What I smoked today
This past Sunday was Father’s Day, so it was only fitting (and highly stereotypical) to make a manly feast of meat and potatoes for dinner…. and yes we smoked it on our super cool Traeger smoker!
My own father and step father both reside in AZ, and although I do not have any children of my own I do have 2 amazing Chihuahuas that my husband helps to take great care of (he's a Doggie Daddy), therefore I thought it would be fun to celebrate Father's Day in honor of all the cool Pop’s out there… besides I try to find an excuse to celebrate any and all holidays! So for Father’s Day this year we smoked up some baby back ribs and paired them with a lusciously rich Syrah. Yum!
Now, I’m not gonna lie to you, I am not a huge meat eater. In fact I’ve gone the past 12 years in a pseudo vegetarian state (a very loose form of vegetarianism where I would eat some fish and poultry but never red meat). I have since moved past that phase and have reintroduced meats of all kinds back into my diet (thanks to some amazing meals I have had at some of my favorite restaurants around the globe… including Chef Mavro in Honolulu who I blame for turning me back into a carnivore)! Because of this former fear of meat, I am not used to cooking it… so for this meal, I turned to the master of the grill, Mr. Sean Martin (aka my husband), for the recipe I am about to share with you.
I did, however, make all the sides, and as always the wine selection.
(I actually smoked it on Sunday, but who’s really paying attention?)
Spicy Baby Back Pork Ribs paired with the 2005 Zerba Syrah
Sean’s Smoking Secrets
Warning: Sean is not a trained “chef” so this recipe was basically a concoction that he put together, hence no exact measurements… he also wrote the below recipe (seriously, would I ever use the word "wicked" as an adjective? The answer is no!)
Meat: Baby Back Ribs, 2 racks (approx 5-7 lbs total)
Preparation: Peel the layer of tendon off the bone side of the ribs You can start with a sharp knife to lift it, and then pull with a paper towel. It should all come off to allow the smoke to penetrate the ribs. Google it for more details. Then review the mop recipe below for basting tips while it’s smoking on the grill.
Dry Rub: Used Honey Dijon Mustard on both sides. Then add to each side: salt, pepper, and store bought pre-mixed dry rub (throw together some dried spices or buy one pre-made).
Cover and put it back in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Preheat smoker to 200-225 degrees.
Place the ribs (bone side down) on the smoker.
Cook for two hours at 200-225 degrees. Watching your cover, apply mop every 30 minutes… be sure to quickly apply the mop so you limit how much smoke and heat you lose when you open the cover.
Pull off smoker when temperature on the thickest part of rib is 165, and then wrap in foil for 30 minutes. This will set the juice and keep the ribs nice and tender.
Total cook time will vary based upon size of ribs, but I did two racks at 5 lbs each and it took 5 hours plus the time for it to sit in foil.
Mop: ½ cup water
½ cup white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 tbsp mustard seed oil (olive will work too)
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (this made it wicked hot so try 1 tsp for some minor heat)
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp honey
Mix all the ingredients together and whisk. Apply to the ribs every 30 minutes and re-stir each time. Apply with a brush.
Notes on the meal:
The ribs came out awesome (this coming from the recovering vegetarian). They were tender, rich, smoky and full of flavor! This made A LOT of ribs, but we were able to share with many of our neighbors, and have some for leftovers the next day.
Zerba Cellars is located in Milton-Freewater, OR, just south of Walla Walla, WA.
Retail: I believe it was somewhere around $30.
I took a risk in pairing this wine with the ribs since I sampled the meat first and found that there was a bit of heat to the ribs, yet a rich juicy tenderness to them as well, so I wanted to find something to go with the richness yet hold up to the heat. I bought this wine from the winery about a year ago so I couldn’t really remember exactly how it tasted, but I do remember thinking it was a very rich and fruity Syrah… and a year later it left the same impression!
The wine was rich and had concentrated black fruit, blackberries, dark raspberry, black cherry and vanilla. Along with that it had a slight smokiness, spice, and a hint of bacon fat! Pork ribs w/bacon fat notes to the wine? Sounds like a match made in heaven! The mouth was rich, full, spicy, and fruity and was a winner with the full flavored pork ribs! Dee-lish.