How To Hang On: Slow Smoked Beef Ribs
A thin-blue smoke, patron to the scent of hickory, curled serenely from the pit damper and dissolved into a pastel-gray, Minnesota sky. It is beautiful here today, as I stroll in the back yard, somewhat labored through the deep snows. Like walking on the white sand beaches of Waikiki, but without the hassle of sunburn, and crowds of oil-slathered humans, or sand taking up roost in your nether places. Indeed, here at the pond-side pit, the snow drifts have conspired tall, wrought from a winter ever-lasting, yet business anyhow, and steadfastly, carries on. Like the stately Cardinal, beautiful in his red and black plumage, making the acquaintanceship of the bird feeder, pecking through the safflower seeds there, as it dangles and swings above the pit. Or the tracks of the local rabbit, hopping through the deep snow. I do not know what he finds to eat in a land so harsh and bare, but he does alright I guess, doing what ever it is that rabbits do in the winter months. And then there are the leaves of the sturdy old oak near by, which I have always held an admiration for. Here is leaf that which turns but does not easily fall, clinging on through the winter months, like the last illuminated photons at the tail of a rainbow. A reminder that another season does exist. And that the sun will rise again over fields of green.
I trudged back through the snow to the pit, hands warm in the pockets of my old woolen smoking jacket. I startled up some Black capped chickadees as I rounded the corner onto the patio, where upon I assessed the pit. 250 degrees and holding. A thin smoke gently wafting. It’s ready, I thought. Time to put the ribs on. And speaking of ribs, let me tell you a little more about them, and how they came to be, this lovely winter’s day at the pond-side pit.
Today, a real treat, and one of our very favorites – hickory smoked beef ribs. If you haven’t yet had occasion to enjoy a good beef rib, rest assured it is a veritable no-brainer very much worth your time. They’re real easy to do too. To start, we ripped the membrane off the back side. Beef rib membranes can be tighter than a tick to a hound dog, but persevere and you’ll get it. Then we rinsed the ribs under the tap for to wash clear any bone fragments or the like. Then hit them both sides with some Famous Dave’s Steak and Burger Seasoning. Or you can just use a salt and pepper if you’d like. Or what ever elaborate rub you may have in mind. But if it’s a good cut of beef, simple is often all you need on the matter of seasoning. As usual tho, the pit master has the final say, along with the token first bite to see if he actually knew what he was doing or not. Anyways, that is about it for prep on these ribs. We thus put them on the pit, bone side down, and got along with the all important business of drawing a manly beverage from the ice box and taking up residence someplace cozy.
Two hours passed, and maybe a little more than that, before I made my way out to the pit again, can of Coke in hand, to check in on things. The pit temp held stalwart, like Webers do, the smoke had mostly faded off, and the meat had pulled back a half-inch or so on the bones, which was right on schedule. Thus, and with little fan fare, the ribs were wrapped in aluminum foil, along with a splash of Coke for a steaming agent. Just a tablespoon or two is all that was needed. The rest was for the pit keeper! Foiled ribs and back on the pit, big lid replaced, and I was off again, striking an azimuth for my favorite man chair, remaining beverage in hand. I assumed the proper BBQ posture, and let the next hour or so take its course on me, as I dosed on and off, the Olympics bantering on the big screen, whilst the savory aromas of BBQ beef waft amid the patio environs. Dang people. I love smoking ribs!
About an hour and a half in the foil is all it took. They were done. Once out of the foil, you can sauce it if you please, but we are so smitten with the flavor of beef, we left it just like it was. And it was spectacular. A deep red smoke ring, married with a robust beefy flavor. A touch of garlic from the seasonings. Very nice. And just what we needed up here on the 45th parallel. A little something savory to take the edge off a long, and very keen winter. A statement if you will, to old man winter’s steely grip on the land, that we keepers of the flame will carry on despite. Like the leaves of the old oak tree, we hang but on slight tendrils, quivering, waiting for the rising sun. Amen.
Savory Slow Smoked Beef Ribs over a Hickory/charcoal fire, sided with home-made garlic mashed potatoes, and a lovely vegetable medley for to please the lady folk. Yum is in effect! If this don’t help pass a winter day it’s probably too late!