BBQ spare ribs

A rather productive weekend for cooking this weekend. Well, mostly just the Sunday really. After heading to a local pick-your-own farm with the kids on Saturday I picked up a full rack of pork ribs from their butchers, so Sunday I smoked those and whilst they were sitting on the grill I also found time to make some rosemary salt caramel brownies.

The ribs were fairly simple - Saturday night I trimmed and lightly salted the meat, Sunday morning I rubbed the meat and then cooked for about 5 1/2 hours Sunday afternoon for dinner.

The rub

  • 30 grams light brown sugar
  • 15 grams caster sugar
  • 5 grams smoked paprika
  • 5 grams garlic powder
  • 2 grams onion powder
  • 3 grams ground ginger
  • 2 grams black pepper

It was a full rack of spare ribs, and I threw together one of my standard, quick-n-easy BBQ sauces for the painting at the end.


  1. Trim the ribs and remove the membrane

  2. Salt and apply rub

  3. Setup the BBQ (WSM) for smoking set at 110 degrees (225 farenheit)

  4. Once temperature is stabilised, add the ribs

  5. After 4 hours, check to see how they are looking, depending on the thickness of the meat they might take longer (mine took about 5 hours)

  6. Check the ribs by doing the bend/bounce test (pick up the ribs and bend them a little, if they crack a bit on the top then they are ready)

  7. If using sauce, paint the ribs with the sauce (I quickly painted the ribs with a water/maple-syrup solution prior to applying the sauce, this was just to keep the sauce loose and not to thick anywhere)

  8. Return to the grill for 15 minutes or so

  9. Before getting ready to serve, put them over the direct heat (for this I just remove the middle section of the WSM and stick the grill directly above the coals) meat side down, for a minute, just to crisp up the bark - don't do this for too long as it can easily burn

  10. Slice between the bones and serve up.

rob hinds Shambolically fumbling my way around the kitchen

Rosemary Millionaire Shortbread

I also put together some rosemary-salt millionaires shortbread on the weekend.  I originally tried rosemary caramel in a hipster coffee shop in London, and, as you might guess, thought "I should do that".

So its pretty simple, I made shortbread as usual. I made caramel with some rosemary added. Then topped with normal melted chocolate (nothing fancier seemed necessary)


  • 225 grams plain flour
  • 170 grams butter
  • 90 grams caster sugar

  • 150ml double cream
  • 30 grams salted butter
  • a single finger pinch of sea salt
  • 100 grams light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

  • Two 110 gram bars of cadburys chocolate


  1. Make the shortbread - cream the butter and sugar, mix in the flour, and then press into the bottom of a lined baking tray

  2. For the caramel, gently melt all ingredients except rosemary in a pan, once melted add the rosemary and stir through, heat for two to three minutes

  3. Leave the caramel to stand for another 10 minutes or so, whilst the shortbread cools

  4. Poor the caramel through a sieve to remove the rosemary pieces, pour caramel onto the cooled shortbread

  5. Place the caramel topped shortbread in the fridge to cool for another 20 minutes

  6. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on a low power settings (will take a couple of minutes), once it is smooth, pour on top of the caramel shortbread and put back in the fridge to set.

rob hinds Shambolically fumbling my way around the kitchen

The Big Meat 2016

August bank holiday weekend, we went to the The Big Meat, BBQ and Beer festival, in Farnham. It was recommended to me by the winner of the Gower BBQ competition, and as it was just down the road from us, I figured it could be fun. Plus it was only £35 for a family camping ticket - which seems like really good value for a nights camping for the four of us and entry to the event both days (which included live music, cooking demos, a kids area and then on the Sunday, loads of free meat from the competitors in the BBQ comp).

Luckily the weather was pretty good too - the Saturday was pretty hot and sunny, there were a few showers on the Sunday, but not enough to really affect anything much.

It's a fairly fledgling event, only in its second year, so it wasn't as big as it could be (in terms of vendors, there was only BBQ food and one or two drinks vendors really) and as you might expect none of them were up and running for the 7am campers, but that wasn't really a big deal. In terms of the competition they managed to attract 20 teams and it seemed like a very impressive setup - they had a decent judging panel and all competitors seemed to be provided all they needed (space and electricity).

Honestly, all of the meat that I ate from the competition (and there was a lot of it) was really high quality - After the chef's special on the Saturday (which I missed because I didn't realise they were turning any food before Sunday) the main four rounds were chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork and brisket, and was some of the best BBQ food I have ever eaten (including compared to authentic American BBQ joints).

One of my reasons for going was to go and chat with the competitors, taste the food and check out their set up (and generally get as many tips as possible), so here is some of the stuff I learnt:

  • Chef's special are impressive. Once again, just expecting people to do some piece of meat for this round, a lot of people were really creative - one competitor did veal on gnocchi, another did a giant burger and another did smore-brownies with a white russian to wash it down (using fresh, raw milk from the dairy farm that the festival was being held on)

  • Chicken round: everyone does thighs. Severeal competitors I spoke to said this same thing. The judges know what to expect with thighs, and going off piste with this can result in your scores getting tanked if just one judge takes a dislike to whatever it is you try (which also makes sense given me gripes with low'n'slow cooking chicken)

  • Almost everyone has a temperature controlled BBQ system. BBQ Guru being the most popular choice I saw. Which makes sense, being as there were several rounds to cook for hand in with in two hours of each other, and most competitors putting on their brisket around 22:00 on the saturday night.
rob hinds Shambolically fumbling my way around the kitchen