Keeping it simple with salt and pepper

Discussion in 'Pork' started by bocaboy, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. bocaboy

    bocaboy Fire Starter

    I was reading that Aaron Franklin of Franklin's BBQ in Austin only seasons his meat with salt and pepper. I also remember that two years ago at the NBBQA meeting in Mobile that I tasted ribs at the cook-off that were seasoned with only salt and pepper and they were phenomenal, although they didn't win first prize. Last night I decided to cook up a rack of baby backs on my Big Green Egg (BGE) using only salt and pepper and see how they came out versus using a rub.

    My spice mix was simple: 3 parts kosher salt to 1 part coarsely ground black pepper. I coated the ribs with a bit of olive oil and sparingly sprinkled the ribs on all sides with the mix. I am aware that salt can dry out meat, so I only wanted to use a little to cook the meat as opposed to coating it completely. Five hours at 225º and they were done. I sprinkled just a bit more of the mix on top and let them rest in the kitchen for 20 minutes before I sliced them.

    I can't begin to tell you how good these tasted! The smoke flavor came through loud and clear (I used oak) and the salt was just enough to bring out the natural flavor of the pork.The pepper gave it just a bit of a bite, but not at all overpowering. Lest you think I spent a lot of money on my meat, I purchased these ribs at Publix, a large supermarket chain in South Florida.

    It's made me think differently about rubs. I've tried dozens of rubs from sweet to hot, from spicy to bland. I have to tell you that just salt and pepper is now one of my favorites!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  2. Yup it's good to mix things up once in a while for a change  [​IMG]   For wild game birds I just use a wee bit of salt, pepper & garlic to let the taste of the meat shine through. There's nothing that says you always have to use tons of spices on your meat. I don't season most of my beef with much either... Good post  [​IMG]  
  3. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    I also go simple sometimes.  Smoked thighs sprinkled with Tony Cachere's is one of my favorites.  Blew the wife's mind about a week ago when I grilled some rib eyes with nothing but salt and pepper over charcoal.  She couldn't believe how basic it was because usually she sees me mixing seasonings like a mad scientist.
  4. bocaboy

    bocaboy Fire Starter

    Yotzee, I'm a fan of Lawry's seasoned salt on grilled meat, but also use Tony Cachere's. They're both delicious when used sparingly. I grew up with hamburgers seasoned with Lawry's and always liked the combination of salt, pepper and garlic. My mother wasn't too good of a cook, so she used Lawry's on just about everything. It wasn't perfect for some foods, but I loved it on hamburgers!

    I recently took a trip to the upper midwest, including the UP of Michigan, Door County in Wisconsin and the northern spur of Minnesota, in part to see how those delicious smoked white fish, chubs and trout are processed. Every place I stopped told me they brined their fish in salt only overnight, then smoked it using maple as their wood. Occasionally they'd use maple syrup as a coating. I can tell you I have never tasted better smoked fish than what I ate on that trip. My mouth starts watering just remembering how good it was!

    I'm not going to eschew rubs and more complex spices, but I have to say that it you like the taste of pork, or chicken, or fish, less is probably more when it comes to what you use for smoking them. I also really like the flavor smoke imparts to meat, pork, chicken and fish and using less seasoning definitely lets the flavor come through!

    BTW, chicken thighs are my favorite part of the chicken. We like to grill them with Lawry's or Tony Cachery's and get the skin good and crisp!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  5. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    I smoke thighs about once a week to take to work for lunch.

    Are you in Boca?  I used to work for ADT in the Tyco building near the Town Center Mall.  Lived in West Palm.
  6. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Variety is the spice of life! Spices are items for amusement, they keep life from getting boring.
  7. bocaboy

    bocaboy Fire Starter

    Yep, I live on St. Andrews between Yamato and Glades. I know the Tyco building very well and pass it often!
  8. bocaboy

    bocaboy Fire Starter

  9. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    I miss it there. Were thinking of moving back in a fee years
  10. bocaboy

    bocaboy Fire Starter

    Yotzee, I retired a few years ago and my wife and I made the decision not to move back to Manhattan, where we were from. I, too, like S. Florida. If you pass our way, give a holler and we can talk BBQ over a brew or two.
  11. grey

    grey Newbie

    I'm in a salt and pepper phase right now too.  Hint - try it on burgers.  My brisket go-to is salt, pepper, paprika in equal portions (kind of the same thing but reddish) but now I'm curious to try it on the pork ribs.  Good idea!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  12. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The traditional salt and pepper seasoning is used often in my house.

    As is a simple SPOG.

    For grilled burgers we like a simple salt and pepper with a very judicious splash of Worsty.

    Yes I use rubs.  Usually simpler rubs and more sparingly than in my early days of smoking.

    I often like my smoked meat meat without sauce.  My other half loves the sauce?   [​IMG]

    I like to let the taste of the meat come through.

    Of course, this is all a matter of personal taste.

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  13. I spent more than a few years trying many, many different marinades, rubs or combination thereof for the perfect steak on the grill.  After much experimentation, I now only use salt and pepper.  I've found it is hands down the BEST seasoning for steak.

    As for smoking?  Still experimenting but I tend to keep things simple.  One staple for a smoking pork rub is brown sugar, plus I always add salt (of course) and garlic.  Still messing around with other spices.
  14. yotzee

    yotzee Smoking Fanatic

    Absolutely!   We try to make it down at least annually to see friends.  May be hard this year with a new baby boy arriving in a few weeks, but I'm not giving up hope!
  15. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like an open worldwide invitation.  Everyone, Bocaboy's house this weekend for BBQ and beer!  [​IMG]  

    We are doing more SP and SPOG these days too.  So easy and just enhances the flavor of the meat.

    When I do use a rub, especially on ribs, we go light dusting.  On big cuts of meat like a butt or brisket I'll put a little more of whatever I'm using but no where near as much as I did when I first started.

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