Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Anything Worth Doing: Pecan Smoked Back Ribs

The north wind whispered among the fields and streams, and along the water’s edge down by the pond. With mallards quietly afloat there, watching as I was, the tiny white flakes of snow begin to twirl down from an ashen-gray sky. It was fairly cool out still, for the first day of spring, FullSizeRender (2)cool enough that is, to heighten the simple pleasures found in close bandy to a beautiful chimney of coals. One of which I had one going just then, as a matter of fact, with my hands hovering over the flames. I tossed a small piece of pecan wood into the chimney, and watched silently as it took flame.

I have always enjoyed the lighting of the coals. The process of it. The initial pungent blast of sulfur from a match, the first plumes of wood smoke curling aloft, and of course, the sweet time it takes to do such things, inherent to wood fired cooking. Oh yes indeed, there is a veritable gamut of quicker ways to procure supper for your self, this we know, from: the venerable stove top, to the drive through window of a fast food place, or hark, even behind the spattered plastic door of your personal microwave oven. Yuck. But it all works I guess. It all gets you there. Let it be said tho, because it is true, nothing so raises the bar of edible succulence, quite like a lovely rack of pork ribs riding the low and slow train all the afternoon long.

Cooking with wood and charcoal is at once an exercise in patience. Many folk have not the muster to do this anymore, or even want to do it, it seems,  courtesy perhaps of our on-demand society. We are contented in large part, with what we can get quickly, and have forgotten at times, the pleasure of the wait. That’s what I love about BBQ proper. The essence of it, right down to its smokey core, is something of jaunt on the scenic path. It makes you wait for it. You have to respect the journey. And it is within the time span of this enforced leisure where the magic keenly unfolds. Lets take a peak under the lid, and I’ll tell you a little more about it, and what we have going on for supper at the pit today.

Baby Backs sizzling in a shroud of pecan smoke

Baby backs sizzling in a shroud of pecan smoke. Oh man!


Oh sweet rendering collagen, how I darling thee! You work best at your own speed, and no one can tell you otherwise. Indeed, one should not rush the natural processes of rendering pork. It is a snail’s progression in Pig Picasso,  right before our eyes. Just let it go,  people, low and slow, and do your very best to just stay out-of-the-way. They say every time you lift the lid on your smoker that you add maybe 20 more minutes to the cook. And I suppose it’s true. But I had to show you, you see,  if not for to glimpse the savory baby backs, but I suppose also to add 20 more wonderful minutes to my cook. Oh yes, I like the sound of that. It is well with my soul. For here is an activity of which I sincerely do love, to tarry pit side neath wild skies and darting tweety birds, just watching the wood smoke spiral and world gently spin round and round. I could do this for the better part of the day. And I do mean the better part. So why then would any misguided soul seek to hurry through it. Never!


I fancy the process of BBQ. And I like that it takes a long time. Because I suppose it gives me an excuse to loiter in my man chair and do nothing at all. It is a common secret among men, you see, and the women seem to let us get away with it, that we are hard at work out here manning our pits! That wood smoke would not curl right without our wise and manly influence. Nor would the protein cook proper like with out our steadfast sorties to the refrigerator for something cold to drink. Indeed, it is simply a man’s duty to tarry by his puffing pit and assure quality control there. And for some reason the women accept this, and the men are just wise enough not to fight it. Blessed be the pit jockey, in fact, who’s pork butt spans half the day, and the evening shadows grow long before his feet. The longer BBQ takes, the more content we are.

I reckon I ought to digress for the moment’s sake, and tell you a bit about the ribs, since your here and all. Easy enough. Firstly, we whipped up a homemade dry rub consisting roughly of what ever we had lying around, which included the following:

Basic Dry Rub of Whatever We Had Lying Around

  • Brown sugar
  • Smoked paprika
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Ground mustard
  • Cayenne pepper

*Amounts are left up to the pit master’s instincts. 

After the membrane was removed, we thus slathered the rack in Worcestershire sauce, and promptly patted the spice rub all over, to and fro, and tip to tip. Whilst we were getting friendly with the ribs, the Weber Smokey Mountain was coming up to speed, to 251 degrees,  with a good charcoal/pecan fire burning in its steel bowl. After a suitable pause to slurp the top off a manly beverage, we placed the rack bone-side down on the pit grate for to come to edible maturity there, amid the softly rising plumes of pecan smoke. Glory!


And now is when we wait for it. A pit keeper’s pleasure, if you will. And darn near our highest privilege in the smokey realm. Time to settle in somewhere fair, splay our feet upon gentle inclines, and relish for once the noble feeling of not being in a rush. To let up on the accelerator pedal of life, and just be… To commune with the aromas of perfectly executed pork, that which we usher by the hand unto the enchanted land of succulence.

In closing, I am reminded of the late Colin Fletcher, of backpacking immortality, who once coined, and brilliantly so, “Anything that is worth doing, is worth doing slowly”.  

So it is, Mr. Fletcher. And so it is with BBQ also. Amen.


Pecan Smoked Back Ribs with a smoke ring to touch the center of the earth. Varnished in sauce, tinted with honey, sided with smoked baked beans and home-made tater salad. Man oh sweet buddy. Get your bibs on people! This is BBQ at it’s best. This is what you can do when you’re not in a hurry.

30 responses

  1. David has yet to use any pecan wood……..

    March 26, 2015 at 11:38 am

    • It’s quite good. And kind of hard to find, least around here. I got a bag of it at Gander Mountain. Not sure if you have those stores out there. But I’m sure you could order some off Amazon tho. You can get anything there, as you know.

      Thanks Debbie!

      March 26, 2015 at 2:01 pm

      • Oh yes, we have Gander Mountain stores here in VA. Shhhh! It will wake David’s inner outdoors man (gun,bow,hunt,fish, repeat). 🙂

        March 26, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      • Haha, yes we don’t want to awaken the beast just yet. Copy that!

        March 26, 2015 at 2:05 pm

      • 😉

        March 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

  2. I love it! While I was reading this I was surrounded by the pleasant aroma of hickory smoke slowly seasoning five or six pounds of turkey pieces on our barbecue some four of five thousand miles south of you!

    Smoke is smoke in any language and any latitude! Life is good!

    March 26, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    • Sounds fantastic, John. Good to hear you’re kicking back a little, and that your wood smoke rises as you read this. No more flattering a comment on a BBQ blog…I love it too!

      Many thanks, have a good one!

      March 26, 2015 at 1:58 pm

  3. An outstanding read PotP. You brought a tear to my eye. Or perhaps it was the pecan smoke? Either way, I can taste those ribs from here…

    March 26, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    • Thanks Bill. Many thanks indeed. I tell you, the more I smoke with pecan wood, the more I like it. It’s really a great, all-around wood. It’s edging into my top favorites, iffin it ain’t there already.

      March 26, 2015 at 2:07 pm

  4. I have never used pecan wood, I love pecans and can imagine how wonderful the smell and flavor is. Those ribs look incredible.

    March 26, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    • Thank ya kindly. I love pecans too. The whole tree is good I guess. Who am I kidding, I just like to eat. But it is good. You’ll have to find yourself some for your grill some day. Great cooking wood.

      March 26, 2015 at 9:26 pm

  5. DUDE!

    March 26, 2015 at 9:13 pm

  6. Great post. Thanks for the delicious words. My grilling season begins in one week. I shall spend the coming weekend getting my grilling gear tuned up and ready for the first rack of spare ribs. Can’t wait!

    March 26, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    • Outstanding, and thanks. About time you get back in the game! Man must Q. It’s just how it is. Looking forwards to some bbq posts of yours.

      Carry on mate!

      March 26, 2015 at 9:22 pm

  7. Ron Duke

    G’day Patrons
    Many thanks for the delicious word. As you head into the finer part of the year we are just starting to feel a bit nippy around the edges. The only thing that stops us from a low and slow is the rain (I haven’t finished the new BBQ area as yet). Thanks again for the inspiration.

    43 South

    March 26, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    • Sounds good, Ron. Thanks for chiming in. Good to hear from you! Yeah your winter is approaching isn’t it. Hope you’re able to seize some good bbq weather whilst you can.

      Take care, Ron!

      March 26, 2015 at 10:57 pm

  8. laurie27wsmith

    Once again an epic lead up to a wonderful meal. You blokes rock!

    March 27, 2015 at 2:32 am

    • Many thanks , Laurie. Appreciate that!

      March 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      • laurie27wsmith

        You blokes are always welcome!

        March 29, 2015 at 4:59 pm

  9. GORGEOUS smoke ring, a veritable Picasso in pork if you will. Poor little man could only work with brushes and canvases. Unlike the the pit artesian who can appeal to the senses of sight, smell, feel, and taste. Poor little Picasso could only appeal to sight.

    March 29, 2015 at 6:26 am

    • Thanks Mr Dodd. And astutely put- Picasso in pork indeed! Edible art has a lot going for it I reckon. Anyway, yup them was some tasty ribs for sure.

      March 29, 2015 at 1:35 pm

  10. Thanks for helping me get through the work day! I used to have a couple of pecan trees in my backyard. They are notorious for CONSTANTLY dropping limbs. I had a nice supply.

    A nice looking cook…beautiful ribs.

    March 31, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    • Thanks David! What ever we can do to help pass the day. Oh to have a person pecan tree on one’s yard. That would be sweet!

      March 31, 2015 at 3:08 pm

  11. Pingback: Patrons of the Pit Inspired Pecan Smoked Spare Ribs | Grilling Fanatic

  12. This looks amazing! You’re such a talented writer, I can almost taste those ribs.

    April 3, 2015 at 8:46 am

  13. Liz

    oh yum. Good thoughts on slowing down. Always will cheer for ribs! You are good to not always be in a hurry.

    April 6, 2015 at 9:18 am

    • Hey thanks Liz. Yeah life seems to go by quick enough, that its kind of sad to rush through it on purpose. It is OK to not be in a hurry. Anyways, happy and belated Easter, Liz. Hope it was a good one!

      April 6, 2015 at 7:13 pm

  14. Reblogged this on supersummerfood and commented:
    I could eat nothing but these ribs for the rest of my life!

    April 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm

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