taking up smoking and other habits

I have no one else to blame for taking up smoking. Smoking meats on a grill (a pellet smoker) I mean to say. Adding this dimension to my barbecuing only encourages me – and my dear wife who is more than willing to let me cook. With the holidays of 2021 behind us, the urge to bake has really petered out for me. However, as I heard it said on a barbecue contest Netflix show recently, a competitive BBQ person is skilled in the charcoal or gas grill, skilled in use of a smoker, and particularly impressive, in preparing the whole thing including side dishes and the dessert! The idea of cooking competition does not interest me. But picking up hints about techniques, new spices, or dishes to try certainly does. The old saying about teaching an old dog new tricks has hit home, now that I have a smoker.

Having tasted a hickory-smoked turkey my host prepared for a Thanksgiving dinner – my wife and I have been their guests for many years – I found my barbecue senses intrigued. For Christmas I asked for, and happily received, a pellet-fuel smoker. I followed the recommended technique to season the smoker a week ago. And then cold wind and rain descended on Southern California. Yesterday I went to Costco for pork, coming home with spareribs and a boneless pork loin. Never let it be said that a grown man “needs” directions to prepare for barbecue, but I did value the “suggestions” or “guidelines” a few articles online gave me. As my neighbor remarked today, practice beforehand allows us to be really good when friends are invited over. I began by seasoning the ribs with the Penzy “Galena Street Chicken and Rib Rub”

I started up the smoker this morning Following an hour to get to 200 F and stabilize, I read several suggestions online from the PITBOSS manufacturer site and from other BBQ enthusiasts. From one such article, I chose a “3-2-1” approach with St. Louis spareribs. Three hours in the smoker, then wrapped in aluminum foil to seal in the juices for two more hours in the smoker, and a final hour unwrapped with one’s sauce of choice allowed to carmelize on the ribs. For this first effort, I chose the below Carolina mustard sauce recipe from the PITBOSS site:


Carolina style barbecue is famous for its mustard based sauce. This sauce incorporates the tanginess of mustard with vinegar, sweet brown sugar, and spicy hot sauce.


  • 1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1 tbsp Hot Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Pit Boss Sweet Heat Rub **
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cups, Prepared Yellow Mustard (I used Target brand of yellow mustard)


In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cup of the yellow mustard, cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, honey, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and 1 tablespoon of the Sweet Rib Rub. This sauce can be served when the ribs are taken off the grill, or up to 1 hour before so it has a chance to caramelize onto the ribs.”

. ** I used no rub in my sauce

While I resorted to canned baked beans and prepackaged mac n cheese for toight’s sides, I have a goal for making side dishes from fresh ingredients – once I get a few more practice sessions down. I did learn, for next time, to verify that I opened the flame box slats for that final hour of carmelizing the glaze on the ribs. I had to re-heat the ribs for fifteen more minutes to get the proper 175F final internal temperature, though the entire presentation was delicious and tender. Of course, after all the work was complete, and I served dinner to my spouse, Dexter and Comet showed up to tell me what a good job I had done. And they received some scraps for the positive feedback.


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