Barbecue's Perfect Wine Pairing

Category: Drink

Barbecue is very similar to winemaking in that both begin with great raw materials and require patience, close attention to detail and subtly for a perfect end product.

Winc Winemaker Ryan Zotovich puts 100% into everything he does - which translates not only to his winemaking, but also to his love for smoking meat. What initially began as a simple desire to learn how to make bacon, turned into a reputation among friends, family and colleagues as  the go-to guy for the best tri-tip, brisket and BBQ ribs in Santa Barbara.

One day, Winc Co-Founder Brian Smith and Ryan were hanging out at Ryan’s Fifth Wheel trailer, enjoying the view of a beautiful vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, and talking about wine by the smoker. Their discussion led to the realization that Ryan should create a wine that would become the perfect pairing for his dishes - one that could handle the umami intensity of his smoked meats. Thus, Chop Shop was born.

Chop Shop is the perfect pairing for all of the barbecuing you’ll likely be doing this summer from Fourth of July to Labor Day.  And if a great bottle of wine isn’t enough to inspire you to fire up the grill or BBQ, try out one of Ryan’s favorite recipes below.

Prep: 20 minutes
Make: 4-5 Hours
Serves: 12 (4 racks of pork ribs)

1 tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp brown sugar

SAUCE: Store-bought or homemade recipe of choice.
MAKE: Mix all the rub ingredients in a shaker. It’ll help you evenly distribute the rub over the ribs.
MEAT: Go with St. Louis-style or baby back. I prefer St. Louis, which will usually take about an hour longer to cook. Figure on cooking for 5 hours at 250°F for St. Louis and 4 hours at same temperature for baby back.
TRIM: Cut off the last rib on the small side of the rack it’ll often burn up. Make sure there are no obvious bits or pieces that need to be trimmed. Remove the membrane most people don’t do this, but it makes a difference. On the bone-side of the ribs, slide a butter knife between the membrane and the bone. Use a paper towel to help you pull it off.  If you don’t feel like it it’s not the of the world so don’t sweat it. 
SEASON: My general rule of thumb is a three-quarter tsp per pound of meat.  Keep in mind ribs are about half-bone. If you use the rub detailed above, you’re just looking for a good coating—don’t overdo it. Apply the rub about an hour before you plan to cook the meat if you have time. If not right before won’t hurt anything either.                     
GRILL: Make sure your oven, smoker, BBQ, or whatever you are using, is at 250°F. Put your ribs in. At the three-hour mark for baby backs and the four- hour mark for St. Louis, check to see if they're done. Grab a rack with a pair of tongs, and gently bounce it. If the bark breaks, it’s done. If not, keep the ribs in until this happens. If you like sauced ribs you can coat them with BBQ sauce at the 3 -4 hour mark when you do the bounce test. I prefer not to sauce them and let people add their desired amount of sauce at the table.