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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 01-15-2013, 10:47 PM   #1
flyingbassman5
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Default Opinion of STL BBQ from a true St. Louian.

What makes StL Q; ( Warning!! .:rant ahead:. Warning!! )

So I've been seeing a lot of people ranting and raving about STL style ribs. Every now and then I come across some one who thinks that Saint Louis ribs are actually cut from the pig as STL style. Wrong!!! Oh well..

Anywho, as a born and raised Saint Louis native, Stl cut ribs aren't really the rage here. I find most guys around here cook up babybacks or full on spares. I'm in the spares crowd and leave them pretty much untrimmed.

All the local Q joints do, however serve up the stl cut spares with the advertisement of "fall off the bone" good.... I like my ribs to stay in one piece until they reach my mouth, but I digress.

All the Q joints really, IMO are the reason so many people see spares trimmed up nice and uniform as STL style ribs. Why the trimmed spares got the STL style label is up for debate, but from what I have heard and read, it stems from the vast amount of pork processors in the area around the 1950's. Customers at meat markets wanted spares cut down nice and uniform without the extra "useless" weight from the rib tips. It eventually caught on and the STL "style" was born. It spread and eventually became a staple in prepping ribs.

But hey! StL BBQ isn't just about the ribs. True StL Q involves pork steaks, cooked over charcoal on a Weber, and drenched in a bottle of Maul's Original Q sauce until its sticky and HOT! Really to make anything St. Louis BBQ one must simply sauce choice protein item in the last 30 minutes of the cook with a thin, tangy, tomato based sauce. Whether its pork steaks, pork shoulder, or a fat pork loin we here in the Lou know our way around a swine.

Making up another key part of STL Q is the use of Hickory smoke. Its all I use and all A LOT of local joints will use. Here in Missouri, especially in the Ozarks, its farking EVERYWHERE!! Oak is second but because hickory is good with just about anything, especially pork, its a first choice of most around here.

Finally, the sauce. St. Louis BBQ sauce is unique. It combines the tomato basis of KC style but with less sugar and more vinegar. This results in a thin, almost watery, tangy sauce with a hint of sweetness. It's great for basting and still "sets up" and gets sticky.

So why the book on STL BBQ? Well, because I could.

But mostly it stemmed from boredom and the feeling that many people under-rate St. Louis style BBQ. Plus, who the fark else is gonna sit and read my rant besides a bunch of farkers like yourselves!! I love me some good Q-talk!

Thanks Brethren for an awesome site!!
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Unread 01-15-2013, 11:19 PM   #2
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I admit I'm not a big fan of STL style "Q" But a Pork tenderloin samich the size of a hub cap from a 67 Imperial is food of the gods
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Unread 01-16-2013, 02:33 AM   #3
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Stl is all about pork steaks (from the butt)
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Unread 01-16-2013, 06:39 AM   #4
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As a St. Louisian myself, I can not support the OP.
The only ones not doing St. Louis style ribs in St. Louis are those who don't know how.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 07:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmad View Post
As a St. Louisian myself, I can not support the OP.
The only ones not doing St. Louis style ribs in St. Louis are those who don't know how.
I disagree. What makes cooking stl cut ribs different than cooking a rack of untrimmed spares? Not much because they are the same thing. Stl style is simply trimmed more so than spares.

Nothing against the stl style, but I think a lot of folks think they are more popular here than they really are. And its really not a "style" of cooking ribs, all it really is is the way a rack of spares gets cut. You could take a rack of stl cut ribs and do them Memphis style with just a dry rub and still call them stl style. That of course just wouldn't make sense.

All MHO of course..X
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Last edited by flyingbassman5; 01-16-2013 at 08:54 AM.. Reason: bad grammar
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Unread 01-16-2013, 08:24 AM   #6
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I really like your definition of a St. Louis style sauce. Explained it perfectly!
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Unread 01-16-2013, 08:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmad View Post
As a St. Louisian myself, I can not support the OP.
The only ones not doing St. Louis style ribs in St. Louis are those who don't know how.
Actually I find in these parts people like the untrimmed ones. Maybe cause they're getting "more" for their money, or just cause everyone offers St. Louis cut and untrimmed is a nice change?? Who knows....
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Unread 01-16-2013, 12:08 PM   #8
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It really is all about the pork steak here. I'm not real big on Maulls, I use SBR, but I que pork steaks probably more than anything. Cheap, easy and damn good. The rest of the country doesn't know what they're missing!

Oh and I do my ribs STL style. I like eating the tips while I wait for the ribs to finish.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 12:16 PM   #9
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So pork steaks are just a sliced up butt?
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Unread 01-16-2013, 12:32 PM   #10
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Quote:
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So pork steaks are just a sliced up butt?
Yup.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 12:43 PM   #11
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The only reason I started trimming my spares St. Louie style was I couldn't fit more than one full rack on my little Char-Broil water smoker that was missing a cooking grate. I upgraded to a bigger smoker and that took care of that problem. I sure do love me some full spares!
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Unread 01-16-2013, 12:57 PM   #12
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around here, a sliced up butt is called country ribs and a pork steak is cut from a whole loin.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQchef33 View Post
around here, a sliced up butt is called country ribs and a pork steak is cut from a whole loin.
I believe if it is cut from a pork loin, it becomes a loin chop or loin steak. Also a very very good cut of pork that is boneless and fantastic when wrapped in bacon!

As already mentioned, the staple of STL BBQ is the pork steak that is, yes, just a sliced up bone in pork butt.
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:25 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheeaa View Post
It really is all about the pork steak here. I'm not real big on Maulls, I use SBR, but I que pork steaks probably more than anything. Cheap, easy and damn good. The rest of the country doesn't know what they're missing!

Oh and I do my ribs STL style. I like eating the tips while I wait for the ribs to finish.
Man I love pork steaks!! I've never had it prepared the way you guys are talking about though. Can y'all recommend a recipe for someone who's a newb at that particular style? I'm going to the search engine now!
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Unread 01-16-2013, 01:33 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrn View Post
Man I love pork steaks!! I've never had it prepared the way you guys are talking about though. Can y'all recommend a recipe for someone who's a newb at that particular style? I'm going to the search engine now!
There is all kinds of ways to do them, it's just a matter of preference. You can grill, smoke, braise, whatever. I prefer to smoke them at 250 or so for about an hour, cover in sauce until it sets, then throw on the grill a couple minutes each side, then add more sauce. If you want completely fall apart tender, after you smoke them, put them in a sauce bath until they get there.
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