Ok, so it’s no secret that I’m a Char-Broil guy. From their Tru-Infrared grills, to their new Kettleman grill, I feel like Char-Broil is the most innovative company in the domestic grilling market. I was using and loving Char-Broil stuff long before I started partnering with them because their products are second to none and the company is just filled with really great people. And the best part is all the cool stuff I get to try!
So here’s how it works: Char-Broil sends me stuff. I use it. If I like it, I write about it. If not, I give them feedback. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a pretty sweet gig and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about Char-Broil, it’s that they’re always looking for new ways to make cooking easier and more enjoyable. Out of that desire came the Tru-Infrared technology I’m always talking about (hands down the best domestic gas grills available), and they’ve just released a new line of digital smokers that I was able to try out last night. Two words: game, changer.
Now, Char-Broil is not forcing me to say nice things about their smoker, and I think it’s important to make that clear. But I get asked all the time, “What’s an easy smoker I can buy that isn’t crazy expensive?” So I genuinely want to share this smoker with you real quick for those who are interested.
The first thing I love about this smoker is that it’s digital. That means you can turn it on, put the food and wood chips in it and not have to worry about babysitting it all night. For longer cook times (like with pulled pork) you may need to add more wood chips a couple times, but it has a larger chip box than many domestic smokers I’ve seen and will keep smoking for a good 3 hours.
From there, all you do is set the timer and put your prepped food inside. Then go do whatever it is you gotta do and don’t even sweat it. The smoker also has a digital thermometer hooked up to the readout that you can stick in the meat so you can see what temp its at. You can even choose the temperature at which you want the smoker to shut off. Is that sweet or what? This smoker is a total dream for someone looking to try their hand at smoking meats, or just looking for an easier way to manage it.
Now for the die-hard smoking snobs out there who are chuckling to themselves saying, “wood-fired or bust,” I’d just ask that you get over yourself and recognize that it’s 2015. Not everyone is looking to spend the night sleeping next to a giant cast-iron drum, shoveling wood chips into it every hour and constantly messing with flaps to keep the temperature steady. If that’s you’re thing, power to ya but that just isn’t realistic for the rest of us. We wanna make great food and we want it to be easy. And technology helps us do that, so I say bring it on.
RECIPE: Mayo-Rubbed, Cherry Wood Smoked BBQ Ribs
Don’t let the name turn you off. Jules hates mayo, so I just didn’t tell her I used it for these ribs and she devoured them, exclaiming they were the best she’s ever had. When I told her I used mayo for them, her eyes glazed over a bit and she thanked me for not telling her while she was eating, but stood by her declaration that the ribs were off the charts.
Also, I want to make it clear that I don’t make competition-style ribs. I’ve eaten competition-style ribs and, yeah they were really tasty. But they for sure weren’t the best ribs I’ve ever had. Too many BBQ competitions, much like the rest of the food world, are trying to put cooks in a box, telling them their food has to meet certain parameters in order to be worthy of our pallets. Good crap, can we all just lighten up and learn to enjoy food? How boring to just make the same thing over and over. Jules and I have been married for almost 7 years, and there are maybe 6 things I’ve ever made the same way more than once. Let’s mix it up and stop worrying about what might happen if we don’t follow a recipe.
All right, back to it. Here’s what you need:
• Smoker (check)
• Cherry wood chips
• 2 racks of pork ribs (whatever kind you like, spare, st. louis, or even an equal amount of country-style)
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 2 Tbsp kosher salt
• 1/4 cup brown sugar
• 1 Tbsp onion powder
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp ground all spice
• bbq sauce
A lot of rib purists don’t like using coatings on their ribs, except for the rub. But I do like using a little something to help the rub stick, and seeing what different coatings do to the flavor and texture of the ribs is kinda fun. I’ve used hot sauce, mustard, and even ketchup on my ribs, but mayo does it for me because it has a fair amount of oil, but is somewhat neutral in flavor. You honestly don’t taste any mayo in the finished product, but the ribs seem to come out more tender and have a richer color. Love it.
First, turn the smoker to 250, fill the chip box with cherry wood chips (or whatever kind you prefer), and get it preheating. While that’s going on, rinse and pat dry the ribs. Then cut them into pieces maybe 3-4 ribs each and rub them with mayo:
Then mix all the spices together and coat the ribs evenly with the spice mix. Once the smoker is heated, add the ribs in one layer, without stacking, and set the timer for 3 hours. Also fill up the water bowl in the smoker to the max-fill line. I just use regular water, but you can also use apple juice or something.
Once you hit the 2 1/2 hour mark, pop open the smoker and take a look to see if they’re done. When the meat is pulling away from the bones, that’s when you know you’re there. If they aren’t done, put them in for the remaining 30 minutes.
At this point, you could just dive in and eat them, but I like to add a little sauce and hit them with some heat on the grill. Ain’t gonna lie, my sauce is the best I’ve had with ribs, but you can use whatever kind you want.
A picture of me taking a picture of ribs. So artistic, isn’t it?
That’s it. No missing the party while you tend to your diva of a smoker.
So if you’ve been thinking about getting a smoker, I really encourage you to check this one out. Maybe these ribs can even be the first thing you make. Either way, remember you can always get 15% off anything on charbroil.com by using the code B15CLJ. Take care, friends, and I hope you enjoy!
Also, if you like the tips and recipes I share, here’s a friendly reminder to check out my eBooks. I really think you’ll dig ’em.