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Thread: Several Q's for Jamie, Please

  1. #1
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    Hi Jamie! Big fan of yours and am very grateful you're willing to help us out on Chris' great site. Thank you! And thanks for making things so easy to understand and less intimidating! Could I humbly ask a few Q's?

    1. Got some great Aleppo pepper from Penzey's after hearing about it on Chris' site, and I love the stuff. I went back and ordered Arbol Chili and Cascabal too, but they arrived whole and not ground up. Do you just grind them in a spice grinder, or do you "toast" them first and remove certain parts? Would be grateful for some tips!

    2. If you could be perfectly candid (no sponsor pressure), what rib rack would you recommend? I've tried several, including Weber's, and I don't like any of 'em b/c the ribs tend to flop or slip through the bottom (hard to describe) when I'm loading the rack, and a lot of the seasoning gets rubbed off. I was thinking of Steve Raichlen's rack b/c it has supports underneath that would help keep 'em in place, but I sure would be grateful to know what you use and how you avoid this problem.

    3. Not a Q, but a comment: Your "Weber's Smoke" book is very good (I also have Big Book of Grilling and use it all the time!). First tip that helped me was your 50/50 tip on smoke wood. When I use hickory, the smoke can be overbearing; when I use apple, it's too subtle. Using your tip, I combined the two and it's like heaven! Thank you! Also love your tip about using rosemary branches for smoke. Haven't tried it yet, but I have plenty of rosemary so I will give that a shot! Another great tip, from Steve Petrone who frequents Chris' site, is to use whole pecans for a delightful smoke. Thanks again, Jamie, for making this all so much fun! Gratefully, Mickey.
    Is that yer nose or a tomato yer eatin'? -WC Fields

  2. #2
    TVWBB Super Fan Jamie Purviance's Avatar
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    Hey Mickey, it's good to meet you here on this awesome site. You have some great questions. Let me try to answer them one by one.

    1. To grind those peppers into a powder, you should first cut off and discard the stems, split open the peppers and discard the seeds (they don't grind very well), and then toast the peppers in a hot skillet until they turn color and dry out a bit. Let them cool for a few minutes and then grind them in the spice grinder. Woohoo. Fresh chile powder!

    2. Honestly, the only rib rack I have used is the Weber one. It works well for me. If there is a better one at there, I am not aware it.

    3. Yes, I love how smoldering rosemary smells. Do try that and I'll try the whole pecans. Thanks to Steve.

    Jamie

  3. #3
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    Thanks for your very helpful reply, Jamie! With the peppers, I might have had enough sense to remove the stem, but I'm not so sure about the seeds... And I really wasn't sure about toasting, so thanks for explain it so clearly. I'll be doing that this weekend!

    I should have explained the rib problem better. If I'm doing St Louis style spares, any rack is fine. But lately I've been doing the full rack w/o trimming, and that's why they flop over the top and slip through the bottom. The Raichlen rack is taller and has bottom supports, so that might be better for doing untrimmed racks.

    Lastly, Steve Petrone has millions of great ideas! By "whole pecans" is meant "in the shell". Sorry if I wasn't clear.

    Thanks again, Jamie! And thanks to Chris too for arranging this very special treat!
    Is that yer nose or a tomato yer eatin'? -WC Fields

  4. #4
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Mickey:
    But lately I've been doing the full rack w/o trimming... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Full slabs of spareribs without trimming is a real challenge in the WSM, especially on the 18.5". Almost too big to stand on edge. I always trim them down to St. Louis style.

    Regards,
    Chris

  5. #5
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    Thanks for setting up this very helpful Q&A, Chris!

    Your point re: untrimmed spares barely fitting in a WSM is well taken. I should have been more clear b/c I don't yet have a WSM and am just using a Weber Kettle for now. But alas, Jamie's new book is "A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill" (emphasis mine). Accordingly, I felt comfortable asking about a taller rib rack - but I should have explained it was for a kettle. Sorry. Thanks for your comments and thanks again for arranging this! -Mickey
    Is that yer nose or a tomato yer eatin'? -WC Fields

  6. #6
    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Mickey:
    I don't yet have a WSM and am just using a Weber Kettle for now. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>Unfortunately, same issue. Both have high domes, but that's a really wide piece of meat that is hard to control on-edge in a rib rack. It wants to lay flat!

    Part of the problem with the Weber rib rack is that each slot is slanted at an angle. That makes your whole spareribs want to lay down. Looks like you've got an idea for an invention...a very tall, straight rib rack for whole spares!

    Regards,
    Chris

  7. #7
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    I wish a tall rib rack was my idea, but I think Steve Raichlen already invented it and you can see it on Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi...AIS/thevirtualweberb

    Raichlen's rack has only 4 slats compared to 5 slats on the Weber model, but the Raichlen version appears to be about 2 inches taller and I think that would be just about enough to prevent the "flop on top" problem I mentioned. Further, his model has cross-supports under each slat which help prevent the "slip thru slats" problem I have. It's as if Raichlen had the same problems I had and created this rack to solve them. But that's just theory and the truth comes from using it. I'll follow up with you after mine arrives, ok?

    Here are the dimensions of the two products (from the Amazon descriptions):

    Weber rib rack (slanted design): 11.9 x 4.9 x 15.7 inches ; 3.3 pounds.

    Raichlen rib rack: 14 x 11.8 x 6.8 inches ; 3.8 pounds.

    I appreciate your feedback, Chris, so if I am mistaken about this, please let me know so I can return it before I use it. Thanks! -Mickey
    Is that yer nose or a tomato yer eatin'? -WC Fields

  8. #8
    TVWBB Pro RichPB (richlife)'s Avatar
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    I have the Weber rack and after a couple of tries, I rarely use it for just the reasons you say, Mickey. I've seen a couple of pics of it loaded and it worked fine if the ribs were cut into two large sections (really makes no difference to the final flavor and how many times do you slap a full rack of ribs on a plate?).

    Frankly, I gave up on racks completely and just either lay the ribs out flat in my 18.5 or roll them to put on edge which allows me to have up to six racks of ribs at once. There are other alternatives too which you can find documented here at TVWBB like stacking and rotating.

    I never felt tempted to try Raichlen's rack. Nothing against it, but I'm fine without.

    But you were asking Jamie and Chris.

    Rich
    UNC Tar Heel '69, '75 -- now Woodworker, grandfather
    Weber Genesis EP-330, Weber Smoky Mountain 18.5, Weber Q-1200

  9. #9
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    No worries, Rich - you're input is helpful and appreciated. In fact, I was kinda hoping somebody has tried the Raichlen rib rack and would chime in too...

    I also have the Weber rack and I rarely use it now. And I too have laid 'em out flat and used the roll-up method (with varying results, however). I've trimmed the spares St Louis style per Chris' great video and the ribs fit that way, but then the rib tips have to be handled separately. I read, on TVWBB, where some experienced guys just stopped bothering with all the pre-cook cutting and cook the whole rack of ribs as is. I've tried that and it works great, BUT, as I've explained, it's hard to do them that way with existing rib racks b/c the ribs flop over on the top and tend to fall through the bottom. My goal is to do 4 untrimmed racks of ribs at one time, and if Raichlen's rib rack makes that possible (as the marketing stuff implies it does), then I'll happily pass along that info on TVWBB for anyone who is interested. If his rack does NOT work, then I might take up Chris' suggestion and invent a tall rib rack.

    Thanks again for your insights, Rich! -Mickey.
    Is that yer nose or a tomato yer eatin'? -WC Fields

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