Product Review: Pork Ribs

One of my suppliers recently sent me a whole entire box of ribs to try out. Such a burden for us. Gawd, we could barely stand it. I’ve been down just about every road lined with ribs there is, so these were nothing new, exactly, but I told him I’d write him up a good product review, so here goes. By “good,” I mean thorough, not necessarily positive. Expect some snark, here. This post is mainly directed at my fellow restaurant-owners, and probably my cousins who like to use their Treagar grills and Big Green Eggs.

Some background, first. I used to have baby-back ribs on my menu full-time, but as the popularity of home-smoking has grown, the price of easy-to-use cuts like baby-backs has gone up. Baby-backs cook quickly and evenly and yield a consistently good end product as long as they aren’t over-cooked. Currently we use St. Louis style ribs, which are larger than baby-backs, but a good bit less expensive. We run them as a special every few weeks, or we’ll do them as a special order or catering item. The St. Louis ribs take a little longer and a little more finesse to cook, but my customers like them since they feel like they’re getting more bang for their buck.

The ribs I got from Pat (my overly-nice food rep) are country-style ribs, meaning they aren’t trimmed, the “knuckle-bone” thingies are still on the bottom. You’ll notice that baby-back ribs have round bones, and as you work your way up to the larger country-style, the end bones are flat. Almost always, the meat is thicker on top of country ribs but there is less meat in-between the individual bones, as was the case with these.

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From Performance Foods, these ribs come packed 3 racks in a cryovac, 3 packages to a case, so 9 racks in the box. If you’re a small-volume joint like we are, this is not the absolute best, since you’ll have to do at least 3 racks at a time. Actually though, I would only do fewer than that if I were doing a special order, so maybe it doesn’t matter so much. I’m always down for easier opening, and this is definitely easier than individually wrapped crap.

I coated these with my standard pork dry-rub, and not to bog us down in details (I’m assuming that if you care enough to actually read this you know how to smoke ribs already), smoked them with the silver skin on and peeled it as soon as I took them out. Count on a longer smoking time than baby-back or St. Louis Style ribs.

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From that ^^^

To this:

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I like these! They’re very impressive to plate, especially if you’re located in the dirty dirty south like we are. People want to order a whole rack of ribs with a couple of sides. I plated these on rectangular trays with parchment paper underneath with the sides just set on there with them. In reality, You would be ahead to slice them into individual ribs after they’re cold and serve about 4 to an order. That does get tricky with the bottom section, which you can see at the last photo in this series.

Depending on whether you’re serving these straight out of the smoker or reheating them, you could do them a couple of different ways. We did find that some people didn’t realize they should most definitely eat the meat from that little bottom cut. We found this to be the most delectable little bites on these bad boys.

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So, overall, we liked these, especially for the price. I mean, actually we got these for the price of free this time, so you can’t beat it. Everyone who ordered them ate them down to dry bones, but stopped short of cracking said bones and sucking the marrow out. Cause, dang, we’re in public here. We might be hillbillies, but we do have some manners.

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So, in short, save yourself a little food cost if you’re in an area where you’re going to have to explain to people the difference in types of ribs. They don’t care. They’ll be happy to get more meat for their money. If the people who make up your customer base consider themselves foodies, spring for the more expensive baby-backs. These won’t fool them. On the other hand, if you’re a great sales-person, you can convince them that they want these more than the baby-backs. Make that money, y’all.

We Like to Party! (Tray)

‘Tis the season for party trays! Here are the options that we have for party trays this year - buy one for an office party, or a Christmas party, or even just for yourself! Each tray includes our smoked summer sausage, ham, turkey, and an assortment of our smoked cheeses. For an extra fee, we can even provide crackers.

Small Tray $31.50

Feeds 8-10 for an appetizer or snack

1/4 lb. summer sausage

1 lb. mixed cheese

1 lb. ham

1 lb. turkey

Medium Tray $44.50

Feeds about 12 for an appetizer or snack

1/4 summer sausage

1 1/4 lb. mixed cheese

1 1/4 lb. turkey

1 1/4 lb. ham

Large Tray $63

Feeds 25 or more people for an appetizer or snack

1/2 summer sausage

2 lb. mixed cheese

2 lb. ham

2 lb. turkey

Giant Tray $94.50

Feeds 50 plus people

1/2 summer sausage

1 venison sausage

2 1/2 lb. mixed cheese

2 1/2 lb. ham

2 1/2 lb. turkey

We hope you’ll place your order soon!

December Catering

It’s time for Christmas parties. Shockingly (that’s sarcasm btw), many people don’t plan their office/company/family Christmas parties until after December 1st. Consequently, their choices of date, venue, and menu gets a little limited. Below are the dates and times we are still available for catering or Christmas parties in December 2018.

Sunday, December 9 2-5 pm

Thursday, December 13 2-8pm

Saturday, December 15 until 5pm

Thursday, December 20 all day

If you’ve planned a weekend away on the Buffalo River this holiday season, we’ll be glad to fix you up with in-house parties or pick-up catering. We can customize your menu to fit your tastes and your group size. We do anything from simple cheese and cracker appetizers to locally grown ribeye steak. We absolutely love doing home-style southern cooking for the holidays. And since our specialty is BBQ, that’s a very easy meal to get together for you. Just give us a call at 870-439-2900 or shoot us an email from the contact page on this site to book your party.

If you need more guidance than that, here are the menus for some past and upcoming parties we’ve done.

BBQ Brisket, Baked Beans, White Potato Salad, and Rolls for 40 people, (I just booked this yesterday, so I know off the top of my head it was $8.05 per person, they’re picking it up and serving it themselves)

Beef Tenderloin Smoked Filet, Baked Potatoes, Size Salad, Baguette (Use this one if you want simple, delicious, and elegant. I think it'll run about $12 per person if you pick it up, $15-18 if we serve it here)

Pick 2, in-house, family style dinner: Brisket and chicken quarters, rolls, coleslaw, baked beans ($12.99 per person, and these guys reserved the whole restaurant for a Friday from 3-5pm)

Don’t forget, if there is one of the specials that we run that you absolutely love, we can cater that also! Our Cuban sandwiches, gumbo, and cheesy ham chowder have all sold well lately.

Whatever kind of celebration you’re having this December, we can help you with it! Call us, text us, message us, send us a smoke signal. We’re here to help!

The Season of Giving is Upon Us!

Christmas will be on us soon, so we wanted to take this time to write about some of the catering that we do around this time of year, and our specialty gift baskets! Our gift baskets are very unique, as we can adjust them to any budget. Just give us a call (but first check out our gift basket order form) and tell us what you want and what price you’d like it to be and we can make it work. The only thing is that you need to be realistic when you’re ordering your basket - if you only have $15 dollars to spend on it, the most that we can put in it is about three items. Any more than three and you’re looking at a slice of each thing you choose. The number of items that you can choose goes up with each basket. $25 should be about four items, $35 medium basket should be about five items, our large $50 basket should be about six items, and our deluxe $100 basket can hold about 10 items. However, you DO NOT have to pick ten items for the deluxe basket, or six for the large, or four for the small. When we say custom, we really mean custom!

Our gift basket order form

Our gift basket order form

We can also cater your Christmas dinner, with our awesome smoked hams (bone-in or bone-out) and our smoked turkeys (bone-out deli turkey or bone-in rosemary turkey) - but don’t wait to late to order one! The last day to order a ham or deli turkey is December 18th, and the last day to order a bone-in rosemary turkey is December 19th!

Fall Favorites: Mushroom Onion Soup

Today here at Big Springs we’re feeling the effects of Fall - it’s pretty chilly and we’re looking forward to having some hot soup! Jenn is whipping up a batch of of some yummy mushroom onion soup, and we’d like you to try some too!


Mushroom Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups chopped onion

  • 1 LB chopped baby bella mushrooms

  • 3 cloves of minced garlic

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1 can of Coors Heavy Beer

  • 32 oz container of beef broth

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • fresh thyme or 1 tsp of dried thyme

Directions:

To begin, you’ll need to chop your onions - you can do them as fine as you want to, but we kept our pieces about the size of a thumb. Next, we minced our fresh garlic from the witch garden. After washing our mushrooms, we cut them in half and chopped them into small, bite size pieces.

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Next step is sauteing - saute it good. You’re gonna want to saute your veggies and garlic together with the olive oil until you’ve reached the state of saute that you desire. Lightly salt your veggies after they’re done cooking to avoid pulling the water from the mushrooms, which can cause them to be tough and rubbery.

Once you’ve sauteed your veggies, dump them in a stock pot. Preferably a large stock pot, but you’re your own person so use whatever size you want to. In the interest of doing less dishes, you’re gonna reuse the saute pan to make a rue. Melt your butter in the skillet, then dump your flour in. You’re going to want to stir the rue constantly as it cooks at a medium to high temp. We cooked ours until it was well browned.

Dump both your can of beer and the beef broth into the stock pot with your veggies. Add thyme and bay leaves, then allow your soup to simmer on low for about 15 minutes. You can garnish it with provolone cheese and croutons, or just eat it as is!

We hope you enjoy this mushroom onion soup as much as we do!