I recently hinted that there might be more BBQ related content shared here on my personal blog, and this post is going to get that kicked off. I plan on sharing techniques, recipes and reviews. Before I get into this review of the Artestia 15″ Extra Wide Rib Rack, let me say that I was not provided with these racks in exchange for a review, I bought them out of my own pocket, with my own hard earned cash.
Before I get to far into this post, perhaps a little background on what rib racks are, and why I chose this particular product. In the simplest terms possible, rib racks allow you to cook racks of ribs vertically instead of laying flat in your smoker. This allows you to cook a lot more at one them as you can pack more meat into the same amount of grill space. I have tried numerous rib racks over the years, and all of them had one flaw, they were simply to narrow to allow for a whole rack or ribs. When I came across the Artestia extra wide rib rack on Amazon it seemed like this might bit my needs.
Why are narrower rib racks a problem? Simply put, a narrow rib rack doesn’t support the entire rack of ribs and unless you cut them in half, the ribs will lay on top of each other.
As you can see from this image, the Artestia rack does a very good job of supporting the entire width of a full rack of ribs, exactly what I was looking for.
This rack has slots for 4 racks or ribs, and the slots are spaced enough to allow the ribs to be in the rack without touching the other rack. You do have to watch how you load the rack though, I found that I needed to alternate the thick / narrow ends of the racks of ribs to get even spacing. For those that don’t know, racks of ribs are thicker on one end than the other.
While the space between each rack isn’t huge, it is more than enough to allow for an even flow of heat and smoke around the ribs.
I cook my ribs in a 3-2-1 style, this means that the the first 3 hours of the cook are open and the ribs are taking on heat and smoke. The next 2 hours the ribs are wrapped in foil with something to enhance the flavor, brown sugar and agave nectar in my case, as well as to enhance the tenderness. The final hour is open again and during this phase of the cook I add a little more rub and then a light coating of sauce at the end to glaze the ribs.
One of the disadvantages to rib racks when cooking 3-2-1 ribs though is that while there is no issue with stacking racks of ribs that are wrapped in foil, you don’t want to do that during the last hour, and at this point the ribs are generally very tender. The tenderness of the ribs at this point might make it a little more difficult to get them into the racks, but the wide slots in the Artestia racks helps a lot with that.
One final note on cleanup. I found this rack to be very easy to clean, it has a no-stick coating, but I can’t comment on how long this will last, I haven’t had the greatest luck with no-stick coatings lasting over time, but as long as you are in the habit of liberally oiling the rack before putting the ribs in them you won’t have a problem with the ribs sticking or with cleaning up the racks after the cook.
All in all I am very impressed with these rib racks, so impressed in fact that after my test cook with the rack I bought, I ordered 2 more to allow me to do 12 racks or ribs at the same time.
If you are looking for a good quality, extra wide, rib rack, I would highly recommend this one from Artestia.