Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ribs, Chicken, and Beans

Hold on to your taste buds... here we go... 

I had a limited time to cook this weekend, but have been wanting to try some new techniques, well new to me anyway.  Only way to do this was to combine everything into one cook as I wanted to cook it all on the Fast Eddy's PG1000 Pellet Grill.  

First off - St. Louis style spareribs.  Ribs would take the longest of all the items in this cook, so they went on first.  I rubbed them with Nordy's Spicy Rub.  Which is a commercial rub that I alter with a little more sweet and a little more heat.  I mixed it up and used less brown sugar and more turbinado sugar when making this rub.  

The ribs then went on the pit at about 250 degrees with some Hickory pellets.  I usually cook ribs at 275, but 250 was one of the changes I wanted to try out.  

While the ribs were cooking I prepped the chicken thighs.  These are bone in thighs seasoned above and below the skin with Butcher BBQ Honey Rub.  I've never used this rub on chicken before, I usually use it on ribs.  However, it turned out pretty good.   Here the thighs are prepped, rubbed, and tucked away in their little pan for some cooking.  Yeah... that's a whole stick of Parkay split up over the thighs.  In the past I've typically smoked thighs directly on the right lower side of the PG1000 and then finished directly on the grill as needed to crisp the skin.  

After about 2.5-3 hours of smoking the ribs, I foiled them with some apple juice and brown sugar and put them back on the pit.  Then I put the chicken (with more Parkay) on the girll.  Here is something that is great about the PG1000, there are 4 different temperature zones.  The right lower area (where the ribs are) was running about 250 degrees, while the upper right (where the thighs are) was running about 280-290 degrees.  My goal was to cook the chicken at about 300 so this works great.  One pit, cooking two different meats at two different temps.  GENIUS!

After getting the ribs foiled, and the chicken cooking it was time to prep the beans.  Jordan had left a comment on an earlier Nordy's BBQ Blog Post regarding a great recipe for beans, and I've been wanting to try it.  You can find the beans recipe here... and of course I had to "tweak" it a little with some Nordy's Spicy Rub and Head Country BBQ Sauce.  (Please ignore that it is from a Big Green Egg site... :) )  This is HALF a recipe.

"Preheat OVEN? to 325" and " bake uncovered"... HECK NO we don't need no stinkin' oven.  These beans are going on the PG1000!  I also put my rib glaze on the grill to get it heated up and "get a little smoke on it."

Remember those 4 different temp zones?  250 degrees at lower right, 290ish upper right... You guessed it beans go on the upper left where the temp is closer to 325.  As I said before GENIUS!  

After the chicken reached about 170 degrees internal temp and the ribs seemed to be about done and tender, I glazed the ribs and put them back on to set the glaze.  The chicken was removed, dunked in sauce and put in a new pan (without butter!) and back on the smoker to set the sauce.  Little hint here, put some sauce in the bottom of the pan before putting the chicken in.  This will help keep it from sticking to the pan and will coat the bottom of the chicken.  I didn't do a darn thing to the beans at this point... just let them cook.  

Beans are getting there.  Close to ready to come off the pit.

Chicken sauce is set and they're coming off the pit.

Glaze is set on the ribs and they are ready to come off.  Tip:  test for tenderness by passing a toothpick through the meaty portion of the ribs.  When it passes with minimal resistance, they're done.

Ribs presented.  Not my prettiest ribs but they were tasty.

The "star" of the night (sorry couldn't resist) was the chicken.  Pretty good looking and had really nice flavor.  

Meal completed with a serving of Chicken, Ribs, Beans, and homemade mac and cheese (thanks Kelli!).

So what did I learn?
1) Trying new techniques/flavors can be fun
2)Using the PG1000's 4 zones for cooking makes a cook like this possible and gives the ability to do all of this at the same time on one pit.
3)These beans are awesome
4)Planning and timeline is important.

Hope you are enjoying these posts.  Follow me on twitter @JNordy. If there is anything you want me to try or questions you have... let me know!

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Shish Kabobs - Noun: A dish of pieces of marinated meat and vegetables cooked and served on skewers.

The menu for the family gathering for Memorial Day this year included Beef and Vegetable Kabobs. I cooked about 40 skewers of beef and veggies on the PG1000.  The trick here is the relatively small "direct cooking" area on the PG1000.  This is easily managed however with a great result!  I cooked about 20 kabobs at a time by first putting them all indirect then cooking 5 skewers at a time directly on the grate then as they approached being done they were moved to the upper rack above the grate and 5 more were moved onto the direct grate.  As the top rack finished they were moved to the upper right, and eventually put in a pan on the lower left.  

This rotation demonstrates the different cooking areas of the PG1000 and the relative temp difference in these areas.  Left lower grate is highest with above the great next, then upper right and lowest temps at the lower left.  This is due to the unique design of this grill which provides an air flow pattern that achieves "top down" cooking on the left lower side.  

Kabobs - PG1000
Rotation I used while cooking
Finished Product

St. Louis Style Spare Ribs

So what are "St. Louis Style" Spare Ribs.  They are just normal pork spare ribs trimmed and with the brisket bone cut off.  You can see a great video of this made by Stuart Powell from Cookshack

This isn't the exact method I used for these ribs.  They were cooked on the PG1000 for about 4 hours and glazed with thinned out Blues Hog BBQ Sauce.  The ribs turned out great.  They could have used a little longer to aid in tenderness, but were quite good.  (It was dinner-time so I had to pull em off the smoker!)  I will repeating this recipe again with a little longer cook time.  

St. Louis Style Spare Ribs - PG1000