Thursday, September 3, 2009

Orion Cooker / 70 Minute Spare Ribs

I got the itch to try another cook on the Orion cooker and decided to smoke up a couple of slabs of 2.25 and down St. Louis cut spare ribs on this very unique cooker/smoker. It is advertized to cook up great "fall off the bone" baby back ribs in just and hour and ten minutes. Of course, most real bbq cooks would know that "fall off the bone" is nothing more than an overcooked rib and I sure didn't want that in my first try with ribs on this cooker!

As you can see, I did get some nice looking ribs cooked up in this first try on the Orion cooker.

I started out by setting up the cooker for the rib cook by installing the rib hangers as the ribs are cooked hanging upright in the cooker. I then wrapped my drip pan to make for an easier clean up after my cook.

Next step was to select my smoke chips and I decided to go with some sugar maple for my smoke flavor for the ribs.

I then packed in around the drip pan about 2 cups of the smoke wood which should be more than enough for the cook.

I then placed 11 of the Matchlight Briquettes in the top part of the cooker and the balance of the bag was poured around the bottom charcoal holder of the cooker and I was ready to cook.

The ribs used for this cook came from Gordon Food Service and they were the non-injected, 2.25 and down, St. Louis cut spare ribs. I started my prep by removing the membrane off the back of the slab. I then trimmed up some of the fat off of the ribs and got them ready for the cook. I rubbed them with a generous coat of Cimmarron Doc's rib rub and then cut a small slot between the 2nd abd 3rd bone so I could hang them in the cooker. The ribs going into the cooker.

I then fired up the cooker and just let it do it's thing for about 70 minutes.

I checked back after the correct time and found the cooker with plenty of the charcoal left and I was wondering about this as even the longer cooks like pork butts and beef briskets are suposed to cook with just the one bag of Matchlight charcoal for about 3-4 hours and from the looks of the remaining charcoal, it looks like it will go this long for those meats.

I pulled the top off of the cooker and other than a kinda ugly color on the ribs, they did look like they were done judging by some pull back on the bones and the flexibility of the racks. Sure would have been nice to have been able to glaze the ribs on the cooker but the cooker design doesn't lend itself very well to that kind of finish for the ribs so I came up with something that did work for this cook.

I quickly brought the ribs in the house and applied a generous coat of Blues Hog mixed with some clover honey to the slabs and then let the remaining heat in the slabs to kinda set the sauce on the slabs and after about 15 minutes, it looked pretty good.

I then cut up the ribs for serving and they did come out looking very good.

Ok, let's critique my first cook of ribs on the Orion Cooker as compared to what I can cook on my other cookers. My normal rib would have cooked for about 5 hours verses the rib on the Orion cooking in just 70 minutes.

Color...the outside color came out great as I love that deep dark red color on my finished ribs. However, the inside looks pale white and not pink showing a smoke ring like my normal ribs. The ribs were perfect in smoke flavor so I sure can live with a little more whiter inside color rib.

Tenderness...very close to what I can get off of my other cookers although I found them slightly rubberie if that is a word. They were tender enough but the texture was a little different.

Moisture...these ribs are probably as moist as anything I get off of my other cookers. Very Juicy!!

Taste...just as good as anything I can cook on any of my other cookers.

Ease of know, light it and forget it....what could be more easier??

As a competition cook, I feel that I can cook a pretty good rib and if my best rib would be judged as a "9" off of my other cookers, I think the rib off of this Orion cooker would be a solid "8" with the method I used on this first cook.

Tailgating...what could be better?? Six, count em, 6 slabs of very tasty ribs cooked in just 75 minutes at your favorite sporting event??

In closing, I am not a shill for this cooker but just a cook that can see some applications for this very unique and inexpensive cooker. I like it!


  1. Thanks for the honest review. I noticed the white meat too, but was surprised to hear that the moisture and taste were on par with smoked ribs. I missed getting one of those orions on closeout at Home Depot and was curious about them.

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  4. I normally place my ribs on a hot grill for 5 minutes each side after adding BBQ sauce. Y
    This browns the meat without drying.

  5. I normally place my ribs on a hot grill for 5 minutes each side after adding BBQ sauce. Y
    This browns the meat without drying.