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After watching BBQ Pitmasters last season and the latest show with Johnny Trigg, I figured I'd like to try his technique on ribs. Afterall, he has had great success with competition ribs. So, I got online and looked up his technique (which is secret but some think they have figured it out).

I saw several threads about his style, and the comments by this fellow pretty much covers what a number of folks stated:

"As for the liquid that Johnny put in the bottom of the ribs (when he foils), my guess is apple juice. This helps to steam and tenderize and flavor the ribs. Now, as for that margarine/honey/brown sugar frosting on the ribs, beware that this will almost literally turn 'em into candy. That's great if you're only gonna eat a bite or two as you get the "Wow" factor that BBQ judges are looking for, but not so great IMO for a backyard BBQ wherein you'll be eating several bones. Rather, I just apply more of the BBQ rub at this stage if I choose to foil along with some apple cider. Most of the time, I skip foiling altogether and just mist with a apple cider/whiskey mix every hour or so. To each their own though... some people like candy. Any kids there would probably love the rib candy."

Never thought about the "wow" factor for the judges. Any thoughts about his ribs being too sweet for a full dinner. I believe some on this forum know Mr. Trigg. Have you ever had his comp ribs for a meal?
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Pags I found THIS over at Bretheren.

Last year I chatted with Chris Hart of IQUE at The Harpoon NE Championship contest. He says they've found that a combo of sweet & heat seems to do well with the judges. Next month I'm attending his competition class so I'll report back with any "secrets".

As for Mr. Triggs ribs, heck, I'll eat as many as he'll put on my plate Smiler
I agree on the sweet and heat. But to add on to that, I think up front sweet and back of the mouth heat is the best. The heat is there for flavor and for balance against the sweet.

And I currently have three racks of SL Spares on and am cooking them comp style. And I have no problem eating my comp style ribs for dinner!
RibDog, any suggestions on ingredients/ratios for my foiling experiment? In the past I've done equal amounts of honey and Q sauce, half that much margarine. This time around I'm thinking brown sugar, honey, margarine and a few shakes of Tiger Sauce...maybe some onion powder and a bit of Honey Rub. Thoughts? I'm about 2 hrs away from foiling.
Today's goal was competition style loin backs a la Johnny Trigg. Three racks in the 2.75# range. I gave them a light dusting of Lawry's Seasoned Salt and a rub consisting of 1 part Butchers Honey Rub + 1 part TxBBQ Championship rub.

Started them for an hour at 180 using Cookshack Hickory pellets. Kicked the temp up to 275 and gave them two more hours. Foiled them with 4 oz margarine, 4 oz brown sugar, 2 oz maple syrup and a tbsp of Tiger Sauce. Cooked 'em meat side down for 45 minutes. Removed them from foil, painted them with home brewed Que sauce and gave them 15 more minutes.

End result...not as sweet as I had expected. A bit of candy like texture on the top meat but the spice from the rub and heat from the Tiger Sauce played off well. I was very happy and 3 adults and 2 kids ate all but 5 ribs Smiler

My work is done...time for a tasty adult beverage Smiler
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Well, first of all, I always use SL ribs for comp purposes as I feel they have a more porky flavor. With everything else that is being put on them, they need to have porkiness to stand out in the end.

When I foil, I use 1/2 of peach preserves spread evenly over the meat side of the rack, then a handful of light brown sugar spread as evenly as possible. Then I put a back and forth squirt of Parkay over the length of the rack.

Once they come out of the foil, I scrape off any pieces of peach on them. They then get a heated mixture of 4 parts sauce, 1 part honey, and just a few spinkles of cayenne to offset the honey and for flavor. If you can taste the heat, you used too much.

Once glazed, they go back on the smoker for 10-15 minutes to stiffen up the glaze.

Does that help?
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MaxQue--those look fantastic. Going to try it next time I do ribs. As you know, I want to try the Trigg method.

RibDog--Sounds like a winner. The Parkay is just a once back and forth or a few waves of the Parkay across the ribs?

When you foil, do you stack the racks on top of each other or do you lay them side by side in the foil?

I've bookmarked this page. My wife loves sauce on her ribs. Think she'll be a happy camper with both of these techniques.

I remember a recipe I've done a couple times--suggested by Todd. Not the Trigg method or use of foil, but after smoking the ribs finish them off on the grill with a combo of half strawberry preserves and half barbecue sauce for the glaze. Quite tasty.
You guys are pretty close on his rib recipe. What you are missing is the rub. That is where the heat comes from. The rub he uses is called "Rib Tickler". It is made by Williams Foods out of Texas. I get mine from The Kansas City BBQ Store. The rub along with Parkay, Brown Sugar, Tiger sauce and Honey. The other night on Pit Masters is the first time I new about a glaze. He never mentioned that last year. Good Luck!
Ribdog your technique sounds scrumptious. A question on Parkay: I assume the squeeze bottles are used to allow more accuracy in how much is used? In my part of the world (Vermont) Parkay (squeeze or regular) isn't available. Would any softened stick margarine work?

JT Smokin, thanks for the heads-up on Rib Tickler.
@cal - You are most welcome. Something was said once by a famous bbq comp cook, Mike Scrutchfield, that even if he told someone every step he used in his cooking process, you still had to be a good cook to come up with a good end product. That is why I don't mind sharing.

@Pags - I put each rack of ribs in a piece of foil by itself. And the Parkay is just like a wave pattern, back and forth, in one continuous line down the rack. Don't get wrapped up too much of the details as the Parkey will melt within a few minutes. I use the wave pattern to try and get an even dispersal over the rack when it melts.

@Max - I don't see why you could not use the softened margarine. Heck, you could probably put the softened marg. in a squeeze bottle and use that.

Max, one thing I noticed about your finished ribs is the bits and pieces of rub on the ribs. If this for a competition, quite a few judges I know do not like a gritty feel when they bite into a rib. Including me. It makes you wonder what you are biting. Especially on ribs where you can get bone dust or bone chips from a bad butchering job.
Last edited by ribdog
Originally posted by RibDog:

Max, one thing I noticed about your finished ribs is the bits and pieces of rub on the ribs.

The TexasBBQ Champ Rub has course ground pepper in it. I use it primarily for brisket but wanted to try it on ribs...with a bit of smoothing from the Butcher Honey Rub. Thanks for the tip...wouldn't have ever thought of that.
One of the first suggestions that I make to anyone who wishes to compete is to become a certified judge and some contests. Not only will you learn what is being turned in, you will what judges like and dislike.

Being that all four of us were judges when we started cooking as FirehouseBBQ way back when is why I think we started out so well.

@Pags - It is the smallest of details that will trip you up in comps. And usually the simplest things to fix.
Well. We had the ribs tonight. Followed a combination of MaxQue's and Ribdog's recipes.

I lightly sprinkled with Lawry's Seasoned salt and rubbed with Dr. Barbecue's BBQ Rub. Into the smoker at 180* for an hour then kicked up to 275* for 2 hrs. Used the Johnny Trigg recipe as described by MaxQue(foiled them meat down with 4 oz margarine, 4 oz brown sugar, 2 oz maple syrup and a tbsp of Tiger Sauce combined and squirted fairly heavily on them. I did 3 racks and had enough of this stuff for a couple more racks). Put them into the smoker for another hour. After I foiled, I used RibDogs glaze (heated mixture of 4 parts Memphis barbecue sauce, 1 part honey, and just a few sprinkles of cayenne. If you can taste the heat, you used too much). I let them sit in the smoker unfoiled for another 15 minutes to set the glaze. Took them out and double heavy duty foil/beach towel for 20 minutes.

OMG. Best ribs yet. Four other people ate them. Got 2 "best ever". A "these are awesome". And a "did you take good notes" from the little woman.

Thanks MaxQue and RibDog for all the help. They were moist, smokey (I used a packet of cherry pellets and 2 chunks of hickory), flavorful, sweet with a slight spice followup. Glad I started the post cause my attempt would have missed the target. The Johnny Trigg technique and the glaze combined nicely.
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The folks who dined on the baby/loin backs last weekend have begged their' way back for more this coming weekend.

I'm planning to do RibDogs SL spares with his peach foiling component and the Johnny Trigg rub he mentioned, if it gets here in time. Add to that a CAB packer brisket and some yummy "sides".

I'll report back with pics and tasting notes.
Ya'll have some good eating ahead of you.

Don't skip Ribdog's comment that each recipe/technique is a complete piece of work.

Often,using just parts of several doesn't produce the same results.

The most important tip could still be Smokin's "take good notes and adjust one thing at a time"

A quick note/anecdote is we have been fortunate to set up next to John and Trish a bunch of times over the last few years..

At comps,drbbq feeds a small group of cooks on Friday night and fixes spares the "Trish Trigg way" with beans and some smoked sausage.

It is sraight backyard style,which is what she and John prefer to eat.

It is covered earlier in the archives,to show the comparison to what cooks actually eat. Wink
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Now Pags,you know, that ya could find a guide line in one of them books on proportions and try once. To tell you the truth. What folks in the SE like and folks out West like is from day to night and that's not counting us sane folks here in the Heartland. lol...This is why I'm judging to see what the judges seem to taste. Just a thought!

Try once and see what you think "you will like" and correct from there.
Cal. I see you're busting my chops again.

I actually like trying different recipes from other parts of the country. Nice to know how others like their stuff when they talk food. Why can't a Chicago boy enjoy a Carolina "Sammich"?

I've lived in Chicago area, Buffalo area, and Sacramento area and travelled a bit for work. Really enjoy different cuisines. How boring eating the same stuff over and over. Eat your ribs dry using the KISS method. Try Johnny Trigg's technique. Give RibDog's a try. Hey. If someone is proud of their results, I'll give it a shot. Especially when it sounds like they know what they're talking about. Smiler
One more comment about what folks in other areas like to eat/taste.

One of our mentors had been taught to go to a town's large grocery and look at the bbq sauce shelves.

Not counting the cheap "lossleader",look at what sells mostly.

The other is" new to travel cooks" ask what changes they should make to go to different areas to suit the judges.

The judges are trained to a "standard",altho just taste can be somewhat subjective.

The other thing is many of the certified judges travel the whole bbq circuit,so you could get the same guy in FL,TN,and Canada.

Most advise to "cook what you cook best".

There are also so many cooking classes that much of the good product out there can seem almost "generic to America".

Just a couple things to ponder. Smiler
Well. I couldn't put it off any longer. I had to give RibDog's rib technique a try. So yesterday I invited my son and his fiance as well as my daughter and grandkids to join Maur and me for the feast. As usual, I focused on the ribs and my wife focused on everything else. Except the wine. Wink

I still prefer baby backs so that's what I went with (I think it's the texture I like from the loin section). Lightly sprinkled them with Lawry's Season salt and then coated them with Williams Rib Tickler rub. Into the smoker with a couple chunks of hickory and wild cherry chopped into smaller pieces. Followed RibDog's technique to the tee so I won't repeat it here (it's in a couple of the above posts).

Well. Now I know why John goes by the RibDog handle. He knows his ribs. The ribs turned out delicious, tender, pull off the bone. Sweet with a mild spicy follow up. While we ate I received compliments from everyone except my granddaughter. She was too busy chomping down. Ate 5 ribs which is a record for her. She's tiny.

We had 1.5 racks left over. Into the FoodSaver bags and the freezer. Looks like we'll enjoy them again for dinner next week.

Funny. I always thought I made good ribs until I bought a Cookshack and joined this forum. Thanks to Ribdog, MaxQue, Smokin, Todd, Tom and others I'm now making the best ribs (and Q) of my life. This forum rocks.
I had to try these methods too. I have been making some good ribs but not what I would consider great, until now. I used the Rib Tickler rub and cooked one rack with the Trigg/MaxQue foil and glaze method and one rack with the RibDog foil and glaze method.

These were definetly the best ribs I have made and my wife agreed. Personally, I liked RibDog's a little better. I can't thank everyone enough for sharing their techniques, especially John (RibDog)& MaxQue.
Well, I thought I like dry ribs until I made these! I followed MaxQue Technique almost to the letter. The only difference was that I rubbed the ribs with honey before I applied the mix of rubs he suggested. Also, I added a LOT more Tiger Sauce to the Parkay glaze. My wife REALLY liked these. I probed the ribs, but resisted the urge to "fool" with them during the cook. I relied completely on the time lines. THANKS to MaxQue for the recipe and Pags for starting the thread!!

BTW, I gave my neighbor who has been "jonesing" for my smoker, a little over a half rack and he thought they were some of the best ribs he ever had!
OK, OK, now I am HOOKED......but my wife is TOTALLY addicted to these... I did 6 racks this past weekend with the intention of putting at least 4 in the freezer. ONE made it, lol. While I was doing them Saturday, she asked if she could invite some of her friends over to share, then a buddy of mine came by and then the leftovers............

SIGH, oh well....... Big Grin

Glad the process worked. But some advice. The times WILL vary. You can't do this for a set time. The size of the ribs will change how they come out. Just watch that as you do these more. I always suggest that you weigh your ribs to know how to monitor the times.

Congrats on finding a method.
We've made ribs using the MaxQue Method, oops, the Johnny Trigg method, a couple times now and combined it with Rib Dog's barbecue sauce. We love it.

I used the Lawry's Season Salt/Rib Tickler rub to start, the same margerine/Tiger Sauce combo, and Rib Dog's barbecue sauce each time. They turn out great. Also, followed RibDog's to the T, and they are also awesome.
I always like to toss in this one last thought, about all these fine cooks.

We've had the pleasure of setting up by John and Trish Trigg for several years and the even greater pleasure of being Ribdog's teammate for even more years.

Neither of these fine cooks fix their personal dining ribs this way.

Actually, at contests,they tend to eat pizza,fried fish,or maybe Chinese when we go out. Big Grin

These are for comps and comp practice.

Just something to ponder. Wink

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