Well today I decided to do 3 racks of pork ribs with 3 different rubs. While similar, they are different. One note that I will make is that each of the rubs needed more salt. So later when I post the recipes I will post as the original recipe called for and put my adjustments in parentheses.
First each rack was trimmed a bit and the membrane removed off the back. Then I doused them in apple juice prior to applying the rub(s). I decided to put them in my smoker using apple wood chips (soaked for at least 45 minutes in warm water). The water tray in the smoker was a mixture of 50/50 apple juice and water.
**Note - I have done ribs before in my smoker and I must mention that there is a difference when you apply the rub the night before and thoroughly rub it into the meat, cover and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.
They were cooked between 225-245 degrees for 7 hours. I think I should have pulled them at 5 hours and 30 minutes and let them rest for 45 minutes rather than cook longer. The flavors were wonderful but the outside ribs, I feel, were a bit dry.
Rubs number 1 and 2 were enough to cover one full rack of ribs (about 14 ribs in a rack). Rib number 3 would have been enough to cover all 3 racks so adjust accordingly. I personally do not mind making bigger batches and saving them in airtight containers for future use. (Canning jars are perfect for this purpose)
Rub # 1
2 Tbs. Cumin
1 Tbs. Chile Powder
1 Tbs. Dry Mustard
½ tsp Kosher Salt (I would adjust to 1-2 tsp)
1 ½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 ½ tsp Ground Cardamom
1 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
Rub # 2
1 cup Sugar
4 Tbs. Celery Seed
4 Tbs. Garlic Powder
4 Tbs. Onion Powder
5 ¼ Tbs. Chili Powder
5 ¼ Tbs. Black Pepper
5 ¼ Tbs. Paprika
1 Tsp Salt (I would adjust to 1 Tbl.)
Rub # 3
2 Tbs. Paprika
2 Tbs. Onion Powder
2 Tbs. Sugar
2 tsp Celery Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
½ tsp Cayenne, OPTIONAL if you want Spicy Ribs (This was omitted for this taste test)
(This recipe did not call for salt probably because of the celery salt. However I would add 1 tsp of salt along with the celery salt)
Rub # 1 has unique flavors due to the cardamon and cinnamon. While rub # 2 and 3 are similar # 2 has chili power while # 3 does not. Also # 2 uses celery seed, were as # 3 uses celery salt. # 2 has more black pepper than # 3 does as well.
When the ribs were pulled I allowed them to rest for 15 minutes. We each did a smell only test. No tasting yet. They were labeled on the bottom of each tray. Based on smell alone Derek chose in order - Rub # 3 as his favorite followed by #2 then # 1. I, on the other hand, chose #3, 1, 2.
Then came the taste test. I cut small chunks off and got out 6 plates, three for him and 3 for me. I put notes on the bottom indicating which rib they were. I gave him 3 plates in no particular order and asked him to rate them by taste alone. He also did the same for me.
Now as you recall based on smell only he chose 3, 2,1. However based on taste he chose 2, 1, 3. For smell I chose 3, 1, 2 and based on taste I picked 3, 2,1 which is what Derek picked on smell. What does all this mean? Not much on such a small scale, however, the nose does not always dictate the palate.
I hope that everyone plays with their food once in while. It is a lot of fun! If any of you have favorite rubs please let know what they are and next round I test them out!