We hadn't used our smoker at all this year and decided the 4th of July would be the perfect day to use it. (ok... really any non-work day that's not raining is a perfect day to use it!)
Jon really wanted to do ribs. We haven't used our smoker very much and have had kind of hit or miss luck with ribs. But I figured why not right?
While we were shopping for baby back ribs, Jon also suggested doing a Beer Can Chicken while we were at it. It takes so long to cook stuff in the smoker, we usually go for maximum capacity. So I grabbed a chicken too!
The rub recipe I use for the ribs is slightly adapted from Alton Brown, but we don't use his method.
8 TBLS light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 TBLS kosher salt
1 TBLS chili powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp onion powder
Ideally we rub this on the ribs the day before. But this time they only had four or five hours before hitting the grill. This is enough for 2 slabs of ribs. If I'm only doing one slab, I'll use the extra on a chicken.
Here's what you need (plus ribs!)
Stir that all together until well combined.
Now to get the ribs ready.
This part is kind of icky! You have to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. If you just grab a corner, it kinda of peels off. But it's slimy and totally sticks to your hand as it comes away from the ribs. Have your guy do this if you can. Mine was still sleeping, so I had to do it.
Yuck... makes me squinchy looking at it!
When the membrane is pulled off of both slabs. Place them on some heavy duty foil.
Then just rub all of the spices into both sides of both slabs.
Then wrap them tightly in foil and refrigerate overnight.
And for the chicken.
I totally spaced on a rub for the chicken. I have almost every herb/spice known to man. Ok... maybe not that many... but I can definitely make a large assortment of rubs without going to store. But I found a Lawry's Chicken Rub in there and decided to just finish that off.
I don't do the chicken ahead of time. I guess it would probably benefit from it, but it's never occurred to me until just now.
You need a can of beer. Most of the beer at my house is bottled. The only canned beer you might find is Dale's Pale Ale. I usually don't want to cook with hoppy beer, so Jon will typically pick up something cheap. In this case Budweiser. Don't get the tall ones. They gave him tall cans and it just barely fit in the smoker. But you can use whatever beer you like. You'll need to empty some of the beer from the can. Jon always helps with this part.
I have a stand that's made for beer can chicken. Put the can in it.
Then I add some of the rub and some herbs (I used rosemary & thyme) to the can with the remaining beer.
Now it's time to put the chicken on the beer can.
There's a big bowl that sits in the bottom of the smoker to keep everything nice and moist. I wasn't really watching while Jon filled it, but I think he put in a couple liters of apple juice, some white wine, maybe some beer, probably some kind of vinegar and whatever herbs were growing next to the smoker (that's where our herb garden lives) I'd guess that pan holds somewhere between half a gallon and a gallon of liquid.
Now to start putting the smoker together.
First the chicken, since it's going on the bottom level.
There is a probe thermometer stuck in it.
Here's the little smoker window view.
Top level... ribs...
The slabs are too long to fit flat on the grill, so I cut them in half and stand them up in a rack.
I don't want to waste all of those spicy juices in the foil... so I just pour them into the smoker... they'll land in the bowl at the bottom.
So Jon always starts the coals. I have a very hard time with that. It takes 3 chimneys. We only have two, so we start with that and just add one.
Hickory wood chips that have been soaking in water.
When the 3rd chimney is ready to go, we just lift off the top and pour more coals in.
Now the main part gets put on top of the coal part.
And cover it up.
Unfortunately my smoker's temperature gauge doesn't have temperatures, so we keep it in the "ideal" range on gauge.
But now you have 3 or 4 hours.
So about 3.5 hours later... the temperature probe on the chicken reads 165F. Chicken's done! Hopefully the ribs are too.
So we opened it up.
Another window view.
As it turned out the ribs were done too!
Time to eat!
Mmmmm.... moist smokey delicious meat!!!
So that's how we spent our 4th of July. Smoking meat!
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