Ha !!! No, we didn’t make a trip to Mobile. No, this isn’t Uncle Cindy’s Rib review for 2004. Although she was kind enough to share this slab. What you’re looking at is a frozen, vacuum sealed slab of pork ribs, sauce & bread included. Me being a BBQ/Meat snob, I questioned the whole frozen meat situation. However, pork is pretty damned versatile and I have to say, this easy smoked pork rib meal was worth every penny Uncle Cindy spent.
Here’s how it shows up. Thick plastic and frozen solid. Not real crazy complicated. That yellow sticker on there has some real detailed instructions. One needs to know how to warm/prepare the ribs without screwing it up. I disregarded them of course, I felt the oven temperature was too high for too short a time. I chose my own method of a 300 degree oven just below center rack in oven, wrapped in foil with a few dribbles of water for 40 minutes. I’m sure their method works fine, but I don’t mind waiting. Oh yeah, you gotta thaw them first. Don’t attempt this with frozen meat. A few days in the fridge takes care of that real easy like.
Here they are thawed and ready for the oven. As I removed the meat from the package I noticed a bit of congealed fat around the meat, excellent. I also drew in a half dozen deep breathes from the smoked meat to see if I could detect any creosote (smouldering fire maintained by nitwit), no bitter creosote present. Excellent. We’re a GO!
As the ribs were warming, I pulled out the bread and warmed it a bit (no toasting). The sauce needed to be simmered a bit, so there’s that. It smelled GREAT !!!! Yay for sauce. I didn’t taste it yet, I wanted to try it on the meat first.
Click on the image and get the larger copy, it was ~that~ good.
Whip out your largest, sharpest knife and slice out the ribs. Lay 3 down over pretty lettuce and droozle sauce over all, enough to pool on the plate just a bit. Add bread, serve immediately.
The sauce tasted first of liquid smoke, appropriate for that part of the country. Then lightly of cayenne, niiice. Sweet pulled in a bit after that leaving some nice vinegar tartness on the way out. It is a thin sauce with no bits, not like chubby ketchuppy crap.
Speaking of chubby ketchuppy crap, one of the local papers around here, I believe it was the San Francisco Chronicle ran an article/review/taste test of some pre-made BBQ sauce choices. The testers found they din’t like the traditional BBQ sauce, they went for the west coast style of thick sugary stuff about the consistency of drywall paste. I am embarrassed to admit I live near these heathens and for the moment, there’s nothing I can do about it.
Now that I’ve made my way though the sauce and found that I like it mucho, I was in to the meat to see how that went. I left some meat dry so I could catch what I could in the way of pork flavor versus smokey flavor. Smokey flavor was first and not over-powering, just about where you’d need it. After that I seached, using my meat-tuned sensor, for pork flavor. After all, this IS all about the Meat isn’t it? Surely. Damed if I didn’t find pork meat flavor there too, that’s impressive. Hey man, not bad for frozen smoked pork from over two thousand miles away.
That being said, they got a few demerits. One of the points that smoked pork ribs must pass, is how easy is it to get the meat off the bone? I really had to pull and bite to get my meat off the bone. There is a VERY fine line in this area. The meat CANNOT be mushy, the meat CANNOT fall off the bone when raised and yet, when pulled with the teeth it must come free. It’s tough to do. The Pit Master at Dreamland clearly knows this and probably under cooks the ribs just a tad so they’ll stand up to us west coast morons attempting to reheat their ribs. They mentioned tossing the slab under a broiler for a few minutes on the last leg of their reheating and this would most likely cook the ribs to the correct meat/bone/pull point. I don’t believe my warming method was off, I could hear the ribs sizzling when I pulled them.
As an overall product, I give this a a solid two greasy drippy thumbs up. For crissakes, just look at the image up there!
If you don’t have the skill, don’t have access to a local BBQ place or live too far up in the wine country, dial up Dreamland and have them send you a slab pronto, you won’t be let down.
3314 Old Shell Road
Mobile, AL 36607
Would *I* steer you wrong about food? Especially lip-smacking ribs! We went there again just last week and they were heavenly. Mmmmmmmmm (I have one more slab in my freezer just itchin’ to be heated through!)
Dreamland is my all-time favorite BBQ. I’m sure I’ve mentioned them before in other comments.
I’ve eaten at the Tuscaloosa one several times. That’s the original location. I don’t know how the branches are. You show up, the waitress looks at your table and says, “You need two. What do you want to drink?”. If you hesitate, she walks away and that’s it for you. She comes back, drops off 2 servings of ribs and a huge serving of white bread. Man, that place is great.