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APL Serious Barbecue: Short Ribs with Fleur de Sel

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I have to admit right up front that this is going to be a loose approximation of this recipe, not an exact replication.  Just google "Short Ribs with Fleur de Sel" and you can find many copies of the recipe.  Unlike many APL recipes, I actually had most of the ingredients on hand, but I still had to make some substitutions.  I may cook 2 more racks this weekend and try to follow the directions more closely.  If so, I will update this post/thread.  Spoiler alert: I do not plan on buying Fleur de Sel.  I am sure it is wonderful, but it seem like it is mostly just a little salt for a lot of money.

 

I recently purchased a cryovac pack of choice chuck short ribs that was ~15 pounds total.  It had 2 large and small 4 bone racks in it.  There are several different kinds of beef short ribs and it sounds like the APL recipe calls for the NAMP #123A plate ribs (3 bones per rack), but what I have is definitely the NAMP #130 (4 bones per rack).  I have read a bunch about it and it sounds like the main difference is that the #130 ribs might need to be cooked a little longer to be tender so that is what I intend to do - probably mostly in the foil.  For those who may be interested, here is a link to a good article describing the different types of short ribs (and other cuts of meat).

 

The next substitution I made was for the lemon pepper in the rub.  I didn't have it but I did have lemons.  I read how you can use lemon zest to make your own lemon pepper, but I didn't have enough time to bake/dry it so I just added the zest to the moisturizer.  It may make it a little lumpier and uneven, but the taste should be fine (I hope).

 

Here is a pic of the ribs (just 2 racks today) with the moisturizer and the rub applied:

 

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It could have been a more evenly applied, but I think it will get the job done.  In addition to the lemon zest making it lumpy, I ran out of mustard so it was a little thinner than it should have been.

 

The racks are on the grill now with some peach chunks and some hickory chips.  I will either continue to edit this post as the cook progresses or post replies with the additional pictures and updates.  I think it will probably be another 6-7 hours before it will be ready for the dinner table.

 

Update: 12:45pm  - Houston we have a problem!  After posting I took the dog out and found the Vision was over 350 (instead of 250).  This is also my inaugural cook with my new Party Q controller (the new model).  It was sitting at 250 just fine earlier, so I am not sure what happened.  The Party Q wasn't blowing and "knew" it was over shooting, so I am wondering if the fat flared up and caused it to overshoot so far.  I am not sure what to do with the time now so I will have to wing it.

 

Here is a pic:

 

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Notice the lower rib bone on the smaller rack going in the opposite direction.  The same thing is happening with the bone on the top of the big rack.

 

Update: 130pm - Back to 250 and the PartyQ seems to be holding it spot on.  I think it was the fat.  Next time, drip pan.

 

Conclusion:

 

My temperatures ran high - at least a few times.  At one point I caught the PartyQ runnning on and off when the temperature was way over 250.  I turned it off and back on again and it seemed to be fine after that, although it took a long time to get the temperature down.  Until I sliced the ribs I was concerned they were going to be really dry.  Fortunately there was so much fat in them that it would have been almost impossible to dry them out.  That was in spite of the fact that I trimmed off as much fat as I could before I started.

 

Here are the final pics, starting with one I took after pulling them from the foil and seasoning them for the final 45 minutes at 275:

 

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Right before pulling them off for the final rest:
 

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Sliced, dredged, and ready to serve:

 

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This dish probably isn't for everyone, but for me the slices were little flavor bombs.  They produce very rich, very salty flavor explosions in your mouth - great if you are into that.  I thought I was going to eat a couple of ribs, but I doubt I even ate one.  They are just too rich.  I think they would be great on a lightly dressed salad with some big croutons.  I really wished I had some nice rustic bread I could toast to eat with it, but I didn't have any decent bread at all. I did switch from beer to San Pellegrino Limonata for the meal and that helped cut the richness.

 

I have 2 more racks I should cook tomorrow (to freeze).  I am not sure if I want to take another crack at this exact recipe or try a similar but simpler cook.  If I do it again I am going to dial back the seasoning (or just salt) and the oil as much as I can.  The recipe seemed to make way more seasoning/rub than I think you could sanely use. I like salt, but I am glad I opted to skip it in the final dredging.  Maybe if I used less rub during the cook the salt at the end would be OK.  The other option for tomorrow would be to cook them more or less the same way, but just with some brisket rub and/or Montreal type steak seasoning and the same wrap.  I'd like to know how different it would be, but the APL recipe was good today and will probably only get better for me once I adjust it to my personal tastes.

 

Update: I cooked the other 2 racks the same way the next day.  See my reply below for more info, comments and pics.

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I seem to be having all sorts of problems today - lately with inserting pics.  I am hoping you all aren't getting notified every time I edit the original post.  Right?

 

Thanks for the encouragement - I may need it today.

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Hm, I guess when I edit and upload additional pictures they show up before I submit my text.   Good to know for the future.

 

The dressing is parsley - as per the recipe.  The meat did come out juicy and tender - in spite of my temperature problems.  I probably could have gotten a little more smoke on the ribs though if the temps hadn't shot up at the beginning of the cook and burnt up my wood.

 

Thanks for all of the interest and compliments.  I hope it inspires someone else to give it a shot as I would be very interested to hear another opinion on the recipe.

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I cooked the recipe again today with the 2 remaining racks.  Today it went smoothly - no temperature spikes, no other issues.  I even had all of the correct ingredients - except for the fleur de sel (a specific salt).  I was considering buying it, but I couldn't find it at my local Whole Foods (they did have many other fancy salts though). 

 

I think I solved the salt and grease issues I ran into during the first cook.  I wasn't shy with the rub, but I was careful to spread it evenly and not too thick. The salt was still easily tasted in the bark, but it wasn't overpowering.  Also, after I cut the meat off of the bones I carefully removed all of the extra fat & guck that had surrounded the bones on the back side.  That seemed to help a lot.  The recipe produces a thick, heavy bark that makes most of the meat taste like great burnt ends.  I am not entirely sold on the 2 Tbsp of liquid saved from the foil that is called for in the board dressing.  It is a hassle to strain and de-fat it, you only use a little of it, and I didn't particularly care for the flavor of it.

 

Finally, be warned that this cook (and perhaps any short rib cook on an 18" grill) seemed like kind of a lot of work for a relatively small amount for meat (albeit great tasting meat).  I guess you could cook on 2 levels, but there is a lot of rendered fat so the lower ribs  might not fare well.  As you can see in the pics below, there is a lot of shrinkage and waste.  The slabs were a bit bigger today,  ~8 lbs raw (first pic).  The second pic was just before I sliced the meat off of the bone and trimmed it (third pic).  In the end there was a bit less than 2lbs of cooked, trimmed meat. That isn't awful, but also not great for $40 worth of meat ($5/lb) and a fair amount of time tending to it.  I wonder if the 3 bone plate ribs the recipe calls for are any meatier than these chuck ribs though.

 

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Thanks. You did great work and provided wonderful insight. It sound like this is not a goto or staple recipe, but rather something to do when you have the time to enjoy the process as much as the meal.

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Thanks. You did great work and provided wonderful insight. It sound like this is not a goto or staple recipe, but rather something to do when you have the time to enjoy the process as much as the meal.

 

Thanks. Agreed - it isn't all that hard to make, but I wouldn't pick it for an everyday meal.  With that said, if you had some in your freezer you could easily make a fantastic appetizer by warming it up and slapping it on some nice rounds of toast (I had it that way for lunch yesterday - yum!).  Of course if you are having a bunch of company and you aren't using your kamado (or have a spare), it wouldn't be hard to time the final cook so that you could wow them when you pull it off the grill.  My neighbor was super impressed just by the look of it while it was cooking - as was my brother during the second cook.  Plus dressing the board and slicing it at the end is easy, but I think the dredging somehow makes it look like you really know what you are doing!  You will probably want to pull the bones and trim the meat out of sight though - that isn't eye candy.

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