“Bank on it” Ribs

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This is my actual Hot and Fast Rib recipe which is distinct from my other more half-ass HnF BBQ recipe.

Banking the fire is the signature cooking technique of Mitchell family BBQ. It is what gives the whole hog its succulence and deep roasted flavor. As North Carolina BBQ doesn’t really dive that deep into the parts of the whole hog save the shoulders, there really isn’t a tradition of cooking ribs. To create a rib recipe which incorporates “banking” technique I have taken inspiration by two great Pitmasters – Donnie Thomas of Texas and Steve Bullard of Alabama. Mr Bullard was a pitmaster at the legendary Big Bob Gibson’s and his story and recipe was generously recorded by Chris Lilly.

Worcestershire Sauce and mustard are such perfect partners it’s mind blowing. With the ribs I served it with a Georgian Mustard sauce at a local gathering of BBQ enthusiasts called the Meatwave and it was well received. This recipe reflects a significant departure from the traditional “low & slow” style you see on TV. It requires high heat smoking to render the fat and roast the meat before sharply banking the heat to allow the ribs to tenderize. The resulting rib is wonderfully tender, intensely meaty, and worthy to be included in Mitchell-style BBQ.

Prep

The ribs are marinated for an hour or more in Worcestershire sauce. For this recipe you will be using St. Louis cut spareribs. From there season your meat evenly with salt and sprinkle on a simple rub composed of equal parts paprika,brown sugar, garlic, and black pepper.

Cooking

Fire up your smoker to 300 degrees (+/- 20 degrees) yes you read right. I use an offset which burns only wood. You could get yourself one of those fire stoker things but I’m cheap. You want your pit really hot and those fluctuations won’t hurt you. Throw on the ribs for a good 2.5-3 hours.

Within this time frame you will see the ribs undergo the most amazing morphology. It will go from damp, to ashy dry to just pouring out liquid! When you see a good pool of fat and juices just pooling to the top and dripping of the ribs it’s time to bank the fire!

Make sure there’s no unburnt wood in your firebox, everything should have been burnt down to coal by now. Now close ALL your dampers, any air intakes, and your stack. You’re basically getting the fire to smother and slowly cool. This will essentially act as a braise to the bbq. In 30mins to 1 hr come back and poke your ribs with a fork. If it goes through like butter you’re done.

Glaze with a mustard sauce.

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