Spicy Spares

by zydecopaws on July 13, 2009

Around here we like spicy food. And BBQ. Even better when we can combine both. Yesterday was one of those days.

On the menu was spare ribs, St. Louis style. Normally we buy baby back ribs, but I couldn’t resist picking up a large Cryovac package from Costco last time I went on a meat buying spree. And I have to confess that I never actually prepared spares St. Louis style before, as in times past we always bought spares that were smaller and had already been trimmed up somehow.

A little research led me to a nice video over at TVVB on how to prep the spares. Armed with this knowledge I went to work and ended up with a couple of reasonable racks.


Wanting something a bit different, I then whipped up a batch of rub consisting of about 1/4 cup cayenne pepper, 1/4 cup red chili powder, 1/4 cup granulated garlic, and 3 teaspoons of salt. The ribs were then slathered with yellow mustard to help the rub stick and dusted well with the rub. I applied the same treatment to the rib scraps created during the St. Louis trimming process; no point in letting perfectly good meat go to waste.


I let the ribs set while I went out to start the fire. Nothing like a good charcoal chimney shot…


The rib racks I have work better with babyback ribs than they do with spares, so I decided to do a flat cook today and crammed everything on the top grate. I was a bit concerned about air flow for awhile, but once the shrinkage began keeping the temps up wasn’t a problem. The air flow got even better once the small pieces were done and we started experimenting with sauce and glazes…


After about 3 1/2 hours it was time to put on the glaze. I decided not to use the 3:2:1 method today (3 hours on the smoker, 2 hours in foil, 1 hour back on the smoker to sauce and finish) and just get the cooking over with as it had been sprinkling all day. Rain doesn’t stop us from barbecuing around here, but it does affect technique from time to time, especially when I am too lazy to put up a canopy.

Instead of making up a sauce, I went digging around in the pantry for something sweet and settled on some Honey-Blueberry Creme. Kind of a honey-jam combination sort of thing. 30 seconds in the nuclear oven, and it was ready to spread over the ribs. Both sides got the treatment, and cooked for another 15 minutes per side before they were ready to pull. Notice all the scraps that went missing…


Here’s another shot right before cutting. They came out looking pretty good considering this was the first-ever attempt at a St. Louis cut.


They looked even better sliced and ready for the plate.


If you like sweet and spicy food, you would have loved these ribs. The kids spent most of the meal reaching for milk after taking a bite, but kept going back for more. A lot of my friends might have had issues eating these; for those type of folks I would recommend cutting back on the cayenne pepper in the rub. Me? I’m eating the rest of the leftovers for lunch today.

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