The All-American backyard barbeque certainly has it’s place in the world of outdoor cooking, but smoking proteins is a science & art as old as time. Although our cavemen forefathers largely hung & smoked meats as a means to preservation, millions of years later – unquestionably, it’s this rustic application of hardwood & fruitwood-infused flavors that pull at the souls of our beings – millennia of genetic conditioning, yearning for the intense aroma & savory tastes of smoked brisket, pork shoulder & primal cuts of well-marbled, finely-sliced medium-rare prime rib – carbonized in low heat & billowing smoke to tender, mouthwatering perfection.
As I’ve travel from one continent to the next, I continue to be entirely intrigued by the various applications of smoke integration in the cooking process. From the finest steakhouses of the Eastern USA, to the roadside smoke shacks of Alabama, Georgia & Texas, to the Imu hickorywood sand pits of the western Pacific Islands, south to the churrascarias of Brazil, & onward to the northern most camping outposts in the far reaches of the mountainous Scandinavian arctic circle – assimilated & indigenous communities alike prizing above all, finely prepared smoked meats.
But, it wasn’t until 1939 in Scotland that the advent of the modern smoker was invented – A device called the Torry Kiln was developed at the Torry Research Station, that would evolve over the last Century into the technologically-advanced, state-of-the-art, high-performance machines we cultivate the finest of meats & produce from today.
In the post below, I will share my insight to one of the most innovative stand-up smokers currently on the market, provide a host of best practices, recommendations & one of my very favorite smoked babyback ribs recipes. Click the videos for a deeper dive, drool upon photos & surely read onward. Cheers! -David
Top10 Favorite Features of the Char-Broil Deluxe Digital Electric Smoker:
- Stainless-steel, insulated, double-wall, air-tight construction – This degree of craftsmanship is absolutely critical to maintaining control of air-flow, smoke, cooking time, & flavor. Also, because of the insulation, heat remains inside the smoking chamber – Young ones & those not watching their way should have limited concern to catching a burn by accidentally touching the exterior of the appliance.
- Weighing only 54 pounds, this stand-up smoker has an incredible internal capacity of 725 square inches, with each of it’s 4 adjustable racks able to hold up to 20lbs of whole turkey, mouthwatering brisket, pork shoulder, or babyback ribs.
- Virtually zero home assembly required. This smoker took 8.5 minutes to remove from it’s packaging, load in resting racks, fill with wood chips & prep prior to plugging into the wall. Now, that’s time efficiency!
- Set it & forget it. Press & play. It’s just that simple. With entirely intuitive controls & digital LED display – Whether this is your first time smoking meats, or you’re a self-proclaimed master of the pits – This smoker is not only tremendously simple to operate, but results are consistent & impressive.
- Electronic heating system + Stainless steel locking latch = Consistency in temperature. With sustainable temperatures ranging between 100F-275F this smoker delivers the low, steady temperatures paramount to achieving desired results. Every time.
- Integrated Wheels & Digital Remote. This bad boy is mobile! And, when you need to be mobile, take the remote with you to continue monitoring your fare. With 100′ radius connectivity – you can unchain from the smoker, roam about & truly be the boss of your backyard barbeque!
- Fill the smoking chamber with 4 cups of wood chips, allowing for up to 7hours of continuous smoking! With most other leading brands of smokers, I feel like a babysitter – consistently worrying about temperature, airflow & smoke levels. And, ain’t nobody got time for that. Load this smoker. Lock it. Set it. Walk away & make the most of your day. Return to remove & devour grub. Simple enough, right?
- Cooking to temperature, not time is the key to producing phenomenal smoked meats. Remove the guesswork. This smoker is fully-integrated with an internal temperature thermometer that can be easily inserted into the slowly cooking protein. Using the digital remote control – track temperature to ensure perfect results are
- Not only is this smoker a crazy steal priced at less than $300, but the people at Char-Broil are offering a 1 year warranty – guaranteeing all parts on this appliance! Enough said.
- Last, but not least – This smoker is just downright sexy. Char-Broil’s innovative design not only delivers an incredibly efficient & effective smoker (see chili-spice, herb-encrusted rib recipe below), but this tall, sleek, stainless-steel, 2-tone finished appliance provides an attractive addition to any backyard patio & the ideal compliment to your TRU-Infrared & Charcoal Grills.
Now. Onto the recipe at hand. Pecanwood-smoked. Chili spice & herb-encrusted. Sweet barbeque glazed. Babyback Pork Ribs. Homemade honey-drizzled & lightly buttered cornbread. Cayenne & brown sugar baked beans. Dry roasted sea salt & vinegar snaking pistachios. Ice cold brown bottles of Kalamazoo craft beer.
Backyard barbeque. Commencing. Stay tuned. Stay hungry. Read Onward. Outtro.
- 2 slabs pork babyback ribs trimmed and membrane removed
- 3-4 cups hardwood chips pre-soaked for 1 hour in water
- Chili-Spiced Babyback Rib Rub:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons ancho chili powder
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoon celery salt
- 2 tablespoons fresh cracked peppercorn
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Apple Cider Spray:
- 1½ cups apple juice
- 1 cup light beer drink remaining beer
Chili-Spiced Babyback Rib Rub Instructions: Pulse the olive oil, all spices and herbs in a food processor to create the rub. Test taste & season additionally as needed. Set aside.
Babyback Rib Smoking - 3-2-1 Method Instructions: Rinse the ribs with cold water, then pat entirely dry with paper towel. Lay the trimmed ribs over a plastic wrap-lined baking sheet, then massage a liberal degree of dry rub across all portions of the slab. Wrap the ribs tightly with underlying plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 6 hours, up to over night. Remove ribs from refrigeration and plastic 1 hour prior to smoking. At least 30 minutes prior to cooking, load the smoker box with wood chips & preheat to 225°F. Remove ribs from plastic & rest bone-side down over smoker racks. Cook low & slow, untouched for 3 hours. Remove the ribs from smoker & lay over tin foil. Pour 1/4 cup of beer + 1/4 cup apple cider in bottom of foil pocket, then wrap ribs tightly & consume remaning beer. Place ribs back in the smoker for 2 hours, untouched. Remove ribs from the smoker one last time. Peel away tin foil, then place ribs back in smoker for 30minutes - 1 hour, at 275F, spraying every 10-12 minutes with Apple Cider-Beer Spray. Remove slabs from grill when juices run clear and the internal temp has reached 180°F (see additional temperature notes below).
Place ribs on a cutting board, rest 10-15 minutes prior to slicing. Serve.
When Purchasing Ribs from the Butcher: Request ribs be trimmed and the tough membrane removed. This will save a tremendous degree of time in preparation, cooking & consumption. No one wants to play tug of war to remove that membrane… and, it’s just as difficult to chew through – Remove it before that rib leaves butcher’s counter.
Worst case, if Membrane Not Removed: Simply lay the ribs, bone-side up, on a cutting board. Create an incision in the membrane by slicing through the tough flap with a sharp knife. Then, with a paper towel in hand, grip the membrane and pull away from the bone – slicing and pulling until it’s entirely removed.
Rib Doneness Guide: There are several tests for ensuring appropriate cooking of ribs, but this is as much an art as it is a science. 1. Ribs meat should not fall off the bone – overcooked. 2. Rib slabs should nearly break when lifted with tongs, not wilt – undercooked. 3. Internal temperature is difficult to measure due to the thinness of the meat, proximity of bones and variances in size from one end of the slab to the other. 4. With a toothpick inserted, juices should run clear and if cut into for a sneak peek, the meat should appear white with no pink remaining. 5. If able to accurately measure internal temp, remove from grill when ribs reach 180°F.