Forget that KC luzer-Q - these are WINNING ribs!
Ever since taking up competition barbecue, I've become obsessed with
finding a way to make the most consistently perfect slow-smoked pork
ribs that can elicit awards from faceless judges. In the process, my rib
method has grown to include all sorts of meticulous steps, like wrapping
the ribs in foil at just the right time, adding a braising liquid to get
them perfectly tender, and monitoring the temperature more closely than
doctors keeping tabs on patient's vitals in the ICU.
The resulting competition ribs have earned me a few trophies, but
they're honestly not the kind I love most. You see, I'd rather use a
simpler method and push the flavor with additional spices and heat, but
that can be risky in a competition setting, since I don't want to take
that chance on judges with sensitive palates.
My theories on barbecue sauce are in constant evolution. A few years
ago, you would have never seen me use ketchup, but now I'm all for it
because, in many cases, it makes a more crowd-pleasing sauce than the
tomato sauce I used to insist on. I also would have said that fruit
sauces should be made with fresh fruit, not jams or preserves. But now I
use both kinds because I've come to realize that jams already have a lot
of the sugar I would otherwise have to add to a sauce made with fresh fruit.
When I made this particular apricot barbecue sauce, I grabbed a
good-quality bottle of preserves without giving it a second
thought€”apricots weren't in season at the time, anyway. Then I built up
the layers of barbecue sauce flavor around it, including ketchup,
vinegar, onion, Worcestershire, garlic, honey, and mustard.