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Unique Barbecue Smoker

I won’t be making one of <a title="Coffin BBQ" href=""epic
see more Hacked IRL – Truth in Sarcasm” target=”_blank”>these, but I suppose it’s the best place to cook up a carcass!


What do you do with Vinegar?

There was always a bottle of vinegar in the kitchens I grew up in, both my mother’s and Grandma’s, but I never saw them use it. It just seemed like one of those things you pick up and put in the one dish you cook a year that calls for it, the same as that jar of cranberry has one shot a year of making it onto the table. Missed the window? better luck next Thanksgiving. I did just see a recipe for pickled onions that I’m going to try to work into the rotation, though.

I bought a glass container of Apple Cider Vinegar on request of the landlady, my good buddy’s wife who I’m renting a room from. And it sat on the shelf for a while. Then I realized barbecue requires vinegar.

Brining, or marinading requires an acid solution, and vinegar makes the best I’ve found so far. Vinegar, beer, and salt is all you really need, although I like to add spices because I seldom put a rub on the meat before getting it on the smoker. basil makes a nice subtle addition, and it looks amazing on the meat. Chicken should just be marinaded for an hour or two, I learned from my culinarily educated brother, and pork andĀ beef can go overnight.

Riboff: Best BBQ for Independence Day

Two friends and I recently had a contest for best ribs, a “Riboff” this Fourth of July, and we had wildly different tastes in our ribs.

First up, Jeff, had bought his meat that morning, spare ribs, and put a rub on it for two hours prior to cooking. He was cooking on a gas grill but used cherry wood chips directly above the heat on one side, while his ribs sat on the other two-thirds cooking up slow.

I (Michael “Ike Q.”) opted for my smoker, three-foot tall version of a charcoal grill with two racks, so I could put a water/drip pan to help the meat cook indirectly. I had brined my St. Louis-style spareribs in a beer-vinegar-salt-spices liquid, and set it directly on the rack, no rub, no sauce. I chose Apricot wood and Oak for the smoking, and at the end I coated up one of the spare ribs with my homemade apricot-mustard BBQ sauce.

Oscar (pronounced the Spanish way) was from the Midwest and boiled his to separate the meat from the bone, and then sauced right away, while it cooked in a charcoal grill. He used oven bricks to separate the fire to one side, while the meat took up the rest of the grill, carmelizing in the homemade, sugary, tomato-based Barbeque sauce.

The results were great.

Jeff’s was classic: savory and moist, a little salty but they pulled right off the bone.

My ribs were smoky, no surprise there, and I personally liked them dry, with no sauce, just the smoke. Everyone else liked the sauced ones better, and I have to admit it brought out the apricot flavor and was well balanced.

Oscar had an entirely different product: fall-off-the-bone, super sweet ribs that were cooked very thoroughly. Boiling takes some of the fat content out of the ribs, and it showed: these were the most ready-to-eat ribs, requiring very little picking around the fat and cartilage.

Lacking a formal voting system, we all agreed that there was no way we could decide amongst ourselves who had the best ribs. It was just apples-to-oranges comparisons. Next time, we’ll have exhibit “A”, “B”, and “C” (and maybe more competitors!) and have the crowd vote on the best ribs. God Bless America.