I was reading a few post about ribs and it got me thinking
I love how rib meat turns pink after it has been smoked . My Father had a old Hasty Bake BBQ that he turned out those Pink meated ribs on. The thing was a huge box shaped BBQ that I called the nuclear Q. I called it that because it looked like a safe place to hide if there was ever a nuclear war. At the time I thought I could just jump inside it and be safe no matter what happened. The Nuclear Q was shaped just like a big box with a tapered stainless steel top and a black metal base. The BBQ rested on 2 old metal casters that kept falling loose every time it was moved and 2 straight wheels that looked like they had come off a soap box derby cart with thin tires . There was a tray with a hinged door that snapped on and off the front of the BBQ . The tray was used as storage for wet matches that probably started off dry, old greasy rags that had cleaned off the grill grates, a wire brush that looked like it had come from the stone ages and extra paper used to light the charcoal. The best part about that tray was every time I opened it it gave off the scent which was the perfect essence of a smoky BBQ. When he wasn't BBQing he put the tray on the inside of the BBQ it got beat up and just being near it I could smell all that smoky goodness that had clung to it. Somehow the nuclear Q would not be the same without that beat up old tray . To light the BBQ he opened the side door cranked up the charcoal tray to make room to shove a bunch of crumpled up paper directly underneath the charcoal tray . Then he would light the paper with a match that always seemed to blow out a few times before he got the paper lit and going . There was a whole system to getting the coals to light and no lighter fluid was ever used sometimes it took a few tries or some extra paper before the coals actually got burning but he always got it going . I could never light the Nuclear Q like he did ,he had a way of getting that BBQ lit down to a science. I don't know if it was how tight the paper was crumbled, how much paper he put in or the spacing of the paper , whatever it was he got it burning every time . He cranked the charcoal tray up and down to keep the BBQ at a perfect temp opening and closing vents on both sides to allow for a perfect air flow adding more coals or hickory when needed. Even in the dead of winter he would be BBQing running outside every 10 or 15 minutes checking on the fire to make sure it was just right. The smoky flavor would come from hickory chips he soaked in water . He started soaking the hickory at least a hour before he even lit the BBQ . The bucket full of the soaking hickory chips did not smell to great when I walked by but once the soaked hickory went on the smoldering charcoals and started making smoke it gave off a scent that has to be close to what it smells like in BBQ heaven. After the fire really got burning the smoke would pour out of the vent holes on both sides like the smoke coming out of the stack of a old steam train fueled by wood burning logs . When he opened the BBQ lid a huge cloud of smoke would come billowing out giving anyone near it the perfume of hickory smoke The ribs were always cooked using low indirect heat and stayed on the BBQ for abut 3 hours . There was nothing fancy for the BBQ sauce just open pit and a pre seasoning on the ribs of salt, pepper, lawerys, garlic salt and accent. When he went to the store he always seemed to study the ribs for a while before he picked out the slabs he wanted. He seemed to find ribs with lots of meat to bone ratio not just between the bones but on top perched like a little Mountain of rib meat. His ribs were not the fall of the bone type ribs or the ribs you had to tear off the bone like a cave man either. My dads nuclear Q ribs were cooked to that perfect place right in between where they were tender but you still had to work a bit and bite and chew. When the ribs were done he would slice a few off a slab and we would have the ceremonial taste test . There was always one of two possibility after the tasting, perfect or 15 more minute and it was usually perfect. The BBQ had a wonderful smoky aroma to it even when it was not lit just walking by I would get hungry . Those ribs were like the crack of BBQ...I love Pink rib meat.