Tips & Techniques: Dry Style Baby Back Ribs

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There are two ways to smoke ribs: wet and dry.

Wet ribs are, at some point in the cooking process, wrapped in foil, often with flavoring agents such as honey, brown sugar, rub or a marinade/liquid. They are then cooked in the foil. Wrapping allows the added flavors to braise the ribs while on the smoker, as well as speeding up the cooking process by containing the heat inside the foil. Competition style wet ribs will be sweeter and likely more visually appealing.

Dry ribs are cooked uncovered all the way through the process. The main flavoring agents in the ribs will be the rub you apply at the beginning of the process, the smoke and any sauce you choose to serve on the ribs at the end of the process. Dry ribs will take longer to cook than wet ribs, but tend to have more texture to the bite and the spice is often more pronounced on the palate, as there isn’t as much sugar competing with the flavor of the rub. They’re arguably more eatable than wet ribs (specifically competition style), which tend to pack a lot of sugar into each bite. Of course it’s mostly up to each individual palate.

Backyard cooks, competition pit masters and BBQ enthusiasts often have an opinion on which method is better, and we frequently find that it’s fairly evenly divided. Both methods have their advantages, and both should be celebrated. Today we’ll cover the simple process of dry smoking ribs so you can discover for yourself your opinion and perhaps your preference.

Tips & Techniques: Smoked Shrimp Ceviche

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Traditional ceviche consists of raw seafood that is cured, or chemically cooked, in an acid. Of course, we like to put smoke on whatever we can get our hands on, so we’re giving our shrimp a smoke bath before it hits the citrus juices. In this recipe, when the shrimp comes off the smoker they will be fully cooked before being marinated in the acid, so the soaking time won’t be as long as if we were starting with raw shrimp. You could do the same with a cold smoke and longer marination. This method will also ease the minds of your friends who are wary of seafood that’s not cooked over a flame. You can think of ceviche as a seafood salsa, if you like. The ingredient possibilities are endless, so do some experimenting with different seafood, veggies and fruits.