Frequently Posted Questions  (FPQ)

"What is the BRITU?"

The whole story as I know it by Ray Basso

BRITU stands for Best Ribs in The Universe.  It is a title that is given to the 1st. place winning ribs at the world's largest barbecue contest, the American Royal in Kansas City.  This recipe won that prestigious award.  The winner of that award was Mike Scrutchfield.  Mike was big in Barbecue.  Mike competed in barbecue on a high level.  Before he got into competition BBQ I understand he was a very good race car driver.  During the time he was winning tons of awards in BBQ he was a big hitter in real estate sales.  Now he is even a bigger hitter in real estate.

I don't profess to be a close personal friend of Mikes.  We do know each other and at one time we did see each other professionally now and then.  I was selling life and disability insurance at the time.  I sold a lot of disability insurance to real estate people.  Mike was one of the pioneers of the BBQ Forum.  He was one of the first people to start posting message on the forum.   I was shocked by the amount of information he was giving freely during those early days of the BBQ Forum.  I even called him up one night and asked him if he really wanted to post his secrets on the Internet.  He said it was no problem.  One thing that has always impressed me about Mike is he always worked for perfection.  Carolyn Wells of The Kansas City Barbecue Society once told me that "Mike was the fiercest competitor she had ever met."  I really don't think he went to BBQ contests to have fun.   I think he went there expecting to win.

Mike wound up being the overall top rated cook in the Kansas City Barbecue Society competition three year in a row.  This is an awesome accomplishment. 

This guy told me that he had practiced for (I hope my memory is correct) a year before he started cooking in competition. He kept meticulous notes on what he cooked.  I don't know the real numbers were but he told me he cooked for something like 354 days that year and kept notes on the process like the outside temperature, the wind conditions, the internal temperatures of everything he cooked.  

Then once he found the winning combination he did it over and over and won contest after contest.  So when a guy like this gives you a recipe you better follow the directions just as written no matter how much you think you know.  

Mike is telling you a way to cook good ribs, and he is giving up most of the secrets in this recipe.  He didn't tell you everything but it still will produce winning results.  There have been a lot of people win a lot of awards by using this method and recipe.  

Mike printed up copies of this recipe and gave it to people he wanted to help.  One day at his real estate office he gave me a copy of BRITU.  I followed his directions to the letter and the first time I tried it I cooked the best ribs I had ever tasted.    I was talking to him on the phone one night a couple of months later and I asked him if I could post it on the BBQ Forum.  To my surprise he gave me permission to post it.  So I posted it and that started something really big.    When you try it you should follow the directions and don't change a thing. 

After I posted the BRITU recipe to the BBQ Forum. some other people who owned BBQ Web pages thought "I would like to have that on my web page"  So they contacted Mike and put this recipe on their web pages.  But the first time it appeared on the Internet was when it was posted on the BBQ Forum.  

Ray Basso

Best Ribs in the Universe


Posted by Ray Basso on May 03, 1999 at 16:22:01:

I talked to Mike Scrutchfield last night and he gave me permission to post this. He said that while this is a really good and a prize-winner he now has one that's better.
This recipe and cooking procedure won the prestigious title "Best Ribs in the Universe" at the 1993 American Royal Bar-B-Que contest as the Overall Grand Champion. They also took "Reserve Grand Champion" at the 1994 American Royal. This is the largest Bar-B-Que contest in the World. Enjoy!
Meat: IBP Brand Loin Baby Back Ribs. 13/4 - 2 lb. Size. Membrane on the inner (Stomach) side removed. All excess fat trimmed.
Dry Rub: Mix all ingredients thoroughly and store unused in moisture proof container

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Non-Iodized Table Salt
Cup Brown Sugar (Dried out lightly by exposing on cookie sheet room temp. several hours, or slightly warmed
5 Tablespoons + 1 Teaspoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
4 Teaspoons MSG (Accent)
4 Teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
4 Teaspoons Black Pepper freshly ground (important)
4 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
4 Teaspoons Onion Powder

Sprinkle Meat 2 hours before cooking with rub and allow meat to come to room temperature. Do not over-season. A good overall dusting of the spices is all that's needed. The spices will become a nice red liquid coating after sitting for about an hour, if you used the proper amount.
Basic Cooking procedure: Smoke ribs in a "Water Pan" smoker i.e. Brinkman, or Weber "Smoky Mountain Cooker" (the best) Start Charcoal (7-10lbs.) and 4 chunks of White Oak and 2 chunks of Cherry wood (about the size of a tennis ball) at least 1 hour before cooking meat. All fuel should be started in a chimney style starter, no starter fluid and all the charcoal must be grey/white hot. Remove all bark from wood chunks, do not soak. Very little smoke will be visible. Don't worry about that you'll get the flavor. Use straight water in the water pan and keep it full during the entire cooking process. Control oven temperature of cooker by regulating the bottom vents only. Never, ever, completely close the top vent! If you don't have one, put a thermometer on your cooker. Cook ribs for 3 hours fairly cool at 225 degrees on rib racks. After 3 hours lift the lid for the first time, flip the slabs end for end, and upside down, and open all the vents on the smoker wide open. Temperature of the cooker should rise into the 250 to 275 degree range. Peek every hour to monitor doneness. Ribs will be finished when fairly brown in color, and the meat has pulled down on the long bones at least of an inch. (usually another 1 or 2 hours) Remove from cooker and sauce both sides before cutting individual ribs. I like K. C. Masterpiece BBQ sauce sweetened even more. ( 5 parts sauce, 1 part Honey), and so do the Judges! This basic cooking procedure is probably the most important of all, and works very well with other meats as well. Forget about how much smoke is coming out of the cooker, if you've got the wood you like in there burning up cleanly, the flavor will be in the meat. Smoke is nothing more that a smoke screen, and any coming out of the top of the cooker is flavor lost!

Note from Ray Basso.

I will add that he told me once that you should use a digital thermometer and when you think the ribs are done stick it in the meat between the ribs and it should read 205 degrees.
As you can see the recipe is simple and probably the most important thing is the chili powder. I do not know what Mike use's and I won't ask. I have had great results cooking ribs as Mike says to do, on my Klose BYC. I use Gebhardt's chili powder.


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