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Monday, January 23, 2006 

Chicken, Ribs and Football!

This Sunday was home to the NFL's AFC/NFC Conference Championship game, usually a day with some fantastic football. All the teams are one step away from the Superbowl and are usually pretty pumped.

I learned long ago that the teams I stop rooting for usually go on to do things like, say, win three Superbowls in four years (The Patriots, in case you didn't know). So, using that sort of reverse logic, I rooted for the Broncos. And they lost, which proves that if I root for a team they'll suck. I'll be rooting for the Seahawks in two weeks using that same logic.

Anyway, me and the family attended an annual party centered on the games with a big, fat, meal stuffed in the middle. I volunteered to cook up some chicken and ribs.

My shipment of Wicked Good Charcoal came in (thanks, Lee Ann!), so I was running at full power. White Trash BBQ got me excited about trying "the Minion Method" of doing cue' with lump charcoal. Essentially, you pour most of your charcoal in your firebox. Then you light a small amount of it in a chimney starter and when it's lit you put it in the center of the pile you poured in. Over time, the lit charcoal lights all of your charcoal, but it's a very controlled burn. I was amazed at how well it worked. In fact, I was a little at a loss about what to do with the time I saved not having to work the fire! It was before noon, so I didn't think I should be drinking to kill the time! I'm glad I finally tried it; I don't think I'll go back to the way I was doing it.


I did the two racks of ribs up with a different rub of mine on each. I sell the rubs, so I'm afraid I can't give up the recipe! But, suffice it to say, they're both pretty tasty. The Triple Chile Rub is, as you've probably guessed, chili based. But we're talking mostly ancho chili, a mild smoked chili, so there's not much heat. The other was my hog eatin' rub, which is a typical red rub. Lots of paprika, salt and pepper to balance it out.

I did try an interesting glaze on one rack based on something White Trash BBQ used as a slather - cranberry sauce! Using that ingredient as an idea, I made a glaze with cranberries, bourbon, water and sugar. The combination was brilliant!

The ribs came out wonderfully. They practically came apart when I pulled them off the grill. My only complaint is that I need to find a better source of ribs. My butcher's ribs are simply too thin for my taste. There needs to be more meat on them bones, know what I'm saying?


Along with the ribs, I put two four-five pound chickens on the old smoker. Chicken only takes an hour or so less than a rack of ribs, so the two work well together as far as timing goes.

I decided that Instead of butchering up the cooked birds, I would pull the chicken. I usually pull pork shoulder not chicken. The chickens came out of the smoker nice and juicy, although I think they could have been smoked more at a lower tem to give them better color. My decision to pull the chicken was motivated by the notion of serving the stuff in a bowl full of Northern Alabama White Sauce. This sauce, was apparently created by BBQ Legend Big Bob Gibson. It's very unique and only shows up in his region of Alabama. In a way, it's too bad he didn't hold the recipe closer to his chest, but since he didn't, here it is:

Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt, finely ground
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne

Whip the ingredients together in a large bowl. Ta-Da! That's it. And I have to tell you, it has gotten rave reviews. It's got that great vinegar tartness, but the mayo gives it an entirely different body!

The chicken was really well received by the party guests. They loved the sauce. Of course, in addition to the meats I brought, we had a fantastic salad by one of our regulars, great appetizers and a whole host of desserts that were heavenly. Plus, there was some darned good coffee by our host!

Sorry there's no pictures, but we couldn't find it when I needed it! Perhaps in a couple of weeks. I'm probably going to do a brisket up for the Superbowl, although I might change my mind.

Cheers to all!


PS: I got the recipe for Bib Bob's sauce out of the book "Peace, Love & Barbecue" by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tuncliffe, it’s a great read. I highly recommend you pick one up if you like this food and the history that goes with it.

Man, you made me hungry reading that post. The crnberry glaze sounds incredible. What did you think of the white sauce? I've never made it, but I think I'm gonna itry it.

Please allow me to verify all the results. Everything was excellent - Ribs choices were a dead tie - couldn't choose 'tween them.

The White Sauce chicken was eye-opening - a whole new world beyond the sweet and red (not that sweet'n'red is bad)

We find the white sauce smooth with a peppery finish. Thanks for the recipe.

Host-boy and the Wife cleaned up the leftover chicken (and his 'tater salad) for supper the next day and it held up nicely.

Thanks again Howlin'Hog - we'll talk s'more about next year's events ;-}

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