Favorite Podcasts

I have been listening to a lot of podcasts lately. While at work I like to listen to podcasts to keep me focused on a project. At home doing the dishes, or mowing the grass. On my phone I listen to podcasts with Stitcher. At home I usually use a mixture of the Apple Podcast app and Sticher. The following are some of my favorite shows to listen to. I am linking to their websites instead of their podcast feeds when possible. 

Leave some of your favorite podcasts in the comments, and I'll check them out. 

 

How to smoke ribs on a Weber Grill. At least my attempt to do so.

Apple brine solution.

Apple brine solution.

Rub applied for resting for 1 hour. Along with some apple cider and apple vinegar. 

Rub applied for resting for 1 hour. Along with some apple cider and apple vinegar. 

I use a chimney starter, and wait until the goals are glowing brown. 

I use a chimney starter, and wait until the goals are glowing brown. 

This weekend I tried smoking ribs with a Weber grill with pretty good success. I wanted to perfect using a Weber grill for smoking, since I don't have a standalone smoker. I don't like the idea of an electric smoker, and in general count it as cheating. I find the best grill to have is a classic Weber One-Touch® GOLD 22.5" , and recently received one as an awesome birthday present.

I decided to try some pork ribs and gathered my ingredients. I brined the ribs overnight in an apple cider salt solution. I used an aluminum pan and covered the pan with aluminum foil.

After an overnight soak, I removed the ribs from the brine and pat dried the ribs. I then added a rub to the ribs and let them sit for an hour in foil. In the past I have made my own rub. For simplicity and to have a baseline, I picked some up at the store called Lil' Smokers Lil' Rub. I added some apple cider, apple vinegar, and salt to the rub while it rested and came to near room temperature. Not too warm, or too long—that will allow for nasty bacteria to form. Temperature is achieved closer to 2 hours in warm conditions.

The ribs are ready for smoking. I setup my grill for indirect heat and a pan of water and apple cider. I have found that about 10 briquettes work best, maybe even less. The briquettes last for about 45 minutes, and you will need to add more through the process. Make sure to have your grate on correctly so that you can lift the side to place in more charcoal and wood chips.

I used a chimney starter to light my briquettes and waited until they turned glowing orange. I also added my wood chips to a packet of foil and placed in the briquettes. I used hickory and orange wood chips. I soaked the chips in water for 2 hours before adding them to the fire. I also poured some of the water from the chips to the apple cider/water pan.

Place goals and wood chips on one side, and your water solutions on the other. 

Place goals and wood chips on one side, and your water solutions on the other. 

Once you have your briquettes and wood chips ready and water pan filled, place on top grate. Position your ribs so that they are on the opposite side of the fire over the water/apple cider pan. Doing this keeps the meat from not cooking too fast, and the water/apple cider adds some humidity so that the ribs do not dry out. Using the cider also infuses some flavor to the meat. Once you have everything set, check your temperature and it should be somewhere around 250°. Get it right now so you don't have to keep checking the lid, as each time you open the lid you are losing precious smoke and heat.

Place ribs over the water/apple juice solution. 

Place ribs over the water/apple juice solution. 

Now all there is to do is wait and keep an eye things. I cooked mine for almost 4 hours. Your time will vary and time depends on the desired smoke strength and temperature control. The longer smoking and lower temperature is better. My grill went up to 300°, so my ribs turned out chewier than I was intending. It's a waiting game. "Slow and Low," as they say. Make sure you don't leave the grill unattended. It's a good time to mow the lawn or clean out your garage, as I did. I checked on the ribs every 45 minutes to an hour, making sure to keep my briquettes consistent and plenty of wood chips, but not too many. Too much smoke will make the meat taste bitter. Make sure your smoke is white to bluish and never black or dark.

Place your vent opposite of your fire. This allows for the smoke to be drawn across the meat. 

Place your vent opposite of your fire. This allows for the smoke to be drawn across the meat. 

As you start near the 3 to 4 hour mark, start checking the doneness of the meat. Measure the internal temp of the ribs with a thermometer to check for doneness. You should reach at least 160°, just before the ribs are ready to be taken off the grill. I placed them in aluminum foil and poured in some apple cider too, and put a little sauce across the top. I then sealed the foil and put the ribs a bit closer to the coals so the foil would warm up. I then pulled the ribs and kept the foil sealed, and let the ribs rest for about 15 minutes on the kitchen counter. This allows for the juices to draw back into the meat.

Shoot for 250. No more, maybe less if you intend to smoke longs. 

Shoot for 250. No more, maybe less if you intend to smoke longs. 

Now you can serve your ribs with your favorite sauce or without. Being from Kansas City I prefer Kansas City style BBQ sauce, and will usually use one of the local BBQ place's sauce. You can serve grilled corn or baked potatoes with your ribs. I hope to try to make my own BBQ sauce on my next grill outing.

Ribs are done.

Ribs are done.

I find that I have some room for improvement. Less heat, and find a rub that I like. I plan to try again and this time using my own sauce. I might try try smoking a different type of meat as well. Thanks for reading.

I used WEBER'S SMOKE™ book as a guidance along with various sources on the internet. How do you smoke your ribs? Post your findings in the comments below.

Plating and ready to eat.

Plating and ready to eat.

 


Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli was a great inspiration for me while in Graphic Design school. I was given a project to design a book. I chose Massimo because of his clean and modern design aesthetic. I was really drawn to his method of design, and the idea that elements should only exist if they give purpose to the design, and are not just decorative. His subway map is a great example. "Pragmatically understandable. Otherwise, design is a failure, no matter how beautiful it is. Design is not art, design should express its meaning and that should be universally understandable." —Massimo Vignelli

MailChimp UX Issue 24 - Unstuck

Breaking through when stuck.

As always a great read from the MailChimp newsletter. The article tackles the problem every creative person stumbles upon sometime in their career. The dreaded "I'm stuck," when inspiration is lacking, and not sure what to do or tackle next is inevitable. This can be both in one's career and in their design. The post offers solutions to getting around these blocks. The article references artist Chuck Close and his process of making restrictions to spark his creativity.  I remember studying Chuck Close in my modern art classes, and learning about his detailed process of painting portraits.

"I threw away my tools. I chose to do things I had no facility with. The choice not to do something is in a funny way more positive than the choice to do something. If you impose a limit to not do something you've done before, it will push you to where you've never gone before."

—Chuck Close

"Limitations can be liberating. When anything is possible, the starting point is too nebulous to find. Impose limitations on your creative process and watch yourself gain momentum more quickly."

The two paths of the creative thought process as mentioned in the article;

"Depending on how and where you learned your craft, the process could range from three nebulous stages (Ideate, Incubate, Evaluate; or Germinate, Assimilate, Complete) to seven concrete steps (1. Define the problem, 2. Determine the objectives…)."

Using the correct method, and or combination of methods seems to be the ideal scenario. Just starting the series of steps will get a person unstuck. You may not come to the immediate solution, but the process will put you on the path of the solution. Add the above mentioned constraints to the process and limit or constrain the scope of the project, or the tools being used will aid in finding the final solution. Sometime a project may seem overbearing or too broad to understand where to start. Just the act of getting something started, and restraining to a main goal will allow for the creative process to take hold. Something I should work on taking into my own practice as to restrain to focus. Getting started on the problem and the creative process will find the solution.

The article has a lot of great links, and resources and I recommend reading over the entire article.

Pricing for Design Work

A quick article from Fast Company on what designers should charge for design work. The always dreaded question to charge an hourly fee or a flat rate for a design. The second dreaded question on usage rights for the design. See the original post the article is taken from at the following link The Dark Art of Pricing.