A Maine pond.
We normally have a dock opening party earlier in May but we were out of town and so we had it a little late. Also, for my May BBQ day, I cooked a slab of ribs for friends Ron and Nancy and he reported they were the best I’d done. Since I’m a big fan of taste tests, we decided to combine everything and invite some friends over for a rib tasting at the dock as the season opener.
For the test, I cooked four slabs of similar weight, similar aged, from-the-freezer, loin back ribs at 230* for 6 hours. I rotated them within the smoker to provide equal heat and smoke exposure. The four slabs were treated as follows:
Slab 1 – My pork rub then glazed with Tennessee River BBQ sauce (my usual process)
Slab 2 – My pork rub then glazed with Pioneer Woman’s BBQ sauce
Slab 3 – Head Country Championship Seasoning then glazed with Pioneer Woman’s BBQ sauce
Slab 4 – My pork rub then glazed with Gates Classic Original BBQ Sauce
The glaze was brushed on both sides of the slab at the 5½ hour mark, then again to the top side only when removed from the smoker (except Slab 4, which got a single, top side coat of Gates just before slicing, so it had about 1/3 the sauce of the others). They were then wrapped in foil and placed in a cooler until supper time (about an hour and a half).
At serving time, I sliced the slabs into individual ribs so each person could have one of each. I put an A, B, C, D on each plate so the tasters could keep them organized and the plates of ribs were also labeled. I asks them to sample a bite or two from each rib and rank them before proceeding with the rest of the meal. Here is rib plate "A" and my plate.
BBQ Rib Taste Test - 5/11
RATE RIBS 1 - 4 WITH 1 BEING BEST (lowest total is best)
Rib A Rib B Rib C Rib D
TOTAL 33 37 19 21
The winner was the same one I'd cooked for Ron and Nancy on the May BBQ day - I'll pay careful attention to their opinions from now on. Note there was a big difference between the first two and the second two, which surprised me since B & C had the same sauce on them - shows the importance of the rub and sauce working together. Another surprise was that what I'd been cooking, and thought was really good, came in last - even from me. I didn't show the individual results, but friend Joe was the only one who matched up with the final groups rankings - I'd better pay attention to his opinion too.
So I guess I'll be placing an order for the Head Country rub and making a bigger batch of Pioneer Woman's sauce, but with a little more heat.
The remainder of the meal included some very cheesy mac & cheese (a favorite recipe for a crowd), regular and Mexican cornbread, blue cheese slaw (more later on this) and several delicious desserts brought by the guests. Here's a few more shots of food and folks taken by guest photoghapher Laurie.
Zeb's in North Conway, NH, my one puchase was this Redneck Wine Glass which I bought to be able to serve Yankee import friend Laurie - be sure to blow it up.
maple syrup we brought home from New Hampshire.
I've tried to comment to many of your blogs, but for some reason when I have to select and enter Google as my profile, then sign in with Google, then publish my comment, it takes we back to the Google sign in and I'm in a do-loop. Any help appreciated. No problem for those I don't have to select a profile.
All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.
Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.
One year ago: Restaurante Italiano