Smokin’ Spare Ribs 🍖 (3·2·1 Style)


So, recently I got a smoker attachment for my Char-Griller grill as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried it out today and the results we fantastic. I hit up the Google machine and some non-BBQ-ing Facebook groups for advice, tips, & tricks. (I imagine that they are as intense as guitar groups and I am just not ready yet.) I kept getting advice on the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. There are many variations of that technique. I think it went well. I tracked my progress with the #AiXeLsyDBBQ hashtag. Maybe I’ll do some more next time.

The quick and dirty of this method is…

  1. Get your coals to 225°-ish. (I used a chimney to avoid lighter fluid and it was awesome.) I added some wood chunks in the chimney, and on top once I spread on the coals. I did not soak the wood, but I may next time. Control the temp with your vents. Open a bit warms it up, closed cools it off… all because of airflow.
  2. Remove the silverskin, and put a nice rub on the ribs. I used one from the section of Walmart by all the grilling stuff.
  3. Put the ribs in the grill part if you have an attachment, or not on the heat for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the ribs out, wrap in heavy duty grilling foil, add some apple cider, apple juice, vinegar, pop, or whatever. I added some Straub. Unfortunately I made 2 racks and used the whole bottle, so I drank one myself.
  5. Put them in for 2 hours, smoking really isn’t necessary at this point if your wanna save your chunks or chips.
  6. Pull them out and unwrap them. I should have saved the drippings for the barbecue sauce on the side, but I did not. Shame on me. Do that.
  7. Sauce those ribs up. Liberally. Like, and obscene amount.
  8. Put them back on for 1 hour. (3-2-1… get it? Guys! They said the thing!)
  9. Always check with a thermometer for done-ness. They should be pretty damn done at this point, arguably overdone.
  10. EAT.

I know fall-off-the-bone isn’t competition style. A bone did pull right out of one rack, but the meat was in tact, not falling completely apart. I know the foil wrapping bit is then steaming not smoking… but, rules are made to be broken and a healthy dose of anarchy warms my little punk rock heart.

I would definitely do the ribs like this again. I may try a homemade sauce. This was pretty basic store-brand stuff from Shop ‘n Save with some dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, and Straub American Amber Lager. I may try different chips, or a smoker box, or to soak the wood. I even read some people eschew charcoal in favor of all wood once the fire is going.

I also threw on some baked potatoes, turkey legs, grilled veggies, and sauce on the attached burner.

Can’t wait to try out a turkey, pork loin, brisket, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. Mac n’ cheese? Jalapeño poppers? Meatloaf? Bacon?

What do you do in the smoker? What are your go to foods? Got any tips & tricks worth sharing? Do you click the tongs twice or three times? Before, during, or after?

Any excuse to drink beer and play with fire all day is a good excuse to me. Plus, the family was awed by my hereto unknown skills with smoked meats.

What music are you playing while you’re grilling or smoking?

This is the full adventure as told via Instagram:

Thanks to @RowdyBBQ for the box in the mail today! #BBQ


If you know me, you know I dig BBQ.  You also probably know that Rowdy BBQ is one of my favorite BBQ joints, if not the favorite.  Different moods & days for different BBQ, right?  I could eat from Rowdy BBQ every day.  Health be damned!

This all started last week when I Instagrammed/Tweeted this:

And I got a reply:

Like I said, the pulled pork was absolutely delicious.  But, I’m not gonna turn down free brisket twice.  What am I, crazy?  So, I emailed them.

Today, the mailman left a nifty surprise on our porch:

Rowdy BBQ - Gift Certificate & BBQ Sauce

Rowdy BBQ – Gift Certificate & BBQ Sauce

Rowdy BBQ - Box in the mail!

Rowdy BBQ – Box in the mail!

Rowdy BBQ - Goodies!

Rowdy BBQ – Goodies!

Rowdy BBQ - Business Card

Rowdy BBQ – Business Card

Thanks to “Rowdy the Rooster” & Steve for taking the time to go way beyond simple customer satisfaction!

Speaking of Rowdy…  I hope he’s only temporarily headless?  I noticed that the famous (infamous?) sign only had hands when I was there.

If you’ve never had the BBQ here, I recommend everything.  Ha ha.  Generally I go with the sampler so I get ribs & chicken or a brisket if I have a somewhat slightly smaller appetite.  The Big Pig is also incredible, pulled pork & cheese sauce on a giant bun.  I also like the pierogies.  Mmm.  I’m going to have to use this gift certificate pretty damn soon.

I look forward to using this sauce at home.  Lately I’ve been using the Yuengling Black & Tan Honey Barbecue sauce, but this will be all kinds of delicious.  I can say though that it can’t be nearly the same as when they cook it.

Thanks again, Rowdy BBQ!

Yinzburg makes some tasty BBQ for y’all…


YinzBurgh BBQ on UrbanspoonLast night before the band played a show in Bloomfield, my wife & I stopped with some friends at Yinzburg BBQ on Baum Blvd. in Bloomfield.  Last time I was in that building it was a Roly Poly, and it’s certainly a different place now.

Yelp | Pittsburgh BBQ

Yelp | Pittsburgh BBQ

I’m a huge fan of BBQ and I have been reading great reviews about the place online, so I was very anxious to check it out.  (Also, I’ve been in a BBQ mood lately.)  Of course with the whole shellfish allergy thing, I took a look at the menu online before we went down.  My mouth was watering at all of the delicious prospects.  Thankfully, there is no deathfish present on the menu.  I’ve sadly gone to places before that have had daily specials or menu revamps that aren’t online… so I decided to send them an email.  I was met with a quick, friendly & inviting reply from owner & chef Richard.  His philosophy seems to be summed up in his email signature:

1. Barbecue is a cuisine; Barbecue sauce is a condiment!
2. The sauce is served on the side.
3. The love is in the rub!

When we walked in we were greeted by a woman with a sweet southern accent who asked us if we had ever been there before.  We indicated that we hadn’t & got a lesson in the 4 main & 2 hot barbecue sauces.  I liked the vinegar one & the signature red…  And, I liked that you could get 2 different ones with your meal.  Next time I might get the mustard sauce.

I had the brisket & pulled pork combo with the signature red & vinegar sauces (served on the side, so you can apply or dip however you like), the coleslaw, and a root beer from Natrona.  I tried both meats sans sauce, and they were incredible.  I found myself having a hard time deciding which sauce I liked better with which meat.  The coleslaw was creamy and flavorful.  I also had a sample of my wife’s mac n’ cheese (she got a delicious looking half chicken), and our friends’ collard greens.  The mac n’ cheese was nice & creamy and the collard greens were delicious.  I’ve sadly never had any until now.  We even had a very satisfied vegetarian in our midst who seemed to really like the smoked tofu wrap.  It’s not every day you find a BBQ place that serves vegan and vegetarian items.

There were two 2-seater tables outside, and 2 tables with standing room only inside.  We stood as we dined,negotiating around the mountain of food in front of us.  Halfway through the meal, I was already planning what to order for my next visit.  Next time it’s chicken & ribs… maybe the black eyed peas on the side.  Next time will also be soon!  They asked us to tell our friends… and if you’re reading this… you’re my friend, and you need to go check this place out!

I was so enamored with the food… I forgot to take a photo to upload to UrbanSpoon… oh well, maybe next time!

New BBQ Joints?


Pittsbugh BBQ Co. - Brisket Sandwich

Good BBQ helps to grow healthy sideburns.

Well, you probably know I like barbecue.  I’m a big fan, and I’m always willing to try out new places.  Well, new places that don’t have shrimp or other deathfish on the menu.  I’ve scoped out the web sites three places I haven’t tried… perhaps they’re rather new?  Can anyone tell me if they’ve been to any of these places & what they think?  (Or if they have any stuff on site that’s not listed on the online menu?)

Perhaps, like movie nights, I can organize a Pittsburgh (& surrounding area) BBQ tour?  Would anyone be interested?

I’d like to check out the following BBQ restaurants…

Of course we’d have to hit my favorites… Brentwood Express Rowdy BBQ, Pittsburgh Barbecue Co., & Clem’s Cafe!

Were else are the deathfish-free BBQ joints in in & around the ‘Burgh?

A wing tour has been suggested, but 95% of the places that fry wings also fry deathfish, so I’ll stick with Gooski’s.

A food order for the 22th of December, eh?


Well.  Mr. Simson & Ms. Baker have some competition in the grifter circuit.  Seems all these scam artists really like chicken Caesar products.  I’d still like to know how they got my email & why it’s associated with ordering food.  Mr. Smith would like to throw his hat into the ring:

From: paul jason
Date: Fri, Dec 9, 2011
Subject: mr paul smith food order
To:

Hello how are you doing today my name is paul smith My Mom birthday is coming up on the 22th of december and i will like to place an order for 150 grilled chicken salad in individual pack for the 150 guest, it will be pick up by 3pm on the given date and i will like to inform you that am ready to make the full payment with my credit card today so can i know the total cost for the order plus tax…..get back to me with this following information below.

Restaurant address:
Personal cell number:
Total cost for my order plus tax:
Type of the credit card you accept

Regards
paul

Ah, the 22th of December is indeed a fine day.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Re: mr paul smith food order
To: paul jason

Hello Paul,

What a wonderful son you are!  It’s so nice of you to plan a party for your mom on the 22th.  Which of our locations would you want to pickup from?  Generally, I like to personally deliver to ensure the quality of the food upon delivery.  In fact, I can give 1 free grilled chicken salad in individual pack if I can deliver & hang out at the party.  I can ensure quick delivery too, my van made the Kessel run in under 5 parsecs.

Does the party have a theme?  Have you thought about a Star Wars theme?  I can make excellent TIE-fighter shaped chicken caesar wraps, that I display in front of a giant cheese-ball Death Star.  It really is quite breathtaking.  I have some friends in the 501st Legion that can come out too.  They work for a charitable donation made in their name, we’ll just have to feed them.

The price would be $10 per person, so if you have 150 people, and 5 from the 501st Legion, we’re looking at $1550 total, and $1658.50 with tax.

Have you thought about drinks?  If you’re going with the Star Wars theme, you might want to consider Imperial Stout Trooper or Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier.  I can recommend a good supplier if you don’t have one.

I really hope your mom is a Star Wars fan.  Does she need a date to the party?  These are the grilled chicken caesar TIE-fighter wraps you are looking for.

Regards,
-Waldo Lunar
Owner, Operator, Emperor
OMGWTFBBQ, Inc.

I thought it was time for a departure from the Hawaiian Toga Party theme.  In hindsight, now I really do want a Death Star cheese ball.  Can someone get on that?

Death Star Cheese Ball

No one took the time to make TIE-Fighter crackers?

From: paul Smith <paulsmith5485@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Re: mr paul smith food order
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks for your email,I am very happy to hear from you with the cost of the order plus tax of my order which is $1658.50 for my order and its okay by me and i want the chicken salad so I will prefer them packed in to-go boxes. Mean while i would like you to add an additional $1275 plus the total price of the order so that you can have all that charged on my credit card now. The funds will be wire to the private carrier who will be coming for the pick up of the food in your place in cash via western union money transfer. i would like you to add it all together plus extra $100 Western union charges for wiring the $1275 to the private carrier and let me have the grand total price inclusive of the tax fee and the 3% credit card company charge fee for the transaction all together,so that I can give you my credit card to charge for the total. I will also like to know what type of credit card you accept for payment. i just want to let you know that i am just back from the hospital i was down with a diagnosis of cancer of the lungs as such i had to spend some time in the intensive care. so i cannot go to western union money transfer for now and pay the driver that is why i want you to help me pay them and you will charge my credit card for the total estimation for the food and the Carrier charges,Hope to hear back from you soon with the grand total so i can forward my credit card information and the carrier’s information to wire the cash via western union transfer to them asap.

Final Break Down:
Foods Order :$1658.50
Carrier’s fee: $1275
Western union fee: $100
3% CC company fee: ?

Unfazed, he was all about putting together a price, but not sure to what end… he wanted to give me a total?  Where do I get scammed here?  Does the “oh I’m paying the courier and he’ll pay you” come next?  I really don’t want to take any credit card information, in case the action in itself is illegal.

Gross Death Star Cheese Ball

This one does not look appetizing at all.

I wrote back offering to be more helpful…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Fwd: mr paul smith food order
To: paulsmith5485@yahoo.com

Hello Again Mr. Smith,

May I call you Paul?  I hope your mother is well, have you talked with her about the Star Wars theme?  I hope that your lung cancer treatment has gone well, Paul!  I’m sorry to hear that you were down with the sickness.  Ooh ah ah ah.  (Sorry, I have a form of Tourette’s that only comes out when I type.  It prevents me from using the Backspace or Delete key too.)  Perhaps you can wear a suit like Darth Vader to improve your breathing?  His lungs weren’t cancerous, but burned quite badly.  I believe all of life’s problems can be solved using Star Wars as a guide.

Why don’t you let me make this easy for you, and I’ll deliver to your location, free of charge!  That way, you don’t need to pay a courier, and I can take your card info. upon delivery, it will save you $1300… or give you a higher beer budget!  A true Jedi would carry out the mission himself.  I’ll even knock a dollar of of each head & provide the Death Star cheese ball free of charge.  Do you know if anyone attending has food allergies?  The cheese ball comes two ways – boy (with nuts) or girl (no nuts).

Does your mom like to drink?  I’m a fan of blue milk & several alcoholic beverages.  Sometimes at night when I’m all snuggled up in my Tauntaun sleeping bag, my R2-D2 trash can is my only friend.  Sometimes I sleep with leftover chicken caesar salad in the bag, because Tauntauns apparently smell bad on the inside.  I imagine rotting chicken, mayo, & raw eggs would simulate that smell pretty well.  I’m drinking blue milk now, mixed with some bourbon.  Actually, the blue milk is eggnog with food coloring.  Aldi doesn’t carry blue milk, and they look at me like I’m crazy every time I request it, so I have to make my own.

Can I come to your party?  I really need this.  In fact, I’ve never made a chicken caesar salad in my life.  But, I found a few good recipes on COOKS.com and I’m willing to try.  OMGWTFBBQ is mainly barbecue as the name suggests.  I cook my chicken breasts in a modified Darth Vader toaster so they come out looking awesome.  Our ribs are delicious, they’re Mustafarian style, blackened with smoky seasoning.

Can I ask where you found my email address?  This all has me very excited.  I think I’m really drunk, so I should end this email before I become incoherent.  I really need your business.  Can you send some photos of your mom?  Does she need a date to the party?

May the force be with you, from OMGWTFBBQ to you, happy birthday mom!

-Waldo Lunar
Owner, Operator, Emperor
OMGWTFBBQ, Inc.

No more correspondence.  Apparently Mr. Smith has no patience, or just is the same person as “John” & “Lori” from the last 2 times and was exasperated at the onset.

It's a (mouse)trap!

I Googled "Death Star Cheese Ball" & this came up. |-o-|

Why do these people prey upon us here in the United States?  From the email, I hope English is their second (or 3th) language.  Are we seen as easy targets?  Are we more Gullible?  There’s more of us?  Is there general hatred towards our country?  Do any of these emails ever work?

So, who’s going to start a catering business with me called OMGWTFBBQ?

OMG.WTF?BBQ!

OMG.WTF?BBQ!

More scams abound: Tried scamming me twice this week. (page 2)

Seriously, about the cheese ball…  Someone tell my wife.  My birthday’s coming up.  Let’s go Death Star cheese ball instead of a cake.  I want some TIE-fighter shaped crackers too.  I don’t think she reads thins unless I call her attention to it directly.  Something about “I listen to your insanity all the time in person, you expect me to read it too?” is her (valid) argument on her blog reading stance.

OMG. WTF? BBQ!


My PCP is going to hate this post.

I love barbecue, or BBQ or Bar-B-Q or whatever you want to call it.  This isn’t going to be a blog about what you think the “real” definition of barbecue is (wet/dry, smoke/no smoke, slow & low/fast & hot, sauce/no sauce, charcoal/gas, grill/pit)… the purists all claim to be right, and the term can be applied to the meat (or veggies I guess), the cooking, the spices, the sauce, or the gathering.  If you want to argue/learn about the differences, check out Wikipedia.

Since I’m just a fan of barbecue, not a professional BBQ cook, and live in Pittsburgh not the south*… I won’t take a stand on the issue.  I like all varieties.  (Although, would chipped ham barbecue be “Pittsburgh Style” BBQ?  I’d support that.)

I was inspired to write about BBQ today because I recently had an excellent dinner form the Pittsburgh Barbecue Company.  It reminded me of my three favorite barbecue joints.  I was just wondering what other people thought of them, and what other awesome local BBQ joints might not be on my radar.

Rowdy BBQ

Rowdy BBQ

Rowdy BBQ
Brentwood Express Rowdy BBQ on UrbanspoonTagline: “We think of you when we pull our pork!” – I swear this place used to be called Brentwood Express or have it in the name somewhere…  but now the site’s commercial strictly says “Rowdy BBQ”, so we’ll go with that.

At any rate, this is my favorite barbecue sauce.  I love this stuff!  It’s a sweet yet spicy sauce.  They have a killer menu with all kinds of fun things like “The Big Pig”, “The Whole Hog”, and the “Knuckle Sandwich”.  I usually get the ribs/chicken combo with some fries and eat just enough to make myself almost sick.  The ribs are always cooked perfectly, sometimes the chicken is dry, but not “ooh I can’t eat this” dry.  The fries are awesome, and this is the only place out of my 3 favorites that even has fries.  (They used to have excellent pierogies, but I don’t think they’re on the menu anymore.)  I’ve had the Big Pig & the brisket sandwiches, they are awesome.  I want to try the cheese steaks, but at pulled to the BBQ offerings every time I’m there.  I want to buy the sauce to bring home, but then I won’t have an excuse to go there. The parking lot is chaos, and you’re eating about 5 feet away from the traffic on Rte. 51 when you’re on the one site… but I can never wait to get home to eat, gotta eat it there!  (And, I’d miss the rowdy rooster!)

Check ’em out on the web: Website | Facebook 1 | Facebook 2 | Urbanspoon

Pittsburgh Barbecue Company

Pittsburgh Barbecue Company

Pittsburgh Barbecue Company
Pittsburgh Barbecue Company on UrbanspoonTagline: “That place on Banksville…” – This place is the closest to home for me, and is pretty damn tasty BBQ.  The sauce is a little more tangy than sweet.  I go for the brisket or pulled pork here more often than the ribs… but the ribs & chicken are damn good.  I like their mac n’ cheese.  It’s got a tasty homemade feel.  They have a pretty minimalist menu, but I really like that.  They know what they do, and they do it well.  My wife Bethany loves their baked apples side.  The cornbread is excellent too.  They seem to be a little expensive here, but again, it’s worth it.  You definitely get what you pay for… the meat portions on the sandwiches are huge.

The sauce is nice & peppery.  I get a spicy tingle every time we dine here.  There’s also a nice outside dining area, and although sparse like Rowdy BBQ, you’re not eating amid exhaust like you are on Rte. 51.  It’s got a nice little log cabin/shack feel inside.  They also tout a bunch of “#1’s” on their site, most recent being Pittsburgh Magazine’s “Best in the ‘Burgh 2010”.  This place is no secret, even if it is hiding back off of the main road.

Check ’em out on the web: Website | Facebook | Twitter | UrbanSpoon

Clem's Cafe

Clem's Cafe

Clem’s Cafe
Clem's Cafe (Hardwood Barbecue) on UrbanspoonTagline: “Home of the nice racks, big breasts, juicy thighs, and warm buns! ” – This one is way out there, but really worth the drive.  They have an excellent tangy sauce… I can taste the vinegar in it, but it blends well with the overall flavor.  The best part about Clem’s is that hands down the meat is always falling off the bone on the ribs… and always always juicy with the chicken.  I like the mac & cheese here, and the ability to get the Boylan’s root beer or birch beer.

The dining facilities are great, it’s always a nice place to sit & eat.  They have a concise menu, again not too much, you know exactly why you’re there… for the BBQ!

[I need a YouTube video for these guys!]

Check ’em out on the web: Website | Facebook | UrbanSpoon

Which Pittsburgh (or SWPA) BBQ place is your favorite?  I’d love to do a blind taste-test of all their sauces some time.

There are other places I have in mind that I’d like to try, like The Flame BBQ, Two Brothers Bar-B-Q, & No Bull Bar-B-Q. Anyone been to any of those? Thoughts?

So, where else should I try?  My #1 criteria in finding a cool new BBQ place is that they don’t have shrimp (or any other shellfish) on the menu… like Rib Cage BBQ.  I like the BBQ places because of the limited menu & no chance of cross-contamination.  It’s nice to be able to completely relax at an eating establishment.

I would love to be able to get some turkey at a BBQ place though… either deep-fried & topped with some sauce… or in a pulled-pork style or brisket-style sandwich… or turkey legs.  Man, I love turkey legs.

So, flood me with commentary!

*There are a number of people around here that do indeed think we are a southern state… “Pennsyltucky” and all…