Barbecue with a Helper

Cook Date: August 24, 1019

Last spring I bought a Mak 2 Star pellet grill; it worked very well for me so I sold my Weber kettle charcoal grill and my Weber gas grill figuring the Mak could do it all: low ‘n slow as well as high temp searing and grilling. The new grill is high tech in that it has an electronic controller to maintain temperatures and even automatically change running temperature based on time or temperature reported from a meat probe.

With technology comes problems. On my first low ‘n slow cook of some baby back ribs the temperature ran away and charred my ribs. Some other folks with the latest software also had problems. One of the reasons I bought a Mak was their customer service. I had a weekly call with the the technology manager to report what I found in my additional testing. Mak sent out an update just before we made a quick trip to Chicago in early August – more on that adventure soon. I did a dry run and things looked good. But I knew I wouldn’t be happy – nor would the folks at Mak – until we did some real cooking. I finally got that chance yesterday. I put on two racks of baby backs and ran the same program. It worked great! I’m still learning the grill so I should have started earlier – but that’s not the grills fault.

Early Saturday morning, I stripped the membrane off the bone side of the ribs and sprinkled both sides with some kosher salt for a dry brine.

Baby back ribs with a dry brine

Mid morning I gathered my Assistant Pit Master to make some MeatHead’s Memphis Meat Dust for the rub.

Making Memphis Meat Dust Rub

When finished I had my Assistant Pit Master show off our work.

Assistant Pit Master showing off our work.

We removed the ribs from the refrigerator and fired up the grill. After a bit we applied the rub and put the racks of ribs on an upper rack of the grill.

Racks of ribs on the smoker rack

While the ribs cooked my helper and I watched My Los Angeles Dodgers squeak by the American League team from New York.

As the ribs cooked I taught the primary tenets of barbecue to my assistants. What are the 3 elements of delicious barbecue? Meat, smoke, and time. And “If you’re lookin’ you ain’t cookin”. My program plan was

  • Apply smoke for 30 minutes
  • Cook at 240° for 2 1/2 hours
  • Foil with some apple juice for 30 minutes
  • Remove from foil and cook until firm – about 30 more minutes

As it reached time to foil the ribs weren’t pulling back from the bone as much as I’d like so I continued cooking without foil. Then later foiled for 30 minutes and sauced/firmed/grilled the last 20 minutes. The weren’t fall off the bone which the family likes but they came off with a gentle tug.

Baby back ribs fresh off the grill

I flipped them bone side up and cut into 1 rib pieces

Ribs ready to eat

I liked the smoke ring.

Smoke ring on baby back ribs

Dinner was served. We also had salad and bread but I was in a hurry to taste them.

Dinner is served

The grill update performed fantastically and I was happy with the results. I will give them a little more time to cook next time.

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