Annnnddddd, the birthday dinner

July 11, 2016

Forgot to take a plate pic, but here's the star of the show.

Forgot to take a plate pic, but here’s the star of the show.

You will recall the birthday eve dinner for the Memphis Guinea Pig, posted over the weekend followed by the birthday blackberry pie. There was, in fact, a birthday dinner the following evening.

Rather simple, but no complaints, and I have to say they were some of the best ribs I’ve ever cooked, no matter I bought ’em at Kroger.

I had, in fact, purchased said ribs on the Friday before July 4, baby backs frozen solid in the big on-sale pre-holiday case. I don’t remember how much they were, but a slab was something under 10 bucks. I brought them home and put them in the outside refrigerator to thaw slowly, with an eye toward cooking them possibly on the Fourth, or later that week.

Didn’t happen, so Thursday afternoon, I got them out and rubbed them down with a packet of Kansas City Masterpiece barbecue sauce mix and dry rub. Now, I am not generally one to be a big fan of prepared barbecue rubs, but let me say a word in favor of this KC Masterpiece. I bought it, along with a bottle of their sauce, because I had a coupon for it. When I opened the packet to sprinkle down the ribs, I was afraid I’d screwed up, because it had a very sweet taste, and while I’m not averse to sugar in my ‘cue rub, it’s real easy to get too much. But I went ahead on, because it was late, and I was tired, and I wanted to get those babies in a bag and in the fridge.

There was probably enough rub in the packet to have done two slabs of ribs adequately; I did one, VERY heavily. It would have also been enough for a big pork butt, which is what the other packet of it will likely go on in the coming weeks, being that I have one of those in the freezer. In any event, I cut the slab in half, coated it with rub, and stashed it in a heavy two-gallon zip-lock bag to go back in the fridge and marinate about 24 hours.

The next evening, I chunked them into the sous vide water bath. Kenji Lopez-Alt, one of the gurus of sous vide cookery, says traditional ribs should be cooked at 165 degrees F for 12 hours, and that’s what I did. (Alternatively, one can do 145 degrees for 36 hours, but I didn’t have 36 hours at that point.) Let them cook overnight, cool on the counter for a bit, and then they were into the fridge again to await the final step.

Meanwhile, we had hot Krispy Kremes for the birthday boy’s breakfast (because we could!) and ham and eggs and toast for brunch. And then I commenced to work on dinner, which involved German potato salad, baked beans, tomatoes and the aforementioned ribs.

One rib. Lots of meat. Fresh manicure.

One rib. Lots of meat. Fresh manicure.

I took them out of the bag and laid them on a rack in a foil-lined roasting pan, then painted them down with a thick coat of KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce, and slid them into the oven at 425 to reheat and get a good sear on that sauce.

And that’s exactly what I did. And it was sublime. Obviously the ribs didn’t have the smokiness one gets from time on a pit, but that could be remedied by finishing the ribs on a grill instead of in the oven. Truthfully, I didn’t miss the smokiness. (Kenji notes you can get the smoke flavor with a drop or two of liquid smoke in the SV bag.)

There was a LOT of meat on these little sweeties. I ate about four bones’ worth, and that was plenty for me. The meat was tender, but not mushy, and had a little bit of chew to it. The crust was a nice sticky-chewy with bits of crisp. There was a sweet taste, but it wasn’t overly sweet — not nearly as sweet as it smelled. I was, in fact, quite pleased with the overall spice profile.

I’ll do this again. Maybe with a couple of racks of ribs. And I highly recommend you n’ y’mama n’ em try some of this KC Masterpiece rub and sauce.




One Response to “Annnnddddd, the birthday dinner”

  1. cleavelin Says:

    And to steal (slightly modified) a line from Arlo, it was a birthday dinner that couldn’t be beat! And ditto for the birthday eve dinner.

    Thankyewverrahmuch! 🙂

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