Posts Tagged ‘bbq’


Come summer everyone seems to have a favorite recipe for barbecuing spareribs.  I have a couple of methods that I think work amazingly well although nothing can beat the classic pit barbecues of the south. And, of course, there is the ongoing argument between vinegar dousing and tomato-based sauces.  I like both so do a change-up from time to time.
Here’s my spice mix which can be used on ribs as well as poultry and other meats.  It makes about 1 cup, but since it keeps for about 3 months it is wise to make the whole amount (or more) to have on hand for spur-of-the-moment ‘cuing.  To use it on ribs, I generously coat the ribs (usually baby back) with the mix, wrap them tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil and place them on the coolest part of a very hot grill (at least 450ºF) and roast them up for about 90 minutes, turning the packet occasionally, or until almost falling-off-the-bone tender.  Don’t put them over direct heat or the outside will quickly burn and the meat will be tough.

10 dried ancho chiles, seeded and stemmed
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
½ teaspoon whole cloves
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse salt or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon mustard powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
    Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Place the chiles, cinnamon stick, cumin and coriander seeds, and the cloves on a small baking sheet in the preheated oven.  Roast, turning occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until nicely colored and very aromatic.
Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
When cooled a bit, place in a spice grinder and process until smooth.  This can also be done using a mortar and pestle.
Combine the ground mixture with the sugar, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and cayenne in a small mixing bowl, stirring to blend well.
Store, tightly covered, in a cool spot for up to 3 months.
My other method for barbecuing ribs goes like this:
First you make a mixture of ½ cup each of cider or malt vinegar and brown sugar.  Season the ribs with salt and pepper and lay them on a double layer of heavy duty aluminum foil.  Pour the vinegar mixture over the top and wrap the foil over to tightly seal.  Grill them as above.
Then, unwrap and, using a pastry brush, generously coat the ribs with barbecue sauce – your own favorite or mine.  Return to the grill and grill, turning frequently, for about 20 minutes or until the edges are charred and the sauce has enveloped the meat.

My Favorite Barbecue Sauce
Makes about 6 cups
2 tablespoons corn oil
1 cup finely minced onion
3 cups ketchup
1 cup beer
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons mustard powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Tabasco® sauce to taste

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until soft.
Add the ketchup, beer, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, maple syrup, and mustard powder, stirring to blend well.  Season with salt, pepper, and Tabasco® and bring to a simmer.  Cook at a bare simmer for about 40 minutes or until the flavors have blended.  Taste and, if necessary, adjust the seasoning.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.  When cool, store, tightly covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 month.


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My favorite combo – easy as pie, beautiful to serve, and so delicious; grilled chicken halves with grilled lemon.  All you do is split small chickens in half, lengthwise, of course.  Place them in a resealable plastic bag with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest (as much or as little as you like, and some rosemary.  Marinate for a half hour or so and then season with salt and pepper and throw them on a hot grill – or, if you don’t have an outdoor grill, a hot stove top grill pan.  Grill for about 30 minutes, turning frequently, or until nicely charred and cooked through.  Just before ready, add a few lemon halves to the grill, cut side down.  Serve the chickens drizzled with more extra virgin olive oil (preferably a tart green one) and a good healthy dose of hot lemon juice.  Add a tossed green salad and, in this case, some warm cherry tomatoes, and some crusty bread and a perfect meal is on the table – an everyday one or a guest-ready one.

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Why does summer have to end?  Just as it begins to wane the days get sleepier, the air a bit cooler, the nights great for sleeping, and the garden is bursting with goodness.  Yet, sadly, the flowers fade, the grill gets used less often, and the trees lose their verdant greenery.  But, if it didn’t end, we wouldn’t experience that feeling of joy and abandon when it returns.  After all this waxing poetically about it ending, I really will be glad to see the fly paper go!


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