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Real BBQ ribs on an electric stove? Let’s see…


They say “necessity is the mother of invention”.  For the last few months, my job has taken me 200 miles from my home and my cookers for six days a week, and there’s no end in sight.  While I’m away (in my company provided one bedroom apartment), my only cooker is an electric stove.  No barbecues allowed on the balconies, and no common area grills or cookers.  Now, I’m used to cooking BBQ several days a week, Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, so you can imagine that I’m having major withdrawal symptoms.

This past weekend, I decided to conduct an experiment, to make some real BBQ ribs on my electric stove.  I tried it first at home because if the smoke got out of control, I didn’t want to evacuate an entire executive apartment complex!

The first thing I did was prepare the ribs, a nice rack of IBP Babybacks:

Membrane removed:

Into a FoodSaver bag and into some Stubbs Pork Marinade for a couple of hours:

A quick wipe and a light dusting of Simply Marvelous Season All:

Then a medium sprinkle of Simply Marvelous Sweet Seduction (one of my all time favorite rubs!)


Same thing on the other side:

I soaked some cherry chips in a bowl of water for about 30 minutes.

and into a deep foil half pan.  Notice the air intake hole in the end of the pan.

On top of this I put a shallow pan with some holes punched on the end opposite the air intake.  I’m going for a reverse flow cooker here.

Then a cooling rack and the ribs go in.

And finally, another deep pan goes on top and gets secured with some binder clamps.  Notice the exhaust hole back on the same side as the intake.

To make sure the smoke found its way to the exhaust fan, I used a cardboard tube.  I wrapped it in foil just because it looked cool, and that’s important, right?

I used a remote thermometer to see how things were going inside my ‘cooker’.  It took about 10 minutes to come up to temperature.

I had some serious smoke going at this point.

So, after one hour in the smoke, the ribs looked like this. I took them outside to open them up because I hadn’t set off any smoke alarms so far, and I didn’t want to now.

Well, I discovered that I didn’t have any honey or agave nectar in the house, and since the theme of this cook is “necessity is the mother of invention”, I used light corn syrup and Demerara sugar to wrap up the ribs.

By the way, this is what the wood chips looked like after spending the hour on the stovetop.

This is what the ribs looked like when I unwrapped them after one hour at 250 degrees in the oven.

Here’s how they looked after going back into the oven for another hour unwrapped, still running at 250.

Finally, I brushed on some Sweet Baby Rays and put them back in the oven for about a half hour, until it passed the toothpick test.

The verdict?  The ribs were tender, juicy and very tasty with a strong smoke flavor, maybe too strong by a little bit.  They had excellent color, but to my surprise, absolutely no smoke ring, not even a hint of one!  This is proof positive to me of what I’ve been saying all along.  Smoke doesn’t cause ‘smoke’ rings.  It comes from the nitrous oxide combining with the moisture on the meat to form nitric acid which reacts with the myoglobin…OK, enough science, let’s get back to the food.  Here’s how everything turned out.  Maybe not my competition ribs, but definitely better than Chili’s!





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