So there I was, back in the old west, sun beating down as I walked the dusty isles of my local Publix grocery store.  Well, not exactly but when I go shopping with the wife I tend to drift off into fantasy land orrrr over to the meat counter.

This particular day I was wandering around looking for a boston butt to smoke for my sons teachers.  It was teacher appreciation day that next week and what better way to show my appreciation than to cook both of them a pound or so of the worlds best BBQ?  I was having the butcher get a worthy piece of pork in the 8 pound range and while waiting I spied something I had not noticed before.  Beef Back Ribs!?  Looking over the selection of pre-cut ribs and not having a clue what to do for dinner on Sunday I thought to myself...self...you need to give these a try.  Besides they were on sale for cheap, I had to smoke the butt the next day and would have plenty of extra room, and the risk/reward calculation was in my favor.  So I grabbed a couple of packs and with my butt I headed home.

Once I had them back I sat for a few minutes thinking of the best way to get these ribs ready.  I went to my handy dandy website for my smoked brisket rub recipe and decided to use that as my rub since it is just that darned good.  Rubbed up the ribs and let them collect all that good flavoring overnight.  The next day I had the smoker going early for the butt and figuring to eat dinner around 6 o'clock I put the ribs on at 2:30.  Would have been 3 but my son had baseball practice then.  I let the ribs smoke until about 5:15 or so and pulled them off.  Could have done it a little sooner but being the first time I wanted to make sure they came off clean.  And they did.  Added some of my homemade KC Style sauce like I do on my brisket and the whole family loved them.  Just wish we had gotten more.  Not a lot of meat when it is all said and done but very good and a different option if you are tired of pork.

So to recap.  Buy the ribs.  Rub with my brisket rub.  Let sit overnight if you can.  Smoke at 225-250 for about 2 1/2 hours.  If you buy them where they are not pre-cut you may have to go a little longer.  Just look for the meat to pull back from the ends by about an inch or so to know they are ready.

Don't forget.  www.backyardbbqstuds.weebly.com.

Alright I admit it.  I am in love with sausage cheese balls as a snack.  Whenever they are around the house they last about 2 days before I consume most of the 40 or so that they make.

Being bored last weekend because of the rain I decided I had waited long enough and I broke out all the fixins for a delightful afternoon of gorging myself.  As I stared out the window preparing myself for the task at hand, I saw old faithful down below the deck looking just as bored as I was.  Not being one to leave someone out if they are willing to participate I grabbed the charcoal, chimney starter and some hickory and went to work firing up my old smoker friend.  Knowing this was to be a quick smoke at higher than normal temperatures I really piled up the charcoal in the chimney and got it lit.

While the charcoal was starting I went to the kitchen and began to prepare to make the suasage balls.  I grabbed 2 pounds of sausage, 2 blocks of sharp cheddar cheese, 3 cups of Bisquick, and some hot bbq sauce.  Now the sauce I used was from the legendary Lexington BBQ 1 in Lexington NC.  My fabulous mother brought some down on her visit and it was just what the doctor ordered.  Vinegar based and spicy. 

Once I had everything put into the mixing bowl it was time to get the charcoal in the smoker.  I piled it to let it get up to temp (325 - 350).  I went back to work in the kitchen mixing all the ingredients and forming approximately 1" balls.  When finished I went to the smoker, made sure it was up to temp, added some wood for the smoke and placed the sausage balls at the end of the smoker.  Cook them for 15 - 30 minutes depending on how hot the smoker stays.  When done place them on a tray to cool and brush with a little more bbq or hot sauce.  Now I will warn not to try this at a lower temp as I did the first time.  Cooked them at about 250 degrees and they would not setup.  By the time they were done (1 hour +) they were too smokey and tasted like I was licking a burt log.  Not that that stopped my from eating them, but the second go round was much better.  Remember, bread based products need higher heat.

Anyway that is all there is to it.  If you get bored one weekend just look for something to smoke and go to it.  The worst thing that can happen is you killed some time, but got to know your smoker a little bit better.

Happy smoking.

Anyone that loves to BBQ can find great ways to take their passion to the streets.  Earlier this year I started putting together an email list of a handful of friends that I know enjoy eating BBQ.  To help pay for my addiction of cooking it I decided one day to just shoot out an email and see if anyone would pay for me to cook extra.  To my surprise I was able to sell 10 to 12 pounds of pulled pork.  I included their choice of homemade sauces. 

I am happy to report it inspired me to do this about once a month.  Then in the fall I was talking to some folks at the softball park where my daughter plays and suggested they start selling BBQ in addition to the frozen hamburger they offered.  I ended up cooking 4 to 5 pounds every weekend for them.  It was a new item and by the end of the short season they had people asking about it during the weekdays.  I am hoping the spring season will be bigger as there are more teams playing which translates to more customers.

It really has been a lot of fun this year and I do love smoking BBQ.  If anyone has any similar experiences I would love to hear from you.
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