“You have to call it Mixed Race sauce, or Diversity sauce…”
“But you can’t call it White sauce in southern Mississippi!”
“So I got some ribs… and I’m putting tarter sauce on the ribs?”
Nope, that's not ranch or tartar sauce... it's WHITE BBQ sauce!
This is from Sinbad’s improv video on YouTube (I know, old school) which is pretty hilarious. I looked it up because I searched for “white bbq sauce.”
I was watching Food network or Travel channel, and white BBQ sauce came up on television. I have to be honest with you, it’s not the prettiest sight looking at white BBQ sauce slathered all over the place on meat on a 55″ crystal clear LED HDTV. But there it was, in all its glory. I’ve heard about white BBQ sauce before, and it’s been around for a while in Alabama, but there’s a reason why you don’t see or hear about it all too often.
They were profiling the white BBQ sauce from Big Bob Gibson. You can find the recipe online. It’s mayo-based… using a LOT of mayo, and I’m not the biggest fan of mayo. The only mayo-based sauce I’ll be slathering is tartar sauce on some fried fish. But if you love mayo like Paula Deen, you’ll be fan.
With a blog named “Dirty Smoke,” it got me thinking about the method of smoking foods. Not everyone has the time or equipment to properly smoke foods, so they use something fake like liquid smoke or some gadget like the smoking gun. Hey I’ll admit it — I’m guilty of using liquid smoke in my homemade chili (shh, I added a few drops in my chili and won the chili cook-off at my work). Of course, this was before I discovered the WSM.
The smoking gun costs $100 and shoots smoke from a skinny tube onto the food of your choice. I couldn’t help but chuckle when I first saw it — there’s even a video showing you how to smoke spinach salad and a Bloody Mary drink. I haven’t used it myself, but judging by the reviews on William Sonoma’s website, I’m a bit skeptical on how well it works. It’s probably more of a gimmick than anything. Check out Bryan Voltaggio using it (around the 3:20 mark) in which he says he “loves using it.”
One thing’s for sure, you just can’t beat the real thing — smoking with charcoal and/or wood, low and slow, for hours and hours. After a while, your clothes and skin start smelling like smoke even after you take a shower. That’s when you know you’ve been around smoke way too long.
Having the WSM is a little addicting. It had been more than a week since the last smoke-out and I was already getting the itch. So over the weekend while grocery shopping, I picked up a “family pack” of pork spare ribs at a local grocery store for a little under $7. It was perfect because I didn’t want to buy a Godzilla-sized pack at Costco that would probably feed a small hungry village in some 3rd world country.
I slapped on some homemade rub and put it in the fridge overnight. The rub I’ve been using has been working pretty well. It’s simple and gets the job done. I posted the recipe I used in the past, but this time around I added a pinch of cumin and a little brown sugar for some extra caramelization.
The next day, I threw it on the WSM and basted the ribs with apple juice on each side after a couple of hours. The grand total smoke time was 4.5 hours. This time around, I experimented by NOT adding any water into the water pan. As you know, the purpose of the water pan is to regulate the internal temperature and to keep it low and slow. With no water, you run the risk of higher temperature, so you have to adjust the vents and monitor very carefully. On the flip side, you can achieve better results on the bark — the outside crust of the meat. See for yourself at the jump.
What a beauty. I slathered on some BBQ sauce and my wife and I tore into it like ravaging vultures. While eating, I tried to judge the ribs as if it were a competition. I liked the fact that the meat wasn’t completely “fall-off-the-bone” tender but still had a good bite to it. It had a nice, pink color on the inside. I loved the outside bark. If I had to nitpick, I would say that it was slightly on the overcooked side. It wasn’t quite as juicy and tender as I had hoped. I can attribute this to the higher temperature (consistently around 250+, instead of the 225 range) from not having water in the pan. But overall, a good learning experience my first time smoking ribs.
Back on May 31, I posted about the William Sonoma blog teaser on Volt Bro’s BBQ tour. I admit, I haven’t been back until now. It looks like they’ve been pretty busy. There is chock full of mouth-watering food pictures, videos recipes, and first hand insight on some old school BBQ joints — just some great material to read about if you’re a BBQ fan.
There are even recipes for BBQ desserts, along with a recipe on southern corn bread that seems enticing to try (but I’m not too interested in baking). But the recipe I’m most interested is the Carolina-style pulled pork. Another interesting thing to point is their “5 Things to Know About” for BBQ styles — so far they’ve talked about Texas and Kansas City. Good stuff.
When eating out BBQ, I try to avoid the chain restaurants out there, which can range from bad to downright mediocre. There was this Texas-based chain, which opened several years ago about a few minutes away from my house. I tried it once and never again. It was bland, no smoky flavor, and was in a bad location. The place didn’t last long and shut down rather quickly.
Baby Blues BBQ in Venice is one of the better BBQ places I’ve tried in the LA area. It was on Triple D, and has its fair share of Yelp reviews, so of course many people will say it’s “hyped up.” I couldn’t care less — I just want good BBQ. I had the baby back ribs platter, along with a side of mac ‘n cheese, sweet potatoes, and cornbread. What I liked about the ribs was that it had a nice crust and smoky bark, and was not TOO tender. Good ribs should still have a good toothsome quality, and not completely fall off the bone upon the first bite. I also liked how they provide several different types of BBQ sauces in squeeze bottles on the table.
People are always trying to pigeon hole BBQ places… like oh what style BBQ is this? Texas, North Carolina, Kansas City, etc? It doesn’t matter. Safe to say, most BBQ places in California use a little bit of everything, so it’s a hybrid. Many people use both dry rub (Texas) to go along with vinegar-based sauces (NC) — including myself. Just as long as it tastes good. Next time I’m in the area, I definitely want to try their beef ribs and the pulled pork sandwich.