Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Where the Tomatoes Grow: Cherry Smoked Pork Ribs

“The smoker read 140 degrees, and I hadn’t even lit the fires yet.”IMG_80241

It was rather warm in Minnesota today, as day’s go I suppose. Ninety and one degrees they said, with the customary humidity to match. And I know, you folk way of Texas or the like, will do your finest to shed a single tear down your collective cheeks, post rolling your eyes towards the heavens. But hey, we’re bred for polar vortex’s up here, sub-zero wind chills, and days so bitterly cold, icicles form on the tip of our noses, amongst other things. That’s what we’re used to. So pardon thee if we sweat a little here, amid the thick green foliage, and steamy environs of a Minnesota summer.

It’s not all bad tho. There are some redeeming qualities, turns out, to living in a sauna. Such as an increased joy factor in root beer floats and ice-cold watermelons. Man that stuff is good! Also, we do not have to scrape ice off our wind shields in the morning, which is nice. Nor observe the humbling sights of small children with their tongues fused to subzero wrought iron railings. It happens folks. It happens more than you’d care to admit. And then there are the tomatoes. How I fancy taking a seat out at the pit-side garden and watching things grow there, and especially so the tomatoes. Who doesn’t like to gently rattle those plants from time to time, and smell that delightfully earthy, chlorophyll-tinted fragrance of a thriving tomato plant. Few aromas in this world lend more brilliantly to summer’s bliss, than this. It soothes thee amid soft summer breezes. It makes me happy.

Anyways, whilst I was inhaling my produce, the smoker was slowly coming up to the operating temperature of 225 degrees. Which strikingly was only 85 degrees removed from where it sat, “cold” as it were. We super genius types like to put our smokers out in the sun like that, to capitalize on solar manipulations. You Texas folk do that too, I heard, baking cookies in the cab of your truck. Nice. A gesture towards sanity, perhaps. Indeed, this is how you roll with the prevailing weather patterns, or stubborn dance partners if you will, who must always lead.

On the pit today, every smoke wizard’s prize – pork ribs! A pit master’s litmus test. They’re pretty easy to do too. So grab something cold, and pull up seat, and we’ll tell you all about it, and how it went and came to be, patron to the pit.

IMG_20631After a surgical removal of the membrane (read how to do it here), we dusted the rack over heavily in Famous Dave’s Rib Rub, and placed it bone-side down on the pit. For smoke wood today, we used a blend of hickory and cherry wood. Apple works great with pork ribs too, but we didn’t have any of that on hand. If you want to learn more about smoke woods, and what goes with what, don’t forget to check out our smoke wood page we created just for you, at the top of this site. Or just click here.

Once the heavy black dome of the Weber Smokey Mountain was put in place, and the top damper tweaked, I went ahead and assumed the proper BBQ posture – in the man chair, feet propped up, and a cold beverage in hand, thus to while away the enchanted hours there. No sense, after all, putting these important matters off. This is our time! And as you delve into the BBQ arts, you will begin to concur that good BBQ indeed takes a requisite amount of time. It just does. Time in which the pit jockey proper will have to partition off from an otherwise overly, and no doubt busy schedule, for the heady business of watching smoke curl. And mind you, a good rack of ribs can take between 4 to 6 hours at 225 degrees. If you are a hurried soul, BBQ may not be the thing for you. Consult your nearest microwave.


Some where along the line, I forget exactly when, we tossed on a few chicken thighs as a matter of course, to keep the pig company in there. After about three hours on the pit, at 225 degrees, the rib meat had a nice mahogany color to it, and had pulled back on the bones some, poised suitable now for step 2: The foil.

foiled ribs

Also known as the Texas Crutch, we foiled up the ribs with a hearty splash of apple juice to act as a steaming agent. This is where the magic happens, folks. This steaming process really loosens up that toughened meat, rendering the collagen, and escorts your unruly pork by the hand, down the aisle and unto its promising marriage with all that is good and right and savory. Oh yes!


After an hour and a half or so in the foil, I sliced off and sauced a small portion in which to partake in that long-standing custom better known as the pit master privilege. Our moment before the opus, as benefactors of the meat, away form the eyes and mouths of onlookers and meat thieves alike, to bask momentarily, yet with great effect, in the succulent climax of our smokey spoils. It is good, nay it’s the suitable thing to do, to secure the choicest morsel for the pit master. You deserve it after all, what with napping in your chair and such, whilst the warm sunbeams pendulum across a pastel sky. And the breeze which flutters through the Aspen leaves, only to stir your soul, like the tweety birds which sing and flirt in the dapples of the dogwoods. Not to mention the Mallards yonder, and handsome Drakes that which chortle on the pond. Ah summer. These the ambient cast patron to the pit, where the wood smoke rises, and the tomatoes so gently grow. Amen.


Five Hour Cherry Smoked Pork Ribs lightly sauced in Sweet Baby Rays. Man! There may be better ways to spend the afternoon, but right now I can’t think of any.

33 responses

  1. Truly epic ribs 🙂 Cheers Marcus

    Sent from Samsung Mobile on O2

    August 28, 2014 at 8:47 am

  2. That looks amazing!

    August 28, 2014 at 8:55 am

  3. AHMAZING ribs and 91 is really hot for Minnesota.

    August 28, 2014 at 9:13 am

  4. BEAUTIFUL smoke ring!

    August 28, 2014 at 10:36 am

  5. As ever a beautiful post ..

    August 28, 2014 at 11:12 am

  6. Alright already I am salavating as I read how you grilled this meal. We have only grilled once this summer. That has not ever happened in the 30 plus years that my husband the only thing that your afternoon of grilling was missing some good music playing in the back ground. Sweden has also had a heat wave all summer long. It is the hottest summer that I can remember. We have had a lot of rain recently. The warm weather is back the last couple of days. We will have to try out your recipe. Thanks for the inspiration.

    August 28, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    • Warm in Sweden too? Some how I pictured your country as cool as a cucumber. Shows what I know, I guess.

      Good luck on your pending rib smoke!

      Take care,

      August 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      • This heat wave is global warming. We have had a drought. Northren Sweden has had the biggest forrest fire in it’s history this summer. The area covered more than 10 000 football fields. Sweden had to ask for help from two different countries to get fire fighting equipment to put it out. Then the last 3 weeks we have had major flooding in the south of Sweden along the coast.

        I have heard it said by experts that Sweden would turn into a tropical climate from global warming. I thought for brief moment that wouldn’t be bad. I take that back after this summer. I like Swedish climate the way it has always been.

        August 28, 2014 at 1:33 pm

  7. Great job o’ Patrons of the Pit.
    Hmm. A long weekend approaches. What else to do besides fish and swim while the smoker works it’s magic.

    August 28, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    • I sure like how you think, man. May you achieve your fondest goals then, over the extended weekend at hand.

      Bless ya, TJ!

      August 28, 2014 at 2:20 pm

  8. Excellent post as usual!… And those ribs! mmmmmm… Anyone that says foiling is bad..or cheating… has never foiled… I ALWAYS foil now… I have learned (the hard way)… it’s the way to go! What ya got going on the smoker this weekend? I’ll be doing a whole brisket Saturday…:)

    August 28, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    • Very nice. A worthy Saturday project! Lets see, we’re thinking about doing burgers or another rack of ribs this weekend. As I type, however, sirloins thaw whilst the coals mature. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we cook outside the entire Labor Day weekend long. It’s what we do.

      August 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm

  9. laurie27wsmith

    Consult your nearest microwave. Love it. PotP you’ve done it again both in prose and pit. That pork looked great. I can only imagine how you are looking forward to another winter. Our summer will be here before long and we’ll be complaining about the heat, flies, storms and rain. I my even be tempted to drag my BBQ out, unleash something akin to Desert Storm on the RedBack spiders that have taken up residence and throw a couple of snags on the barbie. Food for thought.

    August 29, 2014 at 1:02 am

    • Thank you, Laurie. Well I am rather the odd ball when it comes to winter, in that I do enjoy it. Especially when it snows, which is often the case at this latitude and longitude. So that will be fun. But in truth I am not yet done with this glorious, Minnesota summer. There are motorbike rides to do, and fish to be caught still.

      And yes, I sense you have not BBQ’d much in recent times. Time indeed to torch the the spider condo that which is your grill, and whip up something tasty there for old times sake.

      Take care, Laurie!

      August 29, 2014 at 9:32 am

      • laurie27wsmith

        I actually appreciate winter, probably because I love being by the fire. 🙂 Yes summer is never long enough when it comes to enjoying it. The good thing about where I live one can ride all year round. I had bikes for twenty years and loved them dearly. No, the BBQ sits lost and forlorn and I fear that I’ll need more than a court order to evict those spiders.
        Thanks PotP,

        August 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm

  10. Garlic + Zest

    Sublime! And just in time for Labor Day. I’m the benefactor of having my own Minnesota imported pit master — he’ll be in his man chair with his man beverage this weekend!

    August 29, 2014 at 6:07 am

  11. Enjoy the last days of summer! I hear the winter is not going to be kind (again). We are warmer this week than we have been in a while (around 90). Your ribs will send David into stupor ya know…

    August 29, 2014 at 6:22 am

  12. Oh shit!!!!

    August 30, 2014 at 3:48 pm

  13. boomasbbq

    Great looking ribs!

    August 30, 2014 at 11:54 pm

  14. You always manage to capture the poetry of a good and proper smoking session. Well done, brothers. And Sweet Baby Rays too! A frequent visitor at our pit along with Stubb’s and the occasional homespun version. Thanks for keeping summer alive for just a few more weeks!

    September 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    • Many thanks, Mr. Quincho. Yeah, I cannot deny, Sweet Baby Rays puts out a pretty good product. Stubbs does too, tho I have yet to try out their charcoal. I hear it’s pretty good, too. So much to smoke, so little time.

      Take care at the quincho, good sir!

      September 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

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