Wednesday, 5 August 2009

London Ribfest 2009: Backyard Rib BBQ

Earlier this year, the news shocked South Western Ontario that London Ribfest was cancelled. My crew, we were devastated. Ok maybe that's an exaggeration, but Ribfest has been a tradition for many years now. I don't think any of us are huge rib eaters, and this weekend was a great way to indulge.

But we wouldn't let the end of the official event stop us. Almost immediately, we decided we would throw our own Ribfest, each of the boys (that are still in Canada) would make their own and we would feast and feast. Then the official Ribfest was back on, but our dream of a backyard rib BBQ wouldn't die.

There were six of us: 4 having ribs, 1 salmon, 1 vegetarian. Ricky, Brad, LJ, Me, Amanda and Alysia (and technically Starbuck the dog) were going to spend the day slow cooking ribs. Well, LJ & I were extremely late getting to the party, so cooking didn't start until 6:30ish pm. 4 Hours later, we were eating ribs.

Brad & Amanda provided us their backyard. Rick sourced the ribs and bought himself the charcoal BBQ for all of us to use. Acting as pit master, he got the charcoal ready, the pans of water, and the ribs cooking.

With the charcoal we had apple wood (or was it cherry wood?) for effect. The smokey smell was great.

Each of the boys did their own rib rub and sauce with the intentions of us all sampling and sharing. Brad improvised off a Jamie Oliver recipe for oven cooked ribs and herby tones. Rick's ribs were 'what his mother would have done' if she were to make ribs, with an Indian flair. I did 2 racks (one for me and LJ). I did my standard rub with a few secret additions for both, but I made two separate sauces.

Every hour Rick checked the ribs, charcoal and water levels and I added a wet mop to my two racks.

Then, about 4 hours later, the ribs were done. It was time to abandon the rib stand and get them directly on the grill, and sauced. Sauced any earlier than the last half an hour and any sugars in the ribs would burn.

Unfortunately, the heat at the very end got away on us and a few of the ribs got crispy.

BRAD's Ribs: There were lots of flavours going on here from the herbs and sauce. Very earthy. Brad suggested they were meant to be oven baked and roast in its own juices, but I like to deviate from recipes too.

RICK's Ribs: His BBQ & tamarind sauce combo really brought out the Indian/BBQ fusion flavours.

WK's Husker: Just my husker sauce, but the rub had way too much heat. I didn't notice it, but everyone said it was too spicy. I forget about other people's pain receptors.

WK's Zippy Sweet: This was supposed to be like a little bit of heat with a honey sweet sauce. Unfortunately again I think the rub took over and had to much heat spice. I wish I had added more sauce in general to both sets of ribs.

Alysia brought her own marinated salmon. I'm not a fish fan (unless breaded and deep fried) but I think she enjoyed them, and I know Brad was envious of them too.

While we were waiting for our ribs, we began eating some of our sides. First up was grilled corn, served with butter and salt on the side: classic.

Rick also made up some of the above: Jalapenos halved, filled with cheese (or 3 cheeses in Ricky's case, and wrapped in bacon. These turned out waaaaay better than the ones I made last year in the dark. Smokey, spicy, cheesy. What a great combo.

Amanda made up a HUGE batch of coleslaw. Creamy, with apple and sesame seeds. A little twist on another BBQ classic.

She also made two mac & cheese recipes (for everyone, but she is vegetarian, so this was her main course). One was traditional while the other was a hot curry mac. Changing things up, I like that.

Sugar-free corn muffins. Unfortunately, corn muffins need sugar. But they looked delightful.

My plate with a lit bit of each of the bounty. The ribs were tender, and the smokey flavour from the grill was good. Low and slow is the way to go.

Oh and I can't forget Amanda's dessert: 'Ribs'! with 'BBQ sauce'. Or a chocolaty cake with some lady finger cookies as 'bones' and a raspberry sauce. She made this from scratch - awesome inventiveness!

It was a late night, and by the end, everyone was stuffed. So much food, good friends and BBQ are always good. Thanks to everyone for their hard work and contributions.


Teena in Toronto said...

Looks like quite a feast! I'm on my way :)

Chris said...

This brings a happy tear to my eye....sniff. It looks great, even if the fire got a bit outta control at the end.

Ricky said...

1)Apple Wood
2)Poppy Seeds in 'slaw, not Sesame

Yeah, heat did get away from us at the end too excited and hungry! Brad's ribs got the worst of it.

Overall I think the cook went well considering it was my first time doing it. I used Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn's website: as my reference to do the grill setup and cooking.

Lord of the Wings said...

Teena - feast it was!

Chris - it was all good

Ricky - Thanks for the correction. I think you did a great job as pit master.