If I could name two corollary "factors" that help elevate real barbeque to a higher plane, it would have to be dry rubs and marinades. (This is assuming that you are using good meat and you are using "real barbeque" techniques of smoking it, as opposed to grilling it on a gas grill!) You will find about as many arguments about dry rubs and marinades/sops as you will about which style of barbeque is the best: Memphis, Kansas City or Texan (maybe I better mention the Carolinas, too?)... but that's a whole 'nuther page...so I'll just give you a recipe for a good basic dry rub for ribs. It can easily be adapted for briskets, too, by adding additional chili powder. Pork always does well with a touch of dry mustard added, as mustard seems to really set pork off nicely. Also, if you like garlic as much as I do, you will want to use more garlic powder than it calls for. Personalize it!
1 tablespoon each of coarse salt, ground black pepper and paprika
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine these ingredients and stir together to blend well. Spread the rub over your ribs as desired. One of my favorite techniques is to spread both sides of the ribs with a light coating of ordinary table mustard before putting on the rub. This makes the spices stick much better, and it cooks down where you won't even taste the mustard. It will give them a crunchy exterior and a fall-apart rib if you cook them long enough and don't try to cook them too fast. NOTE: A common mistake of newbies is to use too much spice! Go easy the first time and adjust to your liking. The illustration above actually shows what I would consider as a "max"coating of spices.
Increase the proportions accordingly if you need a larger batch. If you make more than you need or you want to make a bigger batch, just put the rest in a leftover spice container or a baby food jar, and it will keep up to a couple of months.
1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
1 tsp. black pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
ingredients and cook for several minutes to dissolve the spices. This is
commonly used as a marinade as well as a baste or "mop."
It is very similar to the Dixie Pig sloshing sauce, but different enough to be a sub-variety. The lack of pepper flakes distinguishes it from those kind of sloshes.
This will make a great marinade for briskets, as will the following recipe.
Great Beer-Based Brisket Marinade
(the one I use for my Triple-Whammy Brisket)
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
2-4 cans of beer or non-alcoholic malt beverage
1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 scant teaspoon of liquid smoke
1/2 to 1 cup of soy sauce
1 teaspoon (or more to taste) of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of Louisiana Hot Sauce
1 tablespoon A-1 Steak Sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
I would suggest you not use anything that you would not drink. You don't have to use "craft beers" but don't use the really cheap stuff, it will make a difference, trust me.
One of my early mentors, in a TV way, when I started listening to cooking shows (when my boys were little) was the ole Cajun, Justin Wilson.
His advice was to never put anything in your dishes that you wouldn't drink. Referring mainly to wine.
If you would be interested in obtaining my full recipe and cooking instructions for Wes' Triple-Whammy Smoked Brisket, e-mail me for details on how you can order the full recipe. Include the word "brisket" in your subject line (so I'll know you're not a spammer), and send your request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Last revised 06 November 2010 0609Z