Cooked that rack this evening. I came straight home instead of hitting the office for my expenses, mail, and Nomex uniform drop. I'll do that Tuesday when I stay in town that morning for my OSHA and Site Specific refresher CBT. I had ribs to cook!
I had a brilliant realization this afternoon. Last weekend when I poured the liquid into the foil packet the liquid was at ambient temperature. A lot of energy from the grill's heat had to go into warming up the liquid instead of further cooking the ribs. That is why it took so long to finish them off that way. This time 'round I warmed 7-Up and apple cider on the stove before adding it to the foil packet. I also tried dumping a fair bit of rub into the liquid. Perhaps that would help impart more flavor.
Here is the routine:
-Massaged rub into the ribs and let them sit and warm up for about an hour and a half.
-Placed the rack over the coals membrane side down (again I left the membrane on the ribs for expediency- more on this later) for 6 minutes. Smoke was applied at this point.
-Flipped the rack over and placed the meat side down for 6 minutes.
-I didn't feel like bothering with the rib rack for one rack of ribs so I moved the rack over the water bath to smoke. I only added hickory to the fire a few times during the next 2 and a half hours. Temperature started out high in the first steps 400 to 350 F.
-Maintained at least 250 F for the two and a half hours.
-Wrapped the ribs in the aforementioned foil packet and poured in the warmed braising fluid.
-Stoked the coals to 300 F and let them die down over the next half hour. I also opened the bottom vent to allow more air into the grill to keep the coals burning hotter.
-Temperature in the meat was high the few places I stabbed at it; about 179 F. Way past done.
The ribs had a little more flavor than before, seemed a little sweeter. The meat came more cleanly off the bone. A light brushing of bbq sauce would be plenty enough.
I don't believe I mentioned this earlier, these are baby back pork ribs - not beef.
I may leave the membrane on tomorrow for the competition. I didn't seem to be bothered by it when eating the last few times. Besides, it can be a real pain to remove. Sharp Chef's knife, slippery ribs, stretchy membrane... no fun.
I have to put a little thought into presentation. Leafy lettuce is a given. I'll skip the star fruit this time. I have this idea for using a honeydew. That could be interesting. Sliced honeydew does kinda look like a rib in it's cross-section. The honeydew is easily turned into a vessel for sauce. I may have something. We'll see.
Now I just have to begin organizing coolers, tents, chairs, and the rest of it for tomorrow morning. That will be interesting too. I've got to get up early to get an inspection sticker for the truck and take two cats to the vet for a booster vaccine before going to Hoover's for the contest.