The winning ribs from our family's cooking competition! In all fairness, every entry was a winner. My category was "Best Texture" but I also won the grand prize. (I got in good with the judges. That's where age and treachery have it over on youth and vitality every time! ;)
Having a cook-off is great family fun time! If you have friends and family members who love to cook, enjoy a little friendly competition, and can find some reliable (or easily-bribed [HA-HA!]) judges, go to it! That's a way of creating lasting memories while you enjoy some really great food! And what a way to bring in the New Year, setting the tone for laughter, good times, and delectable num-nums in the days that follow.
New Year's RibFest 2012 COOKS:
|Patience and Josh, ready for the announcement that they would win||for best sauce|
|Jessi with her prize for best taste, winning with help from Scott who is not shown|
|Ronda, center, capturing the moment|
New Year's RibFest 2012 JUDGES:
|The judges sample each rib entry and use their predetermined criteria to determine winners.|
|Sharing their thoughts in secrecy adds to the fun.|
|In all seriousness they made their announcement, complete with prizes for the winning entries.|
For a photo essay on the entire event, check out Jessi's Gluten Free World post of the 2012 Ribfest. Yes, cooking gluten- (as well as onion-and ginger-) free added to the challenge!
My recipe, adjusted from the Memphis-Style Ribs in Better Homes and Gardens' New Grilling Book, requires an overnight marination and four hours of slow cooking with added chunks of hickory for smoking. I modified this recipe from a dry rub to a wet marinade to add more moisture and sweetness to make it a cross between Memphis-style and Carolina-style, a taste I figured would please the judges. (I know the judges pretty well! They're my grandchildren!!!) After their announcement, our judges received hearty applause and a gratuity in appreciation for their hard work.
MODIFIED MEMPHIS-STYLE RIBS
7-8 pounds of pork loin back ribs or meaty ribs
10 T brown sugar
1 1/2 T paprika
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 T garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground red pepper
2 tsp salt
4 T ketchup
1 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Southern Comfort
Trim the fat from ribs. Place ribs in a shallow dish with a lid or a plastic bag that can be sealed. Mix all ingredients until flavors are well incorporated. Pour over meat. Turn to coat evenly. Marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours. At least one hour before placing on the grill, begin soaking hickory pieces in enough water to cover.
In a smoker, arrange charcoal and have enough on hand to keep stoking the fire every thirty minutes. Place ribs bone-side down on a grill rack. Put the lid down and maintain a temperature of 200 degrees for four hours' cooking time. Don't baste. Check the ribs only a couple of times to reposition if necessary, trying to maintain constant heat. By the end of the four hours, the meat will be done and tender but not dried out.
This is a spicy treatment for ribs, but the judges weren't scared off by the spice! They loved it and I think you will too! Consider using this recipe or check out Jessi's Gluten Free World for the other recipes used in the 2012 RibFest.
I challenge you to have you own cook-off! If you do, I want to hear about it!