Louisiana is barbecue country.
No, we will never be mistaken for Texas where barbecue is more religion than sustenance, nor shall we be confused with Alabama where the landscape is scored with hundreds of smokehouses and the love of smoked meat approaches religious fervor.
What makes Louisiana a capitol of barbecue is the meat-loving Cajuns that are scattered all over the state; they’re putting out world-class barbecue in backyards, front yards and any other parcel of turf where they can park a smoker.
They’re not plotting out roadtrips across the state to eat at temples of smoked meat as there are none.
If you want great barbecue in our state you’re going to have to buy a smoker and cook it yourself (ed.note: Unless you’re within striking distance of Johnson’s Boucaniere in Lafayette, the only restaurant proper in Louisiana where we’ve had barbecue that can reach the apogee of places like John Mueller Meat Company in Austin or Archibald’s Barbecue in Northport, Alabama)
So that’s what we did on a recent afternoon in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans. We built a big fire in our backyard smoker and threw a rack of pork spareribs on it.
Here’s our recipe for Cajun Barbecue Pork Ribs
1 Rack Ribs, Pork, Spare
1 T. Paprika
1 T. Salt, Kosher
1 T. Black Pepper
1 T. White Pepper
1 T. Garlic Powder
1 T. Onion Powder
1 T. Brown Sugar
1 T. Cayenne
combine spices thoroughly
* Place rib rack on cutting board, concave (bone) side up
* Using a sharp knife cut a slit up each bone splitting the membrane vertically
* Liberally sprinkle Cajun seasoning rub over concave side of rib rack
* Flip rack over and sprinkle Cajun seasoning rub over convex side of ribs
* Build fire (We use roughly 18 hardwood briquets, placing them on one side of Weber smoker/grill)
* Light fire, when briquets glow gray, smother with six chunks of American hardwood (We use Hickory)
* Place rack opposite of fire and open vent over ribs
* Cook with vent wide open for 30 minutes then close vent halfway for duration of fire
* The fire described will burn for approximately two hours at which time your ribs will be well cooked but not “falling off the bone”
These ribs need no sauce
The Cajun seasoning rub recipe is of sufficient volume to provide leftovers which can be used for any number of purposes. We sprinkle it over pork chops, hamburgers and have even been known to use it on sweet corn cooked on the grill. It is divine.
We love the assertive flavor of Hickory wood but use your favorite American hardwood for your fire. We love Oak, Pecan and the woods of fruit trees as well.
We’ve lived in three states that can each lay a good claim to being the barbecue capitol of the world: Kentucky, Alabama and Texas. Acolytes of each firmly maintain that their region is the one true king of smoked meat.
We love the barbecue mutton of Kentucky, the pork shoulders of Alabama and the beef briskets of Texas equally and have spent countless hours hovering over our old smoker in the backyard duplicating each states’ rendition of smoked meat.
But there is something about these Cajun pork ribs that really makes our hearts sing. Nobody on earth loves to cook and eat like the Cajuns and this rib recipe is solid Louisiana gold. It is simply beyond improvement.
Bon Appetit Y’all