Father’s Day BBQ Advice From A Pitmaster Chef

It is an annual question: what do I want for Father’s Day. Certainly not another tie… and besides which my kids are too old for that. How about advice from my pitmaster chef son on how to cook the perfect pork ribs. Now that is awesome.

When my three kids were growing up it became a challenge. What to give Dad on Father’s day. I had tools and ties enough that I didn’t need anything else, really.

I realized that all I wanted was some peace and quiet. In those times, I traveled a lot. Weekends were about re-charging so I could face the next week. So to garner peace and quiet in my oasis of a backyard, I reached back into a teenage memory. I used to hang out with my buds at La Taverne Aux Amis in Baie Comeau, QC. This local watering hole had as customers a former Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney. There I would enjoy draft beer and pickled eggs.

I pronounced that on Father’s Day, I would enjoy draft beer and pickled eggs. It became a sport for the kids to find the perfect pickled eggs for Dad. I truly did appreciate them and the time in my yard.

Fast forward and now my kids are all grown up and live away.

This year, I decided to enjoy some BBQ pork ribs. The question was – how do I make the best ribs for Father’s Day? I reached out to Chef Jonathan Viau who is the pitmaster and executive chef at The Carbon Bar in Toronto, On. Who better to give me advice on how to make the perfect BBQ pork ribs.

Here are some key pointers from the expert:

1- BBQ is not braising. In BBQ, you should be able to bite the meat off the bone. While in braising the meat falls off the bone. Don’t mix the two up.

2- Use a dry rub. It doesn’t matter what it is comprised of as it is a matter of taste. At the Carbon Bar, their Kentucky style calls for only salt and pepper.  It can be a savory mix of basil, thyme, dill, oregano or something more with paprika, cumin, cayenne. There are lots to choose from on-line

3- Use smoking wood. He likes apple wood but it can be any hardwood that is available in most retail outlets. Make sure you wet it. Next wrap it with double layer of aluminum foil with a hole poked at the top. It should produce a white smoke during cooking.

4- Low and slow. Place the hardwood package on one side of the grill and turn that side on low heat. Place the ribs on the other side of the grill with no heat. Ensure the BBQ is between 230- 250 F for 3-4 hours.

5- Leave it alone. He stresses to not poke or prod the ribs. Just let them cook. It requires patience. Have beer or bourbon during the cooking time.

Once cooked, enjoy. I certainly will. Now to choose the dry rub… hmmm. I think I need another drink to figure that out. Happy Father’s Day!


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