Cut fron the sirloin, or rib end of a pork loin, country-style ribs are big and meaty. They could almost be confused to look like a sliced pork shoulder/butt roast. Since this was my first try at smoking this cut, I was a little nervous about just how long these would take, and if I'd dry them out. I was banking on at least 4 hours of cooking time at 225 degrees. After that, I was guessing.
Wrong. Since Genius here didn't do any tasting of any of the three before combining them, OR before heaping it on the meat, he pretty much set himself for failure in the flavor category. The rub was entirely too salty, which just made the spicy Cajun part of the mix even that much more potent. By the time I knew I needed to balance it out with some sugar, it was too late. I was committed to it now. S0 my only hope in balancing out the savory rub was to hit the ribs during the smoking process with a spritz of 4 parts Apple Juice, one part Jim Beam Bourbon, and one part REAL maple syrup. Then, just pray for the best. This picture above shows the ribs after about an hour of cooking.So with the temperature locked in where I wanted it, and the light, sweet cherrywood smoke rolling, it was simply a game of wait and see. i gave them a spray of the apple jucie-whiskey glaze every hour. After 4 hours of smoke time, I could tell they weren't at the doneness I was looking for (seen here to the right). I decided that I was going to stick with keeping them on the smoker as is, without doing any foil wrapping or steaming, and keeping the temperature where it was, as well. The ribs looked as if they had enough fat and marbling that they wouldn't be dry. After letting them go for another hour and a half, it looked and felt like the meat was tender. The ribs themselves looked incredible, with an amazing, rich burgundy red color to them. Still, I knew that the rub was going to make or break these things. I figured with some sweet BBQ sauce to accompany them, they would still be good.
So, lessons learned: 1) Make your own dry rub. I shuld've known better, but I was in a hurry, so I tried to improvise with what I had on hand. I should know by now to never tkae shortcuts when it comes to making a dry rub. 2) Don't guess on your dry rub, or go by looks. Taste the damn thing. How stupid could you be to NOT taste it before you coat your pig parts?? This particular savory rib rub concoction would have possibly been edible with a light shake coating, not the full-on liberal rub I gave them. 3) Probably should foil wrap these for the last hour or so, or think about beginning to experiment with some sort of steam set-up in the pellet smoker. I think because of the cut of these country-style ribs, and so much cooking area on them, they naturally would have a tendency to dry out, regardless of the fat content.