Thanks to Dyal_SC and for several other reasons, these were the best ribs I've ever turned out. So if you want to learn how I made these-Read on. If you're just here for the food porn, you can scroll down to the pictures which describe the cook.
One of the things that helped get me out of my recent lull, was the thought of making some of my favorite dishes on the grill or smoker. One of those items that was on my shortlist was some SC style ribs with mustard sauce. I'm a mustard-based lifeform and it'd been two years since I've made ribs and even longer since I made some mustard ribs. In a strange, but wonderful twist, Dyal_SC sent me some of his favorite mustard BBQ sauce. He had recently posted about this sauce, in the restaurant it came from in the Best BBQ Joints section of the site. He knew nothing of my plans to make some SC style ribs.
I thought it was going be real easy to come up with the recipe for these SC style ribs. Boy was I wrong! I looked through all my books and online and really didn't find a suitable recipe. Dyal helped me out with some background information on how the sauce is typically used on the ribs and so I decided to use a 3-2-1 style cook. Even though I cook St. Louis style spares, which are much bigger than babybacks, I find that a little over four hours is the maximum time for these ribs, not six hours like 3-2-1 would give you. Plus the foil time is really critical. If the ribs stay in the foil too long, they can easily get over cooked or you end up cutting time off the last step which is where you set your sauce and get your final texture. After doing some research to find the recipe, I saw several recommendations that the ribs stay in the foil no one within 30 minutes. Based on my own experience this made some sense to me and I decided to try it this time around. So I was going to use the 2.5-0.5-1 method. With the cooking method established, I found a rub from Paul Kirk and decided to put it on about four hours early, wrap the ribs in saran wrap and refrigerate them for four hours. When I was lighting the smoker I would pull the ribs out of the fridge and let them come to room temperature for about an hour. When it was time to foil ribs, I planned on using melted butter followed by a slather of Dyals mustard BBQ sauce. Once the ribs were out of the foil, I planned on brushing them with more BBQ sauce. I also gave them a brushing with BBQ sauce when I cut the racks into 3 to 4 bone serving size portions.
To go with these ribs, I planned to serve some Boss Hogs BBQ Baked Beans from America's Best BBQ. These are my favorite smoked and doctored baked beans recipe. If you are interested, here is a link to some pictures from last week when I made a batch of these for Motherâ€™s Day.
I also had some Memphis Mustard Slaw from Ribs, Ribs, Ribs. this slaw was made on Friday and refrigerated overnight.
The End Results:
Now I love mustard, so these ribs had a head start in my book. But I've got to say these were the best ribs I've ever made, bar none. The Paul Kirk rub was very tasty, the ribs were tender, but still had some pull to them and were very moist on the inside. The moist on the inside I attribute to the time in foil. Everybody loved them and said they were the best ribs they ever had, even though most of them hadn't had mustard BBQ sauced ribs before. This was an incredible meal: the best ribs I've managed to make, my favorite baked beans and my favorite coleslaw recipe. A five star meal all the way
Here is the amazing mustard sauce: Shealy's. This sauce and the restaurant that makes it both appear in several of my barbecue cookbooks. It is described as the prototypical SC style mustard sauce and best in class. After trying it I can certainly see why.
The ingredients for the rub are gathered. They consist of paprika, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, celery seed, coriander, garlic powder, marjoram, thyme, sea salt and brown sugar.
The rub before and after mixing.
The 4 slabs of St. Louis style ribs are laid out and it's time to trim off a little of the excess fat on the meat side, then trim off the flap of meat and remove the silver skin from the backside.
Here I'm removing the silverskin. You can see the butter knife I used to help get a start lifting up a corner of the silverskin. Once the skin has been lifted, it's easier to grab it with a paper towel than your fingers. One of the reasons I like St. Louis ribs better than babybacks, is that the silverskin on the St. Louis Rams seems thicker and far easier to remove. I generally am able to pull it up in one piece and all in one operation.
The ribs of been rubbed and they will be wrapped in Saran wrap. Then it's off to the fridge for the next 4 hours.
To smoke these ribs I used some Stubbs all natural hardwood briquettes. Since I figured the mustard sauce would give the ribs a powerful flavor, I felt I needed to use a strong wood. So for me there was no other choice other than hickory.
The Stubbs briquettes are a bit hard to light and they require 3 sheets of newspaper to get the charcoal chimney going.
The Stubbs briquettes also take a rather long time to ash over. I find in the summer it takes about 30 minutes in the winter it takes about 45 minutes for the coals to get grey and ashed over. This is where it pays to know your charcoal. I simply use three sheets of newspaper and allow extra time to get the charcoal going.
Meanwhile it's been four hours and I've taken the ribs out of the refrigerator while the CG is heating up.
The ribs are out of the Saran wrap and onto an SR Ultimate Rib Rack.
The ribs are now on the smoker. I have an hour to make the Boss Hawg's BBQ baked beans. Here the beans are done and are in a foil pan ready to go on the CG.
Here are the ribs one hour along, just before being joined by the baked beans.
Here are the ribs 2 1/2 hours along and ready to come off the CG to get wrapped in foil in the kitchen. Meanwhile the beans just keep sharing some of the smoke.
I applied melted butter to the ribs and then brushed on some of the Shealy's BBQ sauce.
Here are the 4 racks of ribs, which have been sealed in a double layer of aluminum foil and they're back on the rib rack and back on the CG.
After 30 minutes I took the ribs back in the kitchen and unfoiled them. The 30 minute time in foil looked to be perfect. The ribs were juicy but were not overbraised.
The ribs have been rushed with some more of this Shealy's BBQ sauce and are back on the SR rib rack ready to go back out to the CG for one final hour.
Dyal also sent me a T-shirt which he insisted was part of the process of making genuine SC style ribs. I was pretty sure he was conning me, but I didn't want to create bad karma so I wore the T-shirt during the whole cook. Here my wife caught me popping up the lid of the CG to see if the ribs are ready to come off.
An hour after coming out of the aluminum foil, the ribs were indeed ready. The bones were sticking out a quarter of an inch or more. This is like Mother Natures version of a pop-up thermometer.
I cut the ribs into serving sized sections consisting of 3 to 4 bones. The ribs were sauced once more with the Shealy's BBQ sauce.
Time to eat! Here are the South Carolina style ribs, the Boss Hawg's BBQ baked beans and the Memphis Mustard Slaw.
I also had some tasty 8-grain multigrain bread to serve with the ribs.
Dyal must've been right about wearing the T-shirt being part of the process, because these were certainly the best ribs I've ever turned out.
The ribs have a great smoke ring and a nice smoky flavor that paired nicely with the sweet and spicy mustard sauce. And then thereâ€™s mustard and pork... that is just one of thse SPECIAL relationships.
With this picture I'm stealing a page out of Dyal's book. This seems to be a favorite pose for him when he is taking pictures of his rib cooks.