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Which Rib Packer do you like? Does Previously Frozen matter that much?

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    Which Rib Packer do you like? Does Previously Frozen matter that much?

    In my year and a half of BBQ practice, I've tried buying ribs from all the local grocery stores (Albertson's, Kroger, Sams, a local chain Market Basket, and just added WalMart). Albertson's sells Hormel. Kroger sells Swift and Kroger, I'm trying to remember the brand Market Basket sells (they come with rib meat already trimmed off the back). WalMart sells Tyson.

    I've been using the same recipe the entire time, MH's rib recipe, but without the carmalized wet finish to make it a little simpler. I use St. Louis cut, rinse, peal, trim, dry, oil, rub (Memphis Dust) and smoke (usually Apple, tried a little cherry), using the same cooker (22.5" WSM with the occasional Converted Commercial Dryer or Huge Trailer Pit for big cooks). I wanted to learn the technique, just as MH recommended, before I fiddle with the recipe.

    One of the variables would be the source of the meat.

    MY QUESTION: Which meat packer supplier have you had the most consistent success with?

    ALSO, is getting ribs which have NOT been previously frozen help significantly?

    I think that the Hormel ribs (from Albertson's) have been consistently good. They are typically not as large at the Swift ribs, and I think I like that better. They are, usually, however, marked as previously frozen.

    I don't go to WalMart that often, but did this week, and the Hormel ribs there are Not, apparently, previously frozen. I'll be cooking some this weekend! (They also had Choice brisket, as well as Select, for $2.98 - so I'll be cooking that too!)

    Can't wait to hear from your learning!

    Your BBQ Brother,
    paul

    P.S. Here is a Just For Fun pic of Ribs in the Dryer for Smoking!
    Click image for larger version

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    P.S.S. Just for fun, here is a pic from the Duck Blind this morning! #GeauxLouisiana
    Click image for larger version

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    #2
    Dryer is cool, would be awesome to keep the gearing in tact, like a reverse rotisserie. I get the IBP ribs from Sam's Club. I tried some expensive stuff and didn't really care for it.

    Comment


      #3
      Hey Paul,

      I have not noticed a great difference from different packers as far as taste or "results" standpoint. I do find that some packers are a not quite as neat with their cutting so I get to trim a bit more but I'm good with that.

      Also I have not noticed a difference with ribs previously frozen. That said If I know they were frozen I buy them frozen. If fresh I buy fresh and have no issue freezing them.


      BTW those be some nice lookin ribs!
      Last edited by Jon Solberg; September 16, 2014, 10:02 PM.

      Comment


        #4
        Thanks, Jon! Which packers did you get the best taste from? I listed the one's I remember above, if any of them happen to be one's you know.

        P.S. the dryer does still Rotate. I'm building one soon that has a drum with 3x the volume, and the rotisary will be more useful there, I think.

        Comment


        • Jon Solberg
          Jon Solberg commented
          Editing a comment
          Paul, The two packers most of my stuff comes from are Prairie Fresh and Indiana Kitchen. Prairie Fresh is a better product but as far as taste goes I done see a difference

        • Jon Solberg
          Jon Solberg commented
          Editing a comment
          Paul, I'm trying to reply but struggling a bit with comments

          Let me try again:

          Most of my ribs come from Indiana Kitchen, Delphi IN or Prairie Fresh, Shawnee Mission KS.

          I use these brand because thats what readily available to me. I don't see a taste difference but PF is the better trimmed slightly more consumer single rack crovacs while the IK I get seem to be more for the meat counter with 2,3.or 4 racks a crovac. They tend to need a bit more trimming here and there.
          Last edited by Jon Solberg; September 17, 2014, 11:52 AM.

        #5
        I was reading somewhere recently that meat that has been as low as 0° can still be labeled as fresh.

        Comment


          #6
          What a great pic from the duck blind!!

          Frozen/Fresh, Sam's/Costco/WalMart/Publix/Patak all taste about the same, great, compared to any commercial restaurant ribs. I have had multiple ribs from each place and some are more meaty at times than others but overall they are fairly consistent. I like regular spare ribs the best, over the St. Louis and baby backs, with just removing the membranes. I recently got a pellet smoker and to get some more smokey flavor I trimmed, rubbed for 48 hrs, and then froze the ribs. I put the frozen slabs directly in the smoker at 210 for three hrs and then to 225 for the last three hrs, they were done by the bark test. The ribs were excellent. Didn't notice anymore appreciable flavor. I think the main thing is being patient and do a slow 225 cook. Of course removing the membrane, trimming, using a great rub that is given a couple of days to penetrate really can enhance your final product.

          My questions: is anyone complaining about your ribs? Are you unhappy with them? What are you looking for (other than the perfect rib)?

          Comment


            #7
            Beautiful pic Paul.

            A buddy of mine was in the restaurant & BBQ catering biz and he tells me all retail ribs are frozen, whether labeled 'previously frozen' or not. I cannot verify this, just passing along what he's told me. I said what about when it's labeled fresh? He said it doesn't matter, they're all frozen at the processing plant, some are thawed before sale some aren't. For what it's worth...again I cannot verify just passing it along.

            Based on this, I don't freeze ribs, I have to assume he's correct until proven otherwise. I don't want to double freeze. Thefore I buy ribs the day of or the day before I cook. Just my way.

            Comment


              #8
              A-ron, I was told by my butcher that when I do my bulk buys I am getting never frozen product. You got me thinking so I actually just sent an email to Indiana Kitchen to try and confirm this. IK is where my last big order was packed.

              I know that Prairie Fresh stuff I buy is shipped frozen so I buy it that way for freezer stock.

              edit:

              While I was at it I sent one off the Prairie Fresh as well.
              Last edited by Jon Solberg; September 17, 2014, 09:02 AM.

              Comment


                #9
                Originally posted by PaulstheRibList View Post
                Thanks, Jon! Which packers did you get the best taste from? I listed the one's I remember above, if any of them happen to be one's you know.
                Comment keep vanishing:

                Let me try again here:

                Most of my ribs come from Indiana Kitchen, Delphi IN or Prairie Fresh, Shawnee Mission KS.

                I use these brand because thats what readily available to me. I don't see a taste differance but PF is the better trimmed slightly more consumer single rack crovacs while the IK I get seem to be more for the meat counter with 2,3.or 4 racks a crovac. They tend to need a bit more trimming here and there.

                Comment


                  #10
                  That sunrise says that Culex salinarius will be there shortly. Those crepuscular little jerks!!!

                  Comment


                  • Jon Solberg
                    Jon Solberg commented
                    Editing a comment


                    its an oldie but a goodie...

                  #11
                  Love the comments. Thanks!

                  I'm going to keep exploring meat sources from some restaurant owner friends, to see if I can get a case of non-frozen ribs for future big cooks.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    We have a small local grocer in town, Food King, and they have their own meat dept. Two older guys run it and they will bend over backwards to help you out. Today, they had the whole spare rib for sale at $2.49/lb and then some St. Louis Cuts for $2.59. Bob said (the head butcher) he tucks the cut off pieces in the package so you don't lose any meat. Pretty cool. I'm cooking two St. Louis cuts this weekend to take to a "Talk like a Pirate" party Saturday night. My smoker grills are only 15" square, so I have to cut the ribs in half to fit on the grill. My plan is to cook the ribs to completion, wrap them in foil and put them in a small cooler for transport. It will probably be 2 hours before they get dug into. Not sure if they will keep cooking while wrapped. Maybe I should cut them off 20 minutes early? Going to skip the BBQ sauce and just serve it on the table.

                    Comment


                      #13
                      Reading up on Low and Slow cooking, it doesn't look like it has much carryover heat. I'll probably just finish the cook and put the ribs in a small cooler. I read the tip on The Faux Cambro, and it should work just fine.

                      Comment


                        #14
                        Brewbetter, you could add a nice size Pork Butt to your cook...that would add mass to the heat in the cooler, keep everything hot longer! #anyexcusetobbqmoremeat

                        Comment


                        • Huskee
                          Huskee commented
                          Editing a comment
                          This is solid advice.

                        #15
                        Any ribs that come in a plastic package from a big processor have been frozen. Period.

                        Not that it makes much difference as far as I can tell. Remember, we are smoking tough cuts of meat & the whole point of cooking low & slow is to break down the tough fibers.

                        The objection to freezing is the effect it has on the texture of more delicate cuts that are only minimally cooked. Freezing (and especially refreezing) can break the cell structure, leading to a more "mushy" texture. The more delicate the meat, the more noticeable the effect of freezing.

                        It's particularly noticeable with seafood. But anymore it's hard to find seafood that hasn't been frozen unless you're running a restaurant or live on the coast & make the effort to visit a fish monger.

                        But remember, traditional BBQ cuts such as Pork Butts, Ribs, Brisket, etc are anything but delicate cuts where you need to be concerned about the effects of freezing.

                        Comment

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