I would like to offer my response to Tom Gates review of Rangers BBQ.
First let me start by saying, When reviewing a restaurant one should unbiasedly review the restaurant and not include another restaurant in the review.
Secondly you have stated that you were a BBQ judge for 6 years in the NW of the United States. Now with that said, I do not see anywhere in your review of the ribs from Rangers BBQ that you used the judging criteria that all BBQ judges use in the US. In case you didn't know what the criteria for judging ribs are, I have provided that for you. None of the criteria do I see in your review.
Here is what the Judging is based on:
Appearance. When rubbed, smoked over wood, and then glazed with a tomato-based sauce in the traditional fashion, Amazing Ribs have a deep ruddy glow with a glistening saucy sheen. The bones stick out only slightly, and the exposed marrow has usually turned black. If you pull two bones apart, the meat splits into long fibrous chards, dripping with moisture. Just below the sauce and the dark brown crust, called the bark, is a bright pink layer, about 1/8" deep, called the smoke ring a stamp of authenticity that comes from smoke, humidity, combustion gases, myoglobin in the meat, and magic. The rest of the meat is a khaki tan, glistening with moisture from meat juices, melted collagen and fats
Scent. The first thing to grab you by your nose is the seductive, aphrodisiac scent of hardwood turned to smoke. It is ethereal, sweet and fragrant - better than the best pipe tobacco. Woven in is usually a hint of caramelized sugar, like roasted marshmallows. And tieing it all together is usually a sharp vinegar thread. There should be an elegant undertone of wood smoke, perhaps with a hint of bacon, but not so much that it dominates, and definitely no bitterness or ashtray flavors. All this hovers above the bass notes: The seductive scent of roasted pork.
Pork flavor. Pork has a wonderful flavor, particularly some of the better breeds of pork. Whatever we do to the meat in the prep and the cooking should not kill the delicate essence of pork. That's the biggest problem with restaurant ribs. So many of them are boiled or held in warming ovens for so long that their natural meatiness is destroyed. They taste, and look, gray.Scent. The first thing to grab you by your nose is the seductive, aphrodisiac scent of hardwood turned to smoke. It is ethereal, sweet and fragrant - better than the best pipe tobacco. Woven in is usually a hint of caramelized sugar, like roasted marshmallows. And tieing it all together is usually a sharp vinegar thread. There should be an elegant undertone of wood smoke, perhaps with a hint of bacon, but not so much that it dominates, and definitely no bitterness or ashtray flavors. All this hovers above the bass notes: The seductive scent of roasted pork.
Seasonings. The seasonings, usually a spice rub, brine, or marinade must embed in the meats surface and enhance it, but not overwhelm it. Salt and pepper are usually big players, as are paprika, brown sugar, garlic and other essences.
Sauce. The sauce must complement and compliment the meat and smoke flavors. It is usually rich and slightly sweet to counterbalance the saltiness of the rub, but not cloying, with a zippy pepperiness and an acidic bite to counterbalance the sweetness. A hint of savory from herbs is a nice touch. It must remain subtle so as to not overwhelm the other components, and there should not be so much that it is gummy and goopy. In some places, especially along the Carolina coast, sauce is tart and vinegary, with heat and no sweet.
Texture. Below the sauce, the surface of the meat should have a crusty bark, a little crunchy and a little chewy. It should be tender yet still retain resistance and resilience when you bite into it, like a steak. It should pull off the bone cleanly and with little effort, leaving behind bare bone, but it should not fall off the bone. If it falls off the bone, chances are it has been boiled or steamed.
Moisture. The meat should be moist and juicy but not wet or mushy. The juices should come out during chewing, not cooking, and coat the tongue with flavor. Your salivary glands should not have to work too hard to spread the taste and lubricate the meat for swallowing.
Balance. The sum of all the parts must be harmonious. A glorious complex symphony of textures, aromas, and flavors, with none so strong as to dominate and mask the others. The sum of the parts should be greater than each piled on top of the other
Now, with that said, I am a professional Chef from the US. I have worked for some of the top restaurants in the US and have a very broad knowledge of most international cuisine. I have lived here in Mexico for 3 years and have been to Rangers BBQ many times since it has opened. I am from Alabama, and I too know what BBQ is.
Now let me address the BBQ sauce, as you should know there are 4 regions in US for BBQ and that includes but not limited to the BBQ sauce. Each region has its own sauces which are very distinct to that region. I will give you Rangers BBQ sauce is not tradition from any of the regions as a purist would like. The sauce is a basic BBQ Sauce with a twist towards the Mexican palate (since we are in Mexico) and most of Rangers clients are Mexican. So with that said, I think you should have recommended to Rangers that maybe they should offer an alternative classic BBQ sauce for those who do not like the more picante style sauce.
I would agree with you that eating ribs right out of the smoker are not exactly the same as ribs reheated the next day, however I have eaten ribs the day after they are cooked on the smoker and it is very difficult to tell the difference between the two if they were reheated correctly.
Now as far as smoking ribs or any other cut on a daily basis, it is next to impossible wit the costs involved. I would Guarantee you that the other places do not smoke using real Mesquite wood for their product on a daily basis except for one. That is the The Brisket house and they are only open for service 3 days a week and are totally dedicated to BBQ
You also kept eluding to USDA products from Costco. Well sir I would agree with you if you were talking about beef but, we are talking about pork spare ribs. As we both know or should know the ribs are defined by the cut of the ribs, meaning to say the trim of the rib like St. Louis cut or full spare rack and as we know Baby Back are from another part of the pig.
So with that said, I would defy you to tell me the difference to spare ribs purchased fresh here in Mexico and the Spare ribs purchased at Costco. I will smoke both types of ribs on the same exact smoker with the same rub and I will challenge you to tell me the difference. (if you are up for the challenge) in front of your peers.
I do not see anywhere on your posts where you have reviewed Wabba (Oh let me see the same rules don’t apply) because of your bias opinion.
Bud Randolph, CEC
Certified Executive Chef