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Rib Taste Test

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    Rib Taste Test

    Hey everyone,

    I've been given the go-ahead to make 4 racks of ribs this Sunday, and to make them all in different styles. I want to try some new things, and compare to see what my family and I like the best.

    The four styles I'm planning on at the moment are:
    • Memphis dust, caramelize some Sweet Baby Ray's sauce at the end, unwrapped the whole way
    • Huskee's rib rib, which my wife affectionately calls "Sugar Ribs", her favorite (rub is here)
    • Johnny Trigg style ribs, inspired by Henrik (post is here). Only issue is that nobody around here carries squeeze butter, so I'll have to melt real butter and use that instead.
    • Aaron Franklin style ribs, also inspired by Henrik (post is here).
    I have several questions, as usual. Any input is very much appreciated.
    1. Are there any substitutions I should make, a different style of rib to try? The one I would consider subbing out is the Memphis Dust, just because I know what those taste like pretty well. I can't take away my wife's favorite. Also not thinking of trying any of the Asian-inspired recipes because that is a very different flavor profile and I'm trying to find what I like for regular ribs.
    2. I'm worried about timing, since the Trigg and Franklin ribs are wrapped. Should I start them an hour later?
    3. My offset cooks at 275* on average, and doesn't like to go down to 225*. For the wrapped ribs, should I put them in an oven at 225* for the wrapped portion, would that even out the timing?
    4. One of the racks is currently frozen. I'll put it in the fridge tonight to thaw until Sunday, any advice to minimize the effects on flavor for a valid taste test?
    5. For the Franklin ribs, I found a recipe for his bbq sauces online, do his ribs use the regular sauce or espresso? I think I saw somewhere that in the rib recipe, he cuts the bbq sauce with equal volume apple cider vinegar, can anyone confirm?
    I'll make sure to post pictures and let you know the results.

    Lately I’ve been cooking my ribs using a dry brine salt only then olive oil or mustard and black pepper. Once the ribs are done I then add the dry rub ingredients no salt. This method is so easy and I think the flavor is great. Maybe you could incorporate this method into your taste tests to see the results.


      For what it is worth - my family likes ribs in different styles rather than in different tastes. My son and I prefer ribs that have a good bite which means that wrapping is limited to 1 hour, max. Sometimes I don't wrap at all. My wife and daughter like the ribs to fall off of the bone which requires a minimum of 1 hour wrap - sometimes 2 hours. I start them all at the same time and cook slow. I have found that rubs matter a bit as do some of the sauces I use to finish them.

      I always thaw frozen ribs fulls before cooking. I have pre-rubbed and pe-brined ribs, placed them in the freezer and cooked them before fully thawing. They turn out OK but not the same as pre-brined, thawed and then rubbed. I cook at 225 for ribs so I can't help you about timing for the 275 for the full cook. Two days of thawing in the fridge should be sufficient.


        Sounds like a fun cook! Will def follow this one! As for the wrapped ribs: yes, put them on an hour later. And melted butter is better than squeeze butter, since it is real butter :-)


        • Sweaty Paul
          Sweaty Paul commented
          Editing a comment
          Would suspect if you were concerned about smoking point and burning butter you could add some canola oil to elevate the smoking point some while still getting butter flavor. Just a thought.

        • JOE E
          JOE E commented
          Editing a comment
          I am curious as to what tiger sauce is.. thanks

        • PBCDad
          PBCDad commented
          Editing a comment
          JOE E https://www.walmart.com/ip/Tiger-Sau...10-Oz/33470081

        Well this is loooong overdue, but now you have nothing better to do than to read the results of my experiment!

        The first thing that I was surprised by, and shouldn't have been, was how similar they all tasted. In the end, the different methods and seasonings make a difference, but they are still smoked ribs and I think everyone was happy to have ribs. The differences, while real, were not as great as I had supposed they would be.

        With that said, I didn't like the Aaron Franklin style ribs, and it seemed like it wasn't anyone's favorite either. I probably didn't cook them long enough, but I cooked them the same amount of time as the Trigg ribs. They tasted like plain ribs with pepper on them, and when I put sauce on them I thought it tasted like vinegar with ribs. To each their own, but I probably won't make these again.

        After that, people's favorites were more divided. My wife's favorite has always been the sugar ribs, and she maintained that although she thought the Trigg and Memphis Dust ribs were really good too. Some agreed with her, others liked the Trigg ribs the best. I don't remember anyone pegging the Memphis Dust ribs as their all-out favorite, but everyone really liked them.

        I have to say I was a bit conflicted, and I wasn't expecting it. The Trigg ribs had a really great taste and the texture was perfect - which is why I was really surprised the Franklin ribs were tough. In fact, I had always been a bit disappointed in the bite and texture of my ribs before, and this nailed it. But there was something not quite satisfying about them, and that was the smell. Don't get me wrong, they didn't smell bad at all, but when I brought in the ribs that weren't wrapped, the smell off of those was so good it made me want to sneak several onto my plate before I let everyone know they were done. The Trigg ribs just didn't have that classic barbecue smell in my opinion, but that's about the only knock I can give them.

        I still put my favorite as the Trigg ribs, with Memphis and Sugar ribs tied for second, and Franklin in last place. If I could get my unwrapped ribs to match the texture of the Trigg ribs, I think Memphis would be on top.

        As a result of this experiment, I did sugar ribs again the other week for just the four of us here, and I wrapped them using the 2-2-1 timing. I messed up and did 2-2.5-0.5. My wife confirmed that the texture of the wrapped ribs was how she liked it, and again I thought the smell was missing.

        But in the end, we were still eating ribs

        Pictures of course:
        Memphis is sauced, Sugar is not
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        Memphis sliced
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        Sugar sliced
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        Trigg ribs
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        Franklin ribs
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          A really great writeup, thanks fer sharin yer findins!
          They all look droolicious!


            Man, you are making me want to break the quarantine and go get some ribs!!!! Thanks for the great write up.


              Wow. Those are some yummy looking ribs no matter which style you choose! I agree with the post before mine. Need to put on my mask and go get some ribs!!


                ...pausing Netflix, getting off sofa, looking and hoping I have some ribs hidden in the freezer somewhere.... good lord, man.


                  Great work, PBCDad, those look amazing!


                    The look on PBCKid's face in your avatar says it all. I'd say even last place was pretty darn good!


                      They all look good! Great write up


                        OMGoodness, are those ribs pretty! I agree with you about Franklin. I know he sells a ton of stuff, but salt and pepper just don't cut it for me, with ribs, brisket, or pretty much anything. Even so, he's a crowd pleaser, so what do I know.



                          Nice Porknography!


                            #honored to have tied w/ Meathead and been a part of the experiment!



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