written by Brooke Porch
I mostly eat meat out of convenience. It tastes good, of course, but I rarely get excited about it. Even when Thanksgiving rolls around, I get a lot more excited about potatoes loaded with cream, pumpkin pie and, of course, stuffing! But there are three types of meat that get me really excited; burgers, buffalo wings, and ribs.
This article is not about wings or burgers.
My friends’, two brothers, family owns a cabin and some land up in North-central Pennsylvania. It has become an annual tradition to go up every fall and get some work done before the winter, typically chopping a lot of wood, and with this comes eating some meat, typically a lot of meat, smoked in their smokehouse.
The smokehouse is a re-purposed woodshed and the fire pit remains outside of the house. A buried clay pipe transports smoke from the pit to the house, which makes it possible to keep the temperature in the smoke house around 180 degrees. If the fire pit is in the smoke house, then the temperature will easily rise well above 300 degrees, which cooks the meat rather than smoking the meat.
Much work went into constructing the house two years ago, but my friends and I are now quite happy to enjoy the fruits of the smoke house. Beef jerky is a perennial favorite, but I really like pork, especially ribs. Planning ahead, I bought two packs of the Co-op’s baby back ribs. Before smoking, I covered them with mustard and a rub. Mustard is great because it has plenty of vinegar and salt, while giving the rub – a basic mix of ground peppers, aromatics, and herbs – something to stick to. Once prepared, the ribs went into the smoke house and my friends went back to work while I made sure the couch didn’t float away!
Fast forward several hours and we had some of the tastiest ribs I’ve ever had, in addition to some smoked kielbasa and beef brisket, Brussels sprouts, kale, and potatoes – fried in bacon grease, of course.