar
- 3 TS garlic powder
- 3 TS onion powder
- 3 TS sweet paprika powder
- 1 CS crushed black pepper
- 2 dl apple juice
- 1 dl apple vinegar
TS=Table Spoon, CS=Coffee Spoon, dl=deci-liter.
Use more sugar/garlic/etc as you like Just make sure that the sauce is not too much on the liquid side. This time I did not add tomato ketchup, maybe next time again.
Temperature stabilized at 110°C:
Every 30 to 45 minutes, additional firewood gets added to keep things going slowly and at 110°C:
And every hour or so, time to apply some marinade.
To avoid that the pieces get dry, and so it can build a nice crust:
After two hours, it looks like this:
Applied marinade on the top side:
After two hours, I flip them and turn them by 180°:
And with marinade applied:
After 3 hours, time to document the progress:
And because this is all very, very hard work, I deserve an internal threatening with a Hefe-Weizen 🙂
Status after 4 hours:
Now they get wrapped into aluminum foil, with a bit apple juice added into the wrap:
All ribs wrapped in foil, ready to go for another two hours:
And because this all is still hard work, time for another one:
After two hours in aluminium foil, they get unwrapped:
One more hour to go….
Finally, after seven hours, the result:
Soft and tender, full of juice and flavour, taste of sweet with a little note of smoke. Ahhhhhh….
Happy Eating 🙂
PS: Not sure if that is fair play, but the two family members on that special diet claimed that after carefully checking the rules, exactly *these* ribs are allowed! So yes, finally they had a few ribs too. I had that outcome expected anyway 😉
PS2: Help! I ran out of Rudy’s BBQ Sauce 😦
Erich, you need to bring an extra suitcase when you come to Austin, Texas for FTF next month so you can take home enough Rudy’s sauce to get you through the year!
Yeah, one month to survive then 🙂
Erich, really are you Swiss or Texan?
Good question! 🙂
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WOW. Yammy. Bring extra Rudy’s Sauce to EU :).
will do 🙂
Nice until you got to the Weizen.
Oh how I miss the fresh beer I would get when I spent 2 weeks in Paderborn on business. Now I HAVE to do some ribs. 🙂
Unfortunately, my employer doesn’t want to let me go to FTF 😦 .
If you want to look at some good sauce recipes (and other things) might I suggest http://amazingribs.com/ , a fantastic resource for us BBQers.
thanks for that link: I got least browsing all the good information :-)).
Another good one (but in German, sorry) is http://www.grillsportverein.de/
Hey Erich, my wife and I moved to Zurich from Austin last March and I’m trying to find out where I can buy some wood for the little smoker I picked up a few days ago? Know of any stores nearby that would sell a good type of wood that I can use or a farmer who would sell me some? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Over the last few months I’ve had to cook my ribs on a propane grill (good but not great) and I’m looking forward to making some proper pork ribs.
Let me know if you’re around Zurich sometime and we can grab a beer.
welcome to Switzerland 🙂 I agree: ribs on a propane grill is nothing for purists. But I have been told that if done right, they can be pretty good too. As for the wood: best from a local farmer, but I don’t know one in your area. But you can get good wood from the local Coop Bau+Hobby (https://www.bauundhobby.ch) stores. they sell pretty good firewood too. Just make sure you take Beech (Buche), they have card boxes with 15 kg and/or bags with 30 kg at a reasonable price. The only drawback is that the wood usually is not local, but from Poland. But it is pretty good wood for a smoker. I prefer Beech because the smoking taste is not too heavy, especially for long smoking time. I recommend that you remove the bark because in my feeling the bark smoke is not good for smoking. You can use the bark for starting the fire, but do not use bark afterwards with the meat on.
Happy Smoking 🙂
I’ll be the Embedded Computing Conference (http://www.embeddedcomputingconference.ch) in Winterthur next week, maybe you are there?
Erich, I found a box of the Buche wood at Jumbo for about CHF 10, so not too bad. I’ll try it out for now until I can find a better option.
I won’t be in Winterthur (I’m not in the same field). Although I am a postdoc at ETH doing research on electricity market dispatch models and integration of renewable energy. I’d love to meet up sometime, so definitely let me know if you’re ever around Zurich!
If you don’t mind sending me your email address (mine is j a r e d . b r e t t _at: g m a i l . c o m) so I can possibly ask you a question or two in the future. It’s been awhile since I’ve smoked meet and I’m looking forward to testing out my little smoker!
I hope your Rudy’s BBQ sauce stash is going well! I haven’t found many good sauce options here so I think we might be bringing some back with us from Texas next time we visit.
yes, CHF 10 is not bad (if it is 15 kg). I’ll be in Winterthur the whole day, and travelling thorugh Zurich main station, but won’t have enough time to go up to the ETH. I have sent you my email address (which can be found on the About page of this blog too).
I bought several bottles of Rudy’s sauce, so I’m set for a while 🙂
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