The following is a version of the Award Winning Beef Ribs served at mancuisine’s smökathon in 2016. It is important to note that when planning to make this recipe, call your butcher well ahead of time as they do not often stockpile beef ribs in their facility – a shame, as these ribs far surpass any flavor you can get from the same style of cut that is offered in pork. I am giving the full recipe for a competition sized portion, make any adjustments as needed or make extra as the rub will last in a pantry for the next time you make these ribs (and there will be a next time, trust me).

Setup for the beef ribs at the beginning of the cook time
Setup for the beef ribs at the beginning of the cook time

I use an offset smoker, with an old bread pan filled with water directly next to the firebox in the cook chamber. Water pans are highly recommended to be used in this recipe – if cooking the ribs in the oven as I have been known to do, I will place a pan with water in there as well to keep the moisture level up in the chamber.


The Meat:
4 racks Texas style beef ribs
Remove the meat from the fridge 1 hour before cooking to allow the meat to get near room temperature. Trim any excess fat and score the membrane on the underside of the rib along each bone with a knife – this gives the rest of the fat easy access to drip out, and there will be plenty over the cook time.

The Rub:
1/2 cup whole black peppercorns
3 T chili flakes
1/3 cup + 1 T sea salt
Put the peppercorns and chili flakes into a spice or coffee grinder and grind them into a rough sand, you do not want it to be too fine. Mix in the salt and put 1/4 to 1/2 of the mixture onto the ribs, making sure to get it into the meat, the sides and the bottom of the racks.

Start your coals, fire or oven and bring your vessel to 225 degrees. Maintain this temperature the entire cook time. Know your vessel and what it needs to stay there, and when those times come when more fuel is needed to be added. This is key to a good piece of meat at the end of the day.

Put the ribs into the smoker with the thicker bone side facing the firebox or heat source. Rub in last 1/2 of the dry rub into the top side of the ribs. Close the vessel and watch your temperature.

If cooking multiple racks, rotate the meat every 1.5 to 2 hours to ensure that each one is cooked evenly. 5 hours into the cook time, wrap the ribs with an unlined butcher paper. I do the simple envelope style where the ribs are placed in the center with the membrane side up, fold the four corners into the center, tuck them under and place back in the vessel as they had been when taken out. I cook these using only wood, if you are cooking with charcoal and wood chunks I recommend doing this step and hour or two later. This is also the step where you may add your favorite sauce to the ribs, but they will also be amazing just with the rub.

finished product at the final unwrapping
finished product at the final unwrapping

8 hours into cook time remove the ribs, still wrapped, and place them into a cooler or large plastic container. Leave them there for one hour, remove, unwrap, sauce, and cut into individual ribs.

Make sure to have some paper towels handy, as these ribs will be juicy!

If you’ve been to one of the Johnson kids’ eleven graduations, four confirmations, Gold award or three Eagle ceremonies you have had the opportunity to taste our wonderful graduation salsa. Here’s the recipe we enjoy that seems to bring out the celebration love. We use a large bread-making ceramic bowl- well stirred, not shaken but still chilled. This goes fast – we recommend one batch per ~15 people depending on whatever else you may have in your spread.

What you need:

  • 6 medium tomatoes- firm not runny- roma tomatoes if you have them. If not use another four mediums.
  • 1.5 cups sliced green onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped green pepper
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro (no substitutes please). Fresh cilantro is critical. It’s what makes this a spring-summer dish. Something to look forward to during the long winter.
  • 2-4 tablespoons very finely chopped jalapeño chilies
  • 6-9 large cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 1-3 teaspoons salt (we often add only a small amount)

Put them together:

  1. Chop the tomatoes up into pieces that will easily fit on the chips you are providing. Some will seed the tomatoes as well, but I leave them in. If you are adding the Romas chop them smaller than the others. I will typically toss the pieces into a strainer to drip into a separate bowl as I am chopping. Keeps the liquid down (you’ll have plenty anyway).
  2. Chop up the green onions and pepper into tiny pieces, 1/2 inch or less. I like to add these to the tomatoes in the large serving bowl first.
  3. Do remember to lick your fingers often.
  4. Add the lime juice to the bowl. Stir well and let the acids mix. Best about an hour after.
  5. Coarsely chop the cilantro. Make sure there are no long strands of stems.
  6. Chop the jalapeños into smaller pieces than you picked for the green peppers. Do remove the seeds before chopping. For some reason I always wipe my eyes after chopping the chilis. Do not do this.  Toss ’em in and wash hands.
  7. Mince garlic and add to bowl. Garlic fingers are meant to be licked. If the kids are out you may wish to have the significant other do this. Toss ’em in and stir really well with the salt.
  8. Put the whole ceramic bowl in a tub of ice and cover with plastic. Good to chill well ahead of time. Stir often. Sample frequently to ensure quality and a positive attitude when guests arrive.
  9. As people eat, continue to stir in order to mix the love. A liquid will collect on the bottom- mixing keeps the solids wet with this wonderful liquor (in the AA sense of the word).
    After the crowd leaves, drain the liquid, chill well and drink. You will be SO rewarded. Add no vodka, the rush is powerfull without.

Sean Brock is one of my favorite chefs – If you have not seen any of his episodes of Mind of a Chef then you should take a pause on what you are doing and witness what he has to offer the world. His book Heritage is one that I constantly reference when I am cooking food with history in the South. This recipe is closely tied to his with some slight modifications to have it with more of a kick. I have made this often at home but never for mancuisine’s ribfest – quite possibly the reason I have not yet brought home the judge’s trophy.

What You Need
1⁄2 cup chicken stock
2 1⁄2 cups apple cider vinegar
3⁄4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. Sriracha Chili Sauce
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. Hungarian paprika
3⁄4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1⁄2 tsp. black pepper
1⁄2 tsp. garlic powder
1⁄2 tsp. onion powder
1⁄4 tsp. chile powder

Put Them Together
Heat all ingredients in a pot on medium-high heat. Simmer, stirring when you can, until reduced by just over a half of its original, about 30 minutes. Depending on what you make, let sauce cool in fridge for no more than a couple weeks – Or add directly to your favorite meat.

Adapted from recipe on Saveur Magazine

Below are some of the recipes (more added as they come in) along with what the judges said they did best. Feel free to send comments and questions about the recipes. Initial inspiration for these remarkable recipes range from a Brewery in San Francisco to a NE Minneapolis restaurant, and from Bobby Flay to Betty Crocker. (more…)