Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Apple Wood Spare Ribs

It’s been a very long time since I’ve felt the sun. Or sat comfortably, and contentedly, in its golden rays.  Up here in Minnesota, the winter can stretch eternal, spanning half a year if it has a mind to. And this year at least, it has a mind to indeed.  But this last Sunday was at once an anomaly, and an idealistic respite from winter’s grip,  as the sunlight astutely flooded my patio with warm, life-giving thermal units.  It must have been 30 degrees out there, which I know doesn’t sound like much to you Florida people, but trust me, to a Minnesotan in March, that is a veritable heat wave worthy of your very finest swim wear. Of course, and understandably so, I was out there, jacket-less,  smoker puffing away, repairing in my Adirondack chair, just soaking up the sun. And it felt wonderful. Besides that, it was my beloved bride’s birthday then, and she wanted ribs.  Thus, it was my privilege, as it would be any man’s, to tarry in the sun a trifle, postulate the drifting clouds and the rabbit tracks in the snow,  whilst smoking some savory meats over a beautiful bed of coals. It is no hardship at all.


In the big WSM, over a smoldering fire of apple wood, I placed with great care three near perfectly seasoned racks of pork spare ribs. These racks were first sprinkled with a light measure of brown sugar, and rubbed down like a life time member in a fine spa, smearing it all about. Then I let it rest a tad, just until the brown sugar began to liquefy. This created a decently sticky, tactile surface, in which to receive the rub. The rub today, Grill Mates Applewood Rub,  is a long time favorite of my fellow patron who co- hosts this blog, of which I dutifully applied in liberal fashion over the entirety of the ribs. To finish off the pork canvas, I sprinkled another light layer of brown sugar over the top of the rub, which when liquefied,  would seal in the rub, thus locking into the tighter flavor profile of which I was after. Man!

During the next three hours, I naturally took up periodic residence in a gamut of my favorite easy chairs, whilst watching out of the corner of my eye, the apple wood smoke quietly curl from the cooker. I don’t know what it is exactly, about a smoking pit, and meats quietly cooking there, but it stirs me. It cultivates a great contentment in me, and for a while at least, I am in need of little else. And as I repaired on the couch with my favorite father in-law, our feet propped up, lovely beverages in hand, I declared that this was indeed the high rigors of BBQ, but more over, that we were undoubtedly up to the task at hand. We raised our beverages with the rising smoke, saluting the BBQ arts, and then I think father in-law may have even nodded off a bit. Bless him and his true BBQ posture!


At about hour three, I foiled the ribs with a generous splattering of apple juice. At about hour four, I lit up yet another grill for the chicken leg quarters, of which I have grown fond of in recent years. Nothing is quite so stroking to your pit master ego as running dual cookers out on the patio. Smoke bellowing in stereo from multiple fronts, the smells and aromas surround you. Engulf you, and then enchant you. And for a while at least, you are in your glory. Tongs in hand, you are the supreme governor of your smokey kingdom. Or the conductor of a BBQ symphony. I could have I suppose thrown the chicken legs on the smoker too, and been an efficient person, but I was after a crisper skin than one can get in a smoker. Plus I liked the idea of having two grills going. It made me happy. So I rubbed the chicken down with some Louisiana Grill Sweet Heat, and seared them up over direct heat, then tucked them back in-direct for an hour maybe, bathed in light hickory smoke.  At hour 5, I took the ribs out of the foil, and put em back on the smoker, and basted them good with some Sweet Baby Rays elegantly thinned with a splash of apple juice. Oh buddy!


When dinner was served, we had some savory spare ribs where the smoke ring plum near reached the bone. The brown sugar caramelized some, mingling with the slight kick of the Apple Wood Rub and the BBQ sauce, whilst lightly tinted with the aromas of apple wood smoke. It was a symphony in meat alright. An opus of ribs. And the chicken was spot on its juiciest ideal.

Apple wood spare ribs and chicken. You could eat allot worse I suppose, but not have nearly so much fun. Amen.

52 responses

  1. daveldman

    Do you add apple wood to charcoal, or is it a pure apple fire?

    March 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

    • In this case, it was a few chunks of apple wood on top of a bed of charcoal. The real thing would have been more poetic, but this method works just fine, and gives you a predictable burn you’re used to.

      March 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

  2. Ooooh man. Those look good. Sounds like a good way to spend a day.

    March 6, 2013 at 10:39 am

  3. I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award details here

    March 6, 2013 at 11:24 am

  4. Liz

    those ribs look amazing! what a lovely read. And yes, as a fellow Minnesotan I, too, feel that 30F is balmy and no-jacket-needed weather. (at least in March–if it turned that cold in Oct, we’d be bundling up.) Grill on!

    March 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

    • Haha, thanks. You are spot on in your observations. Weird how the body works. Last Sunday was just beautiful I thought. Thanks for checking in!

      March 6, 2013 at 11:34 am

  5. I remember playing catch with the football beside our house in Burnsville, MN in March. As long as the sun was shining and there was a patch of grass or packed down snow the boys would have me out there in shirt sleeves in 30 degree weather. Now we wear a light jacket if it dips to mid sixties here in Ecuador.

    No matter where one is, ribs like the ones you have produced would make any day beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

    March 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    • Thanks John!

      Yes, your tropical lifestyle has made you soft! That’s OK tho, as you probably tolerate the heat much better than you used to too. It all balances out I reckon.

      March 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm

  6. Nice one fellas, looks like a winner. Hey have you read Mike Mills’ book “Peace Love and BBQ” ? He’s Mr Apple City.

    March 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm

  7. Queen Bee

    I think I love you…..;)

    March 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm

  8. Awesome looking ribs. In the spirit of your blog, I was inspired to grill last week. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    March 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm

  9. Oh, yummo!!

    March 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

    • Yes, it was favorable to the palate. That is if you like ribs I guess.

      March 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

  10. Adam

    Going to enjoy reading your posts. Totally agree in your comment elsewhere that there is no such thing as unsuitable weather for bbq-ing. Like some smart chap said ‘there is just the wrong clothing’. The meat don’t mind what you’re wearing! Good work, fellas.

    March 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm

  11. These are the times I wish that I had a house so I could have a BBQ! 😦

    March 7, 2013 at 3:42 pm

  12. I was positively drooling whilst reading your post. I’m tempted to cut down an apple tree from the orchard just to supply the kindling!

    March 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    • It’s OK to cut down an apple tree sometimes, if you don’t lie about it. Go for it!

      March 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

  13. Haha, I think it might be missed! I’ll just have to continue envying you!

    March 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm

  14. Passing this on to my brother….the one with the apple orchard. Thanks!

    March 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm

  15. BIG fan of your work gentlemen … living in the Great Canadian North … I feel your frigid pain. Fear not … the days are getting longer, the Summer cometh. Fan the flame lads … staying hungry, your faithful follower.

    March 8, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    • Haha, thank you sir. Yes, I went out to the grill today and saw my shadow there. I’m going to take that as a good sign!

      March 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm

  16. Pingback: News from around the BBQ Blogsphere | The Arrogant Swine

  17. Cooking with wood is like a little slice of heaven. I recall dad teaching me how to dry smoke mullet, on the “half shell”. (Fillets with the skin and scales, fireside down.) His wood of choice was orange tree cuttings. Wonderful! Thank you for jogging a memory.

    March 10, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    • Sounds amazing. TJ. Man, smoking with orange tree wood, shoot, not allot of folk get to do that.

      Our privilege to jog a memory. It’s good when it works like that. Jog some more!

      March 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm

  18. yourothermotherhere

    Oh they must have been absolutely delicious! It’s almost impossible around here to find someone who knows how to fix ribs. I remember once we went to get a rack of ribs at a place we heard about and when they brought them to the table I could’ve cried. All they did was bake them and then smear some sauce on top before sending them to the table.

    March 10, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    • That just ain’t right!

      March 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      • yourothermotherhere

        Nope, it sure isn’t. I read about your ribs and I swear I can smell them and that first bite – oh pure heaven! Your family is very, very fortunate!

        March 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm

  19. Must try these!

    March 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

  20. nothing like a good barbecue done right. can’t wait to try some of your recipes.
    and, thanks for the like on my site, The National Harold-Gazette.

    March 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

  21. Hey there! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’m so glad you did as I love yours! It’s so infectious to read your joyous, enthusiasm. I will have to get my husband to subscribe as he is master of the BBQ domain in our home and I’d love him to try the ribs sometime. I get the same joy cooking in my kitchen, listening to jazz and experimenting with beautiful fresh produce. Life is good!

    March 12, 2013 at 12:55 am

    • Outstanding, what a cool comment. Thank you! Yes, the kitchen has all the same joys, except you’re not outside is all. Send your husband over here, we will welcome him with a plate of meat!

      March 12, 2013 at 9:22 am

  22. grizyeti

    The twin smokeys sound incredble. I envy your dayh well spent, and the flavor rush you got to enjoy.
    This made my mouth water, I swear since I found you patrons, I am eating much better and having more fun with food.
    Wonderful, thank you.

    March 12, 2013 at 6:22 am

    • Well if you start gaining weight, just so you know, we had nothing to do with that!

      March 12, 2013 at 9:24 am

      • grizyeti

        Ha!! Too funny, I hope I do gain weight, eating like this

        March 12, 2013 at 9:32 am

      • Nice. Good luck on your potatoes tonight.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:34 am

  23. Pingback: Apple Wood Spare Ribs « LexaLovesFUNFASHIONFOOD

  24. Hey this looks great guys. My wife and I enjoy spare ribs. There’s a place in town called “Good Wood”, maybe you know it or not. On your next travels when there’s one close by try it out. Great smoked meat, yummy!!

    Thanks for viewing my blog , Savor the Food, recently. I always appreciate your comments and readership.

    Chef Randall

    March 13, 2013 at 10:40 am

  25. I’m definitely passing this on to my honey – the smoker. I’m just the eater and side-disher. In addition to the yummy recipe, I enjoyed your writing and sense of humor.

    March 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm

  26. Pit

    Oh how mouthwatering and fingerlicking yummy!

    April 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm

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