Sunday, December 02, 2018

ribs, part 2

Well! Quite a day for discoveries, this was. While I may have ruined this load of ribs by overcooking them and making them dry (the jury's out on that point, but the sample I ate was definitely on the dry side), I discovered that it is possible—through the rub alone and without any BBQ sauce—to create a bark with only a couple hours' baking in the oven. That, friends, is fantastic news if I do try to prep a low-and-slow oven brisket. Brisket isn't brisket without bark, and without bark, there ain't no bite.

I'll be taking the new batch of ribs to the office to be gobbled by coworkers. I think all five of us can make short work of the ribs over lunch and dinner. Here are the ribs after their rubbing:

Here they are after two hours and twenty minutes at the wrong temperature (175°C instead of 125°C). One rack looks a bit like salmon; one rack looks the way it's supposed to look, i.e., with actual bark on it:

All the racks ended up with bark during the final round of cooking, though:

The way it's supposed to work is this: (1) bake the ribs at 125°C for 2 hours, 20 minutes; (2) remove from oven, open tin foil, and drain out the rendered fluid (save for use in other dishes, sauces, etc.); (3) paint on a thin layer of BBQ sauce; (4) cook at 175°C for 15 minutes; (5) remove from oven, repaint with more sauce, and cook 15 minutes at 175°C two more times.

By overcooking the ribs, I got them started on making a bark, probably thanks to the fact that the rub I was using had sugar in it. Luckily, there was caramelization but no smoking: my oven didn't belch fumes, Cthulhu be praised.

It's possible that the bark on the ribs came at the price of dryness, but I need to sample more ribs Monday afternoon to know for sure. What I ate tasted delicious, but it did seem a bit dry. I'll have to give my coworkers a heads-up on that point, although they're normally good sports and will eat pretty much anything I put in front of them.


  1. "Brisket isn't brisket without bark, and without bark, there ain't no bite." Hmph, that dog won't hunt!

    They LOOK great, that's for sure. And actually, your tips on getting a good bark are something I need to incorporate into my rib baking process. I have to go the slow cooker route just to soften them up (I'll take dry over tough anyday) before the oven. I'll try your method next time for getting a good skin on them.

  2. Brisket is still very much brisket without bark, it's just not barbecued brisket. I understand that you are going for the barbecue effect here, but slow-cooked brisket in a nice sauce with some veggies is still a lovely thing.

    At some point, though, HJ and I want to try a sous vide brisket finished under the broiler and see how that works out. Perhaps if you are around you can come by and be our jury.



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