The 3rd Annual Backyard BBQ was on again, and this year we were in full competition mode. Lessons were learned from last year and were were serious about our ribs. 4 ribbers, 4 rib racks, and 4 different sauces. This is going to be good.
We started off morning ceremonies. Ricky had gifts for us all: official competition aprons! The competitors counter clockwise from top left corner: Brad (or B-Rad), Ricky (Uncle Ricky), Amanda (Blank) and me, Wing King.
Two unofficial members were there. Starbuck, and Randy (aka Dude). Actually, Dude is in China, so he was there in Potato form. Randy Potato, its an inside joke. We were keeping an eye on Starbuck because he's the type to eat your chicken wings when your not looking.
Starbuck did delay our rib cooking by knocking over the BBQ moments before were were about to start smoking the ribs. Above is the lighting of the BBQ ceremony before it was knocked over.
Once the BBQ was lit, we began to rub the ribs.
I should have rubbed the ribs the night before, but I didn't. After removing the silver skin on the back I slathered on some ballpark mustard. My rub was a mix of brown sugar, cayenne, pepper, corriander, paprika etc.
Uncle Ricky: Rick's rub was almost a paste that was administered with care. I think it was a little cold and there was some difficulty in application - but the flavour came across.
B-Rad: Brad scored his ribs after removing his silver skin. And look at the neat rub administration!
Amanda: Amanda brined her ribs the night before. Then she applied her rub. Then they went back in the fridge and in the morning they got another rubbing of spice rub. This was going to have to be a good rub because she wasn't doing a sauce . . . and she became very vocal about being anti-sauce.
Rick was our esteemed pit master once again. Here is the grill almost ready, as he consulted his rib notes from the past years.
Now that the ribs have been rubbed for a while and the grill ready, it was time to get those pretty pork selections into the rib holders to be blanketed with some heat.
They look mighty good going on. No really, click the photo and take a closer look. And so began the journey of 6 hours to rib goodness.
Pitmaster Ricky doing a check at the three hour mark. At this point the ribs look good, but you have to keep going. Low and slow. Patience.
And after 6 hours, they were ready. They could have been eaten then and been good, but we still were not done. We still had saucing to do.
Here are Amanda's dry rubbed ribs. No saucing for them!
Next up was B-Rad's sauce. It was goeey and had a yellow/orangey colour.
Uncle Ricky's ribs. It too had a really great, rich colour to them.
My ribs were up next for saucing. I really liked the colour that came out with the sauce - candy red as Rick described it.
The saucing was not without its casualties: brad lost a lot of hairs while saucing.
The ribs rested for a little bit, so in the meantime the rest of dinner needed to be made. Some of our feast included Bacon wrapped jalepeno, fresh from the garden cucumbers, onions and peppers in vinegar, coleslaw, and homemade pickles. Amanda made up some tasty cornbread and baked beans too (can't believe I didn't get a photo of those items!) For dessert in the bottom right corner was a delicious tiramisu Amanda made. Damn we ate well.
Here's Dude in photo form eating a jalapeno. Mmmmmmmm!
All the ribs came out really well. Tender, a little tug off the bone and tasty. And look at that smoke ring!
As mentioned before, she went with a brined rib. Her brine was flavoured with salt and sugar but also Chinese Five Spice. Then she did a Memphis dry rub that was applied to the ribs in the evening, then again in the morning when the rest of us rubbed our ribs. Paprika, sugar, salt, garlic, own garlic powder and onion powder. No sauce. A lot of effort and thought went into these ribs and a lot of kudos to her since she's a vegetarian and doesn't eat ribs!
Did a Carolina style mustard BBQ sauce. French's, sauteed onions in butter, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic/celerys alt sauteed for half an hour. I love that Brad really goes out of his way, making creative sauce that are not traditional, but tasty.
My goal this year was to make a sauce that wasn't spicy. So I went really sugary and what seemed like 100 ingredients. My base started with sauteed onions, garlic and chiptole pepper in adobo sauce. Then brown sugar, molasses, honey, pineapple and lime juice. Add some spices and you have a pretty sweet sauce with just the mildest of heat from the chipotle.
Wanted to go with a sweater sauce. His base started with 40 Creek whisky, apple cider, honey and spices which he used as a mop at the three hour mark. For the sauce he added tomato sauce and jaggery (an Indian unrefined sugar). This sauce had a lot of levels going on from the slight tang of the whisky to the sweetness from the jaggery.
I really enjoyed all the rubs, and picking a winning rib was difficult because each rib brought something to the party. Joining in the feasting was John and Marlene, Brad's parents. Each rib was scored out of 10 and again we were competing for the Targ Cup.
And the 2011 winner was . . .
Me! I was honoured to have had my ribs chosen. I was just happy my ribs were not killer in heat and people could enjoy them. But really, we all won with such a bounty on our table, good friends, and good times. I love ribfest. Now I don't want ribs for a very long time!