Ribs, Again!

Ribs with Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

Ribs, Again!  This time with more style.  Last time I used two rubs out of a bottle and had good ribs come up but the rubs was not complimentary.  The ribs were good but they were not as good as they should have been.  This time, I managed a little more success.

Ribs with Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Potatoes

Last night I whipped up perhaps my favorite pulled pork rub, a brown sugar and rosemary rub, using some fresh rosemary, from the plant to the rub, it doesn’t get much fresher than that.  From there I lightly rubbed the ribs with Dijon mustard and then the rub and then it was into the fridge to rest overnight in bask in that magnificent rub.

Then in the morning it was onto the smoker with some apple wood and some hickory at 225°F for 3 hours, I did spritz the ribs a couple of times as the skin dried out with apple juice during this time.  Then it was into a double layer of foil for 2 hours, then back onto the grate in the smoke with no foil until they reached 172°F in the thickest part of the rib.  I brushed them lightly with BBQ sauce during this time as well.  Then it was off the smoker and back into some foil, a wrapped in a couple towels and then into a cooler for about 30 minutes of rest to allow the juices to redistribute and the flavor to mature.

Then it was time to eat them.  They were better than the last rack of ribs I smoked, either half of them.  They were sweet and had a nice bark on them were fall off the bone tender.  The rosemary complimented the sweet and the delicate flavor of the pork ribs, they were perhaps the best ribs I have ever had.

With one exception it looks like I have found my rib recipe for at least the immediate future.  My wife smelled the cumin in the rub when I was making it and she was able to taste a hint of it in the finished product, she wanted less cumin next time.  I thought all was well the way it was.

Either way they were great, an appropriate use of such a fine piece of meat and they went well with some garlic and rosemary mashed red skin potatoes.

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Garlic and Rosemary Mashed Red Skin Potatoes

Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Ribs

So to compliment my brown sugar and rosemary ribs I whipped up some garlic and rosemary mashed red skin potatoes tonight.  And compliment they did, they were good, good enough to be made again.  Aside from being good they were easy, really easy.

Rosemary and Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Ribs

These were easy and just took a little time to allow the potatoes to marinate, which provided some excellent flavor.

Ingredients
6 to 10 red skin potatoes
1/4 c olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
margarine

Instructions
First I washed and quartered the potatoes, then placed them in a medium bowl.  If you wanted to you could peel them before you quartered them.  At this point in a small bowl I combined the rest of the ingredients and mixed well.  Then I poured the mixture over the taters and stirred them tell they were well coated.  Then I let them set for a couple hours, stirring them through the olive oil mixture every 30 minutes or so.  Then it was into the oven at 375°F for 45 minutes until they we were tender.  Then I pulled them out and mashed them and whipped with some margarine until they were how I wanted.

They were amazing with a subtle taste of garlic and rosemary on nicely roasted mash potatoes.

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Grilled Teriyaki Chicken from Scratch

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

The chicken we had for dinner tonight was good, it tasted like the Teriyaki Chicken you would expect, but the sauce on its own was outstanding.  I made the sauce at lunch today and had to deal with the memories the sweet and savory flavor of it all afternoon.  It was most tasty.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

So the grilled part was easy throw it on the grill directly over some hot coals just long enough to get sear marks on both sides and then it was off to the other side of the grill to slow cook them to perfection.

The Teriyaki Sauce from scratch was almost as easy as grilling the chicken breasts, once the sauce was made I marinated the chicken in it for a couple of hours before grilling.

Ingredients
1/3 c reduced sodium soy sauce
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c cold water
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions
Combine all ingredients except water and corn starch in a small sauce pan.  Combine corn starch and water separately from the rest of the ingredients.  Mix both together in the sauce pan and heat over medium heat until it reaches a boil.   Remove from heat and use immediately or refrigerate and save for later.

This stuff is good, its really good.  I am thinking some Teriyaki Jerky might make an appearance this weekend.

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How to smoke ribs

Ribs, everybody wants to make some and a lot of people are not sure how.  Well like most meat low and slow will give you a juicy and fall off the bone tender result.  But with ribs there is something special that needs to happen.  I like typically like to stick with larger cuts of meat but no man could claim to be even a novice of the BBQ without having ribs tucked away firmly in his belt.

Rack of ribs

Like most chunks of meat I smoke the ribs started out the night before with a trimming, which I historically do a less than professional job at.  From there I wash the ribs and pat them dry with paper towels and then rub them.  Typically rubbing is a two part process.  The first is to coat them in mustard or some other liquid to help the rub stick and the second is the rub them with your rub.  How much is up to you, ribs have a delicacy to them that is easily over powered with too much rub.  Once this is all done is into the fridge in a sealed container to think about what they have done.

Freshly rubbed spare ribs

The meat (ribs) in the picture above were rubbed with two different rubs.  After a nights worth of sitting in the rub or a couple hours if that is all that is available I get the smoker ready.  I boil some water in my kettle for my water pan to speed up the preheating process and get my wood for the day ready.  Once the smoker has reached that magical temperature of 225°F it is ready for some meat.  So I lube my grate with some oil, its a habit and then throw the meat on and let the smoke start rolling.

Ribs just on the smoker

When smoking ribs I use the 3-2-1 Rib method, which is not my invention but seems to work quite well and is easy to remember.  The first stage is to smoke the ribs for about 3 hours.  The time is not nearly as important as is the appearance at this point.  Once the meat begins to pull away from the bone and has pulled back about a 1/4 inch it is time to move onto step two.

Ribs at the end of stage 3

Once your ribs are looking like these it is time to move on to step two.  Stage two is kinda hard to swallow at first, I mean I just wanna continue to flood my ribs with smokey flavor but its time to pull back for a few.  In stage two its all about time, take the ribs off the smoker and wrap them in foil with a little apple juice.  I am not sure how much apple juice I use it depends on the meat and what looks good.  You could certainly substitute some other liquid here the goal is just to provide the ribs with some moisture while they are in the foil.  Throw the ribs wrapped in foil back on the smoker for two hours and let the magic happen.  During this time the ribs are soaking up the juice and getting their fall of the bone tender status.  There is no need to supply smoke during this period.

Ribs after stage 2

After two house in stage two remove the ribs from the foil and place them back on the smoker grate and get the smoke rolling again.  It might be time to check that water pan too.  The ribs should look like those above at this point, shrinkage has occurred and they looking kinda mushy.  That is where the final stage of the 3-2-1 method comes in smoke them until they reach 172°F in the thickest part of the meat.  This should take an 45 minutes to an hour.  If you would like to add BBQ sauce during the last 15 minutes on the smoker is the time to do this.

Ribs cooked to perfection

Once the ribs are done pull them off the smoker and let them rest for 15 minutes on the counter.  During this time the juices will redistribute and you will be glad you waited.  Serve and enjoy.

The 3-2-1 method assumes you are dealing with spare ribs.  If you find yourself with baby back ribs you will be looking at something more like the 2-2-1 method, just be sure to be more attentive to the meat an hour earlier with baby backs.

As with most other pork I prefer to mix apple and hickory for my ribs, gives them an excellent flavor.

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Pear Muffins

In a sad but true realization I am separated from my smoker this week, even though I have 3 racks of ribs in the freezer, the smoker is a city away and I will not be smoking anything this week.  So not wanting to let anything go to waste and in true Digital Chef style, we had some pears and it was not until I got into baking the muffins that I realized I did not have any ginger, so let the substitutions begin.

I started out with a recipe I found at Recipe Girl for Pear and Ginger Muffins, but like I said once I got started I realized we have no ginger here.  I debated running home and getting some but decided to wing it and use some cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves.  So as precise as I can recall here is the recipe I used.

Ingredients
1 3/4 c flour
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar plus extra
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 c sour cream
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
2 eggs
3 pears peeled, cored and cubed
ground nutmeg
ground cinnamon
ground cloves

Instructions 
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Put paper muffin cups in a 12 cup muffin pan.  Mix together flour, sugar, 1/2 c brown sugar, baking powder, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together oil, sour cream, eggs and honey.  Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir in pears.  Pout into muffin cups.  Mix a small amount of ground cloves, ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg with a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and sprinkle over muffins.  Bake for about 20 minutes.

Sadly along with my smoker, I do not have my camera so you are going to have to take my word.  They are fine looking muffins, something even a coffee shop would be eager to sell.  And well they kinda fall apart right out of the oven not like a bad fall apart but like you would want from a fresh out of the oven muffin.  Besides having an incredible texture they were moist and the fruit was just right.

Now for the real question, the question of the hour, how did they taste?  Well they taste like muffins, when I make them again I will probably add a little more seasoning but they were good.  The pears had a great flavor and were complimented nicely by the muffin.

I can’t wait to make these again.  Next time I will do a batch like this and one with ginger like the original recipe called for.  There is something about ginger and pears that just belongs, so I can’t wait to try that.

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