When it comes to BBQ, time can be your saviour and also your enemy. If you have the time and the right conditions, then everything is mustard. You can set up your rig early in the morning, get your chosen piece of meat prepped with rub or marinade, get the smoke going and temperature up to speed, and boom, off you go.

Then the rest of the day can be taken at your leisure, safe in the knowledge that your brisket, pork butt or ribs are gently percolating away. Hell, you might even have one of those Meater probes keeping an eye on proceedings.

And if you do, it’s Miller time.

But things don’t always work out like that. Especially with the British weather. So today, we are going to highlight a little technique here called ‘The Texas Crutch’ to help speed things up.

The bare bones of this trick is to simply introduce some steam along the way, to ensure that succulence is achieved and it also helps prevent the infamous ‘stall’ - when your meat temperature refuses to rise for hours, and may even lower slightly.

Some good industrial strength foil is going to be your friend here and given that we are using our pork breast ribs to demonstrate this technique, we are using apple juice as the braise.

Essentially, the Texas Crutch comes down to the ol’ 3-2-1. 

Three hours of smoking. Two hours in the foil with braise. One hour to finish and create a bark.

Oh, and we’re recommending serving up with Richard Turner’s ‘Vinegar ‘slaw’ here, as it cuts through the richness of the pork in a ‘pleasingly fresh manner.’

So says Chef. Off we go!


2kg pork breast ribs

200ml apple juice

Strong foil


50g Maldon sea salt flakes

50g light brown Muscovado sugar

1tsp fennel seeds, toasted and crushed

1tsp smoked paprika

1tsp freshly ground black pepper

Vinegar ‘slaw

1tsp fennel seeds

200g white cabbage

100g red cabbage

1 red onion

Mixed handful of fresh herbs (parsley, coriander and mint)

1tsp Maldon sea salt flakes

1tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the dressing

50ml cider vinegar

50ml white wine vinegar

35ml extra virgin olive oil

35g caster sugar

Juice and zest of one lemon


First, mix up all your rub ingredients and apply evenly to the pork breast ribs, ensuring that it is coated all over, and then leave for two hours. Or you can do this the evening before, cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight - but make sure you take it back out and bring it up to room temperature for an hour before cooking.

Set your BBQ or smoker up with some good charcoal and cherrywood and get the temperature up to 110°C and then place the pork breast in to smoke for three hours.

Then take out the pork and place into a roasting tray, add the apple juice around it and then seal everything up with a double-layer of the foil - you do not want any steam to escape- and then pop back into your BBQ.

After the two hours are up, again remove the pork from the tray, place back into your BBQ and open up the vents to bring the temperature up to 180°C and cook for one more hour or so, or until everything has crisped up. A little brushing of some BBQ sauce wouldn’t go amiss here either!

Whilst that is going on, you can get going with the slaw by whisking all the dressing ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved, and store in a sealed container.

Toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan until golden and set aside.

Slice the cabbage, fennel and onion 1mm thick using a mandolin - the thinner the better. Finely chop the herbs using a very sharp knife.

Toss together with all the remaining ingredients so that they are well combined and the herbs are evenly spread throughout the slaw.

Whisk the dressing again 20 minutes before serving and add to the slaw. Toss thoroughly and check and adjust the seasoning.

To serve, simply carve the ribs up and present on a large board with a bowl of the slaw on the side.

And dig in!

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