Because of the diverse nature of the many different restaurants and chefs Brian Henry has worked under he is highly proficient at a wide range of cuisines.

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The 2012 Judging Panel

The 2012 Judging Panel

Here is the criteria I received for this weekends 2nd Annual Friendly Fire Rib Competition followed with a post on Barbecuing back or side ribs

 

from the classes at Friendly Fires

from the classes at Friendly Fires

 

This is how it's gonna role out on Satureday

This is how it’s gonna role out on Satureday

 

How to Judge Ribs

After turn in, the table Captain will put six trays onto a large tray and will tell the judges the numbers on the boxes (from lowest # to highest). Then the Captain will open the first tray for the judges to grade/analyze for appearance scoring. The judges will look to see that there is a minimum # of individual pieces (6); there is no sauce pooling; there is not any illegal items (radishes, red tipped lettuce, etc) in the tray. They will also look at the meat for uniformity in color (smoke ring is not a factor!), attractiveness and how it is being displayed. Although garnishment is now optional, I like to see it…although points are not suppose to be deducted if there is no garnishment.
After all trays have been scored for appearance, each judge selects any piece in the tray that they want to sample. The rib will be first subjected to the smell test, and then the judge will look at it to decide what portion he wants to eat first. The judge will take a bite from a side of the rib, which should come off at that point with just a little bit of resistance. If all the meat comes off the side of the bone, the judges know it is overcooked. If the meat is resistant to come off, then the judge knows it is not cooked properly. In either case, your entry will lose points. When the judge bites off the section of meat on the bone, he will then look at the bone for a few seconds while he tastes the sample. A well cooked rib will have a white bone at the site the meat was removed from. Within a few seconds, the bone will start to sweat with moisture and start turning slightly gray in color….this is the tell tail sign of a well cooked rib!!!The judge will score the entry and clear his pallet with crackers and water before moving onto the next rib.
If you use baby back or 3 lb St. Louis style, I would highly recommend you consider using the Hollywood style pieces…they are cut so that they have the bone in the middle and rib meat on both sides of it. Judges want to taste the meat when they bit into it, so give them what they want to get all 9’s across the board!!

 

 

Cutting Ribs

On ribs, I dont want the meat to look “torn” on the edge of the pieces, so I use a very sharp stainless steel 9 inch Santoku knife…and I cut the ribs after they have “rested” for about 12-15 minutes (while the rack is on edge–standing it up on the bones). Do not use a serrated edged knife, or you will tear the meat up…and stay away from cutting your ribs immediately after they have been removed from the pit as this will tear alot of the top portion of meat away from adjoining ribs. Hope this helps.

 

St. Louis Style vs. Hollywood Style

St. Louis style is where the butcher trims the rib skirt and squares the ends of the rack. Hollywood style is where the rib is smoked and the meat cut exactly between the ribs, so there is meat on both sides of the rib. In other words, the bone is resting in the middle of the rib with the same amount of meat on both sides of it. Not only does it look better, but the Judge’s prefer this appearance over one that has the bare bone on one side and alot of meat on the other. It is the recommended turn-in style in KCBS contests…providing your judges are KCBS trained. Take your time while slicing the ribs and follow the contour of the bones and you will score additional points in your next contest

grill

Back and side to side

 

When it comes to barbequing pork ribs people are commonly confused with the choice between back ribs and side ribs. Both rib cuts are delicious but contain higher concentrations of connective tissue which can be broken down by using marinades, rubs and extended slow cooking over low heat to create the desired fall off the bone consistency of ribs. Knowing the differences between back and side ribs will help in understanding how to successfully prepare them.

Back ribs also known as baby back ribs are cut from the loin closest to the shoulder. They are the bones that remain when the loin meat is removed. Back rib bones are much narrower and rounder than side ribs with meat between and on top of the bones. A rack of back ribs narrows from 6 to 3 inches due to the natural tapering of a pig’s rib cage.

Back ribs are celebrated for their higher meat to bone ratio, lower fat content and overall tenderness compared to the side ribs. These more desired qualities are the reason that back ribs are more expensive than side ribs.

Side ribs also known as spare ribs extend down the sides of the animal over the belly and have had the breast bone removed. They are in close proximity to where we get bacon from, and which makes side ribs fattier. Side ribs are heavy, flat, wide bones that are generally 8 to 10 inches in length. Spare ribs contain more bone and fat than meat which is why side ribs are cheaper to purchase than back ribs.

Once you have chosen which cut of ribs you want to cook up you will need to purchase about a pound of ribs per person. Fresh pork products offered by our local grocery stores and butcher shops are Ontario raised if not at least Canadian. I recently purchased a whole pig locally from Smokey Joe’s which was delicious from tail to snout.

Both back and side ribs will require you to remove its pleura, the thin, translucent membrane that lines the inside of the rib cage. This membrane will prevent flavouring from rubs or marinades from penetrating the meat and will be tough and chewy if not removed prior to cooking. This membrane is easily removed by using a blunt knife like a dinner knife to detach a flap of it from one of the rack of ribs. Grab onto the flap and gently but firmly pull the flap while holding down the rack to rip the pleura away from the ribs in one pull.

Rib recipes sometimes recommend steaming or boiling your ribs before finishing them in the oven or on the barbeque. These techniques will provide you with a tender rib so long as you do not cook them too quickly as it will toughen the meat. I prefer not to boil my ribs as most of the flavour ends up in the cooking water. If you insist on wet cooking your ribs I suggest using side ribs and cooking them in a slow cooker then serving them with their cooking liquid over rice or potatoes.

Easy BBQ Ribs

Ingredients:

Four pounds of back ribs, pleura removed

Two cups of your favourite grilling sauce

Method: Preheat your barbecue to between 225°F- 250°F. Shut down one half of your barbeque and place ribs on the side you shut down so that the ribs are cooked by indirect heat. Close the barbeque lid and keep it closed to maintain a constant temperature between 225°F- 250°F. Turn your ribs every 20 minutes. After an hour baste your ribs every 20 minutes when you flip your ribs over for one more hour for a total cooking time of 2 hours. This process will turn your racks into beautiful mahogany coloured slabs of goodness that will feed four. If you are using a sweet grilling sauce you should only baste the ribs during the last half hour of cooking as the sugar in the sauce will burn.

 

 

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