THe Pit Boss TROY DAVIS
Troy Davis, the pit-boss and owner of Troy’s BBQ in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, has definite ideas about proper barbecue.
“First, get the fire just right. You don’t want a flame — no flames, just smoke.”
But meat choice matters. “Get good ribs. I use three-and-a-half-down spareribs,” he said, referring to a butcher’s designation of size.
“They go up to five- and six-down. You don’t want them that big — the bone is too big in them.”
These are most recognizable as a St. Louis-style sparerib, he said, much preferred to baby backs for long and slow cooking. He cleans the ribs by soaking them in a combination of cider vinegar and water. This tenderizes them and cleans the fat in the pork, he said. For cooking,
“I use a combination of charcoal and oak. I don’t have a thermometer on the big smoker outside. You do it a while and you know the heat’s right. I keep it at around 350, 375; a normal heat, with vents in the smoker — you have to have vents.
And I cook with the hood down to keep the smoke in and keep the meat tender and falling off the bone.”
There’s another element, he said. “You’ve got to have TLC: tender, loving care. You’ve got to watch them while they cook; you can’t walk off and leave them. I turn them consistently — I cook 45 to 90 slabs at a time — and baste them every 15 or 20 minutes.
It’s a long, slow process, but that’s the only way to get tender ribs. You got to use yourself as the rotisserie.”
The result is great texture and flavor. A tender, smoky flavored rib that’s moist and needs no other flavor is the goal. It’s telling that none of them serve a sauce on the rib, but wait for the customer to ask for it. “A good rib doesn’t need anything on it,” Davis said.