Showing posts with label barbecue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barbecue. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Smoke Siege BBQ Team: Inaugural Competition Season (Part 2)

This is the second post in a series about my first experience with competition barbecue. Last summer I helped my brother at a barbecue competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. This second installment in the series is quite delayed, but seems appropriate as I head out for barbecue season 2!

I am getting ready to head to Indianapolis for Smoke Siege BBQ Team's second season on the competition barbecue circuit. My brother's team has already completed one competition this season. This event will be number two of the season. We will be participating in the Wine, Brew, & Bar-B-Que, Too event hosted by the New Palestine, Indiana Lions Club. To get in the barbecue mindset, and ready for a crazy weekend, I am continuing the story of our competition day activities from last year's event. You can read about the event and our initial preparation at

Official team photo

For this post I will focus on Friday at the competition - the preparation day. Turn-in and judging happens on Saturday. Friday is spent getting organized, prepping all the meats, and of course a little beer and schmoozing with the other competitors. Depending on Saturday's turn-in times, actual meat smoking doesn't start until somewhere between midnight and 2:00 am.

Once we got our work area set-up and ready, the prep work began. Rules stipulate that you can only trim meat before arrival. Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) judges have to inspect your meat and give you the all-clear to get to work. With four meats and sauce to prepare, we started around 2:00 pm. My first task was to season and prepare the chicken thighs. For smoking chicken, dark meat is going to stay more moist and hold up to a few hours in the smoke. The chicken gets a nice rub down both under and over the skin before being put in the cooler to absorb the secret spice mixture.

About halfway through the chicken prep a huge thunderstorm rolled through. We covered the meat,threw a wool blanket over our wood pile, held tight the tent, and rode it out. Thankfully we were just a little soggy and didn't lose any of our supplies.

Chicken thighs, prepped and ready to chill.
Me, a little soggy from the rain.

Note: Even though you only turn in 6 portions of each meat, you cook a lot of extra. This allows you to select the best looking and tasting pieces for the judges. And it feeds all of the friends who come out to help you during the competition. 

While I was busy massaging chicken, my brother Marc was tackling the larger cuts of brisket and pork shoulder. The meats need time to absorb flavors and you want them to stay moist throughout the cooking process. To achieve this cooks use a variety of techniques. Marc injects the meat with liquid and seasoning and then gives it a generous spice rub. I think we cooked 2-3 briskets and 2 pork shoulders.Ribs aren't treated to the injection process but do get a good helping of spice rub. Between 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm we were able to prepare all of the meats and clean up our work space.

One of the perks of this particular competition was a complimentary dinner following the mandatory cook's meeting. All 50 pro teams listened to the rules and regulations before being treated to what I would describe as a very rich dinner. I am fairly certain that everything was cooked in butter. And if it wasn't , there was a giant vat of butter in which you could dunk your corn (or burger buns...).

After swapping stories with fellow competitors and clogging our arteries, the rest of the evening was open. The opening ceremonies of the Olympics were on TV, competitors were checking each other out, and the beer was flowing. As the 11:00 pm hour approached, I bunked in to our overnight facilities and rested up for the long night ahead.

Many other experienced teams had queen size air mattresses with full sheets, others had cots, some had fully loaded RVs. For our inaugural season, we had reclining seats in the car. Around midnight the wood went into the smoker and started a slow burn to reach 250 degrees. Meats got a final prep and around 2:00 am the cooking began.

Midnight pitmaster in action.

Seasoning the meat one more time before going on. 

After the temperature was satisfactory and the meats were on the smoker, I took over the overnight pit watch duty. This entailed trying to stay awake and making sure the temperature stayed constant. Sometimes the smoker needed to be fed a little extra wood, sometimes the smoke valve needed to open up a little.

Stoking the fire around 3 am.

We made it through the night and as the sun rose over the smoker we were a little weary, but energized to face the competition head on!

Ribs, awaiting their dawn cooking time. 

Next up in the series are final cooking, presentation preparation, and a lot of good eats. I'll close by showing our schedule for the competition. To have a successful cook,  you have to start with the turn in time and work backwards. The meat needs time to rest before slicing, and everything has a different cooking time. As you can see below, Marc had a grid for the meat to go on, get wrapped in foil (prevent too much smoke flavor), if it need to be sauced, and when to take off the grill.

I'll wrap up this series, and then have a recap of our second year. I hope it is as fun as the first! I'll be tweeting & putting pictures on Instagram over the weekend. Follow along!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Smoke Siege BBQ Team: Inaugural Competition Season (Part I)

This is the first post in a series about my first experience with competition barbecue. This summer I helped my brother at a barbecue competition in Indianapolis, Indiana. While it is a little overdue, I will be posting about the experience over the next few weeks. While the weather is getting cool here in the northeast, things will get a little smoky here on the blog! 

My brother Marc is a fantastic cook - he has been since we were little. I've mentioned it before on the blog. We used to make ourselves after school snacks and dinners when are parents were busy. Except that one time he almost caught the microwave on fire, we did pretty well! Throughout college and now into being a grown-up, he has continued to expand his culinary horizons. This summer I joined him for a weekend in Indianapolis to pursue his delicious new hobby of competition barbecue.

Competition Eve - getting ready for the night ahead.

What is competition barbecue? Simply explained, teams gather to barbecue (smoke) meat for prize money and bragging rights. In reality, custom smokers are commissioned, secret spice rubs and sauces are developed, entire kitchens and bedrooms are packed up into trailers, and teams spend the weekend working hard at their craft. After a few seasons of backyard smoking, my brother gifted himself a custom smoker for his big birthday this year. Depending on who you ask, the smoker is either St. Louis Cardinals Red or Hoosier Red (we're from St. Louis and Marc is an Indiana University alumni). The smoker was custom built by Iron Hog BBQ of Kansas City.

Sunrise over the smoker. 
Saturday morning - competition day.

I flew out to Indianapolis to join the Smoke Siege BBQ Team for its second competition this summer. Our destination was New Palestine, Indiana for the "Wine, Brew & Bar-B-Que, Too" event. There are a few different competition circuits and formats. This event was a Kansas City Barbecue Society event, following rules determined by the society. For this event, 50 teams were competing for prizes in the following categories: chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket. Teams could also turn in a sauce as well as participate in a People's Choice pulled pork (festival attendees paid $5 to taste and vote for the best pulled pork). We entered all categories including sauce. Teams are provided with turn-in boxes for each category. You are judged on taste, tenderness and appearance. Appearance involves someone on the team spending a lot of time arranging curly parsley into a fluffy bed for the meat. All of the work has to be done on-site. Judging is blind, done by a panel of six KCBS certified judges (they take an oath). Points are awarded by each judge, the highest and lowest scores are tossed, and your final score is tallied. At this competition, teams were competing for a total of $11,000 in prize money across the categories. There are category winners as well as an overall competition winner.

Plush parsley prepared for presentation - thanks to Rob and Steve..

Marc had some help prepping before my arrival. The rules allow trimming and cleaning of meat before arriving on site. His friend Alan spent a few hours expertly preparing the skin on the chicken thighs and Marc trimmed the excess fat from the pork and brisket. On Friday morning, we got up early to finish blending the sauces and rubs before loading up the car and heading out. A lot of organization is required for these competitions. You don't want to take everything, but you don't want to be without something crucial to your success. It seemed like we took everything but the kitchen sink (although many teams did take sinks!). After stocking up on a few last minute supplies like water and beer we headed East to the "New Pal" Lions Club parking lot.

Teams came from all over Indiana to compete. There were a few from Michigan and even one from Mississippi! Competition barbecue is a serious hobby and even a profession for some. Teams included hobbyists like us, lifelong barbecue aficionados, and even barbecue restaurants. Team names ran from the pretty basic to the more entertaining. Names like Rob-a-cue (staffed by a very nice man name Rob), Sweet Racks and Smokin' Butts, Squealers BBQ, and the aptly named team below. A lot of tongue-in-cheek names to be found.

Set-ups ranged from tents and trailers to RVs and bigger RVs and tricked out buses. That's the range you get in the types of teams - but bigger equipment doesn't necessarily translate to better barbecue.

Local BBQ restaurant. 
The other side had 2 giant televisions.

After we pulled into the Lions Club lot on Friday afternoon we got to work setting up our spot for the weekend. We had the car, the smoker, and a pop-up tent. Marc and I worked on our own for Friday and overnight and then were joined by the rest of the team on Saturday morning. Rob and Steve showed up with the sun to start the parsley prepping and Alan and his dad joined a little later. I'll end this post with a look at our set-up. The Lion's Club provided a water hookup, electricity, and ice. We were on our own for the rest of our supplies for prepping, cooking, presenting and cleaning.

Setting up work tables and supplies.

Dish washing station - soap, bleach water, and fresh water.

Getting the meat inspected so we can start working.
Head judge checks to make sure nothing but trim work is
done ahead of the competition.

Unloading the supplies we transported in the smoker.

A look at some of the other team setups.

Lions Club lot filled with trucks and tents.
Stay tuned for the next post - prep work, a soaking thunderstorm, the cook's meeting, and cook's dinner.

Our third teammate on Friday.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Smokin’ Backyard Cookout: Part 1

The smoke has cleared and I’m excited to share my latest cooking adventure!

Over the last two summers I did a fair amount of smoking using my gas grill rigged up with a smoker box and water pans. This year, I tackled smoking in a dedicated smoker! Last November I was lucky enough to win a Masterbuilt electric smoker and I finally put it to work. I know it’s not a traditional smoker that you’d see at a real barbecue place – but for a novice smoker in the ‘burbs it is perfect. The electric smoker maintains a consistent temperature and all it takes is some woodchip additions and monitoring throughout the cooking process.

With inspiration from my previous smoking adventures and my brother’s smoking expertise I put together a menu for a recent get together. When I entertain, I love to try out new recipes, new dishes, and new cooking methods. The challenge of trying something new is exhilarating! There are one or two items that always make an appearance on the table, but most of the dishes are new.

I tackled menu planning and party planning by starting with a list. First with a list of all of the dishes and their ingredients and second a timeline for when each dish would be made. A little cookbook, online research, and a phone call to my brother helped to put the finishing touches on the smoking timeline. The next step was to make labels for each dish for the serving table. This helps plan the table space and also ensures that dishes don’t get forgotten in the rush to get everything on the table.

Smoked chicken wings – plain, buffalo, and sweet chili
Chunky pineapple salsa*
Tomatillo-avocado guacamole*
Sea salt & lime tortilla chips*
Want’ems chips with Thai mango dipping sauce
Carrots, broccoli, and celery for dipping (these went untouched)

Main Course
Smoked brisket with coffee dry rub
Smoked chicken with garam masala rub
Homemade garam masala barbecue sauce
Smoked tofu for the vegetarians
Smoked vegetables - summer squash, zucchini, garlic scapes, and mushrooms
Grilled corn on the cob
Tastes Better with Friends’ Peanut Apple Coleslaw

*Old favorite – always on the table for parties

There are too many delicious things to cover in one post, so I’ll start today with the smoked meats and barbecue sauce.

I decided to smoke an assortment of items to test out my new toy. I picked my favorite meat to cook – brisket. Using the temperature required for the brisket, I adjusted the cooking times for the rest of the items. The smoker has different shelves which allowed me to easily add each item at the appropriate time. Everything turned out flavorful, but my hands down favorites were the chicken wings and the chicken breasts. The meat was juicy and the smoky flavor infused each bite.

Smoking Temperature: 225 degrees F
Wood chips: Equal parts Maple and Apple woodchips

Smoked Chicken Wings

2 pounds fresh chicken wings
Smoking time: 1.5 – 2 hours

Seasoning: A generous sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Prep time: Let seasoned chicken wings refrigerate for an hour or two while the brisket is smoking

Serving styles:
1: Naked – served as is with no sauce
2: Buffalo – I received a free bottle of KC Masterpiece hot buffalo sauce through Foodbuzz. Since I’m not a fan of buffalo flavoring it was a perfect addition to the party. I tossed of the cooked wings in the sauce and every reported that they loved the flavor and spice.
3: Sweet Chili – this sauce, made by the folks behind Want’ems chips is inspired by duck sauce. I was given the sauce to sample. The dip/sauce is full of onion, pepper, garlic, and jalapeno pepper. I tossed wings in a generous helping of sauce. They were sweet, with just a little kick.

Smoked Chicken Breast with Garam Masala Rub

4 whole chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Smoking time: Approximately 2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees

Seasoning: Garam Masala seasoning
My coworkers traveled to India earlier this year and brought back an assortment of spices for me to add to my pantry. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to try them out! Garam masala is a spice blend that is made a little different by each person. It often has cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, nutmeg, and cloves. Those are all spices that go well with poultry. I rubbed each chicken breast generously with garam masala – making slits in the skin and putting the spices underneath the skin as well. Let the seasoned chicken rest in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Rub the chicken breasts with olive oil before adding to the smoker.

When the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, remove from the smoker and let rest for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with barbecue sauce. Eat it on its own or make a messy sandwich.

Smoked Brisket with Coffee Dry Rub

1 - 4.5 pound brisket, fat layer trimmed to about 1/4 inch thick
Smoking time: About 6-7 hours for this size. After 4 hours wrap brisket in foil and continue to smoke for another 2-3 hours. The internal temperature should reach 185 degrees.

Seasoning: Coffee Dry Rub. I first made this seasoning two years ago when I smoked my first ribs. The combination of coffee, brown sugar and chili powder gives the meat a great flavor.

Coffee Dry Rub (courtesy of Whole Foods Fire Up the Grill flyer, summer 2009)
2 cups light brown sugar (I used dark brown, it's all we had)
1 cup chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup medium ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely ground dark roast coffee

Serving: Let the brisket rest for at least 20 minutes before thinly slicing. Serve plain, douse in barbecue sauce or make a sandwich! Reheat the next day in barbecue sauce.

Garam Masala Barbecue Sauce

Barbecue sauce is really easy to make. If you have an extra 20 minutes, it’s well worth whipping up your own unique sauce. I wanted to incorporate the garam masala to pair with the chicken flavoring. I did some internet searching to find a recipe to consult for proportions of ingredients. I happened upon a Barefoot Contessa recipe for a basic barbecue sauce. Using the recipe as a starting place, I created my homemade sauce.

1/2 diced yellow onion
1 garlic scape, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup brown mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
3-4 tablespoons Garam Masala
1 very light sprinkle of hot red chili powder (part of my Indian spice collection)

Heat a large saucepan over medium-low heat
Add vegetable oil, chopped onions and garlic scape and sauté for 10-15 minutes until onions are translucent
Add the remainder of the ingredients and simmer on low for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally
I wanted a smooth sauce, so I used an immersion blender to blend the onions and garlic into the sauce

Makes approximately 1 quart of sauce. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator if there is any sauce leftover.


That's all for this post. Stay tuned for the next installment with appetizers and a giveaway!

The Want'ems chips and dips were provided to me as a free sample. I was not obligated to review and I did not receive any financial compensation. I received the KC Masterpiece Buffalo sauce through the FoodBuzz tastemakers program. The sample was also complementary and all thoughts about it are shared voluntarily. The rest of the food I bought at the farmers market and grocery store!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Kansas City Culinary Adventure

When I travel, I find that food is a great way to get immersed in the local culture. Even when you’ve been to a place more times than you can count there is always a new place to discover along with your old favorites. Growing up in St. Louis, we had family and friends in Kansas City and were frequent visitors (a 4 hour drive). On my recent trip to Kansas City, to surprise my friend of 29ish years for her big 30th birthday (our birthdays are 3 weeks apart), I ate my way through the weekend.

(We had matching surfer shirts when we were 8 too)

No trip to Kansas City is complete without barbecue. I started my visit with a trip to Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ. The original location is a true Diners Drive-Ins & Dives kind of place – inside a gas station! We hit the new non-gas station location for a Carolina style sandwich. Mine included almost a whole bird’s worth of smoked turkey, spicy coleslaw, and BBQ sauce on a soft roll. With a GIANT side of fries, I was pretty full through the next BBQ stop.

Saturday started with a trip to downtown Overland Park, Kansas. While you might not think of KC as a foodie destination, you’d be proven wrong by downtown OP. Anchored by the long-standing Culinary Center of Kansas City, this is a happening food place! The Culinary Center has been teaching Kansans how to cook since 1998! My uncle works with them on their graphic design, so he took me in to meet the owner. Owner Laura Laiben O'Rourke started her career as a lawyer before deciding to head to culinary school and open the culinary center. It was interesting to talk with her about the business and how it has grown and evolved over the years. Check out the website to see everything they are doing. They have everything from classes to lunch to cooking supplies (in the retail shop). After seeing a cookie decorating class in action we headed out to see a few other fun food spots. We were too early in the season to see the weekly farmers’ market, but there were other stops to make.

Just down the street we stopped into the local outpost of Penzey’s Spices (based out of Wisconsin). Wow! I picked up a few spices on my wish list – Mexican epazote for my Rick Bayless recipes, smoked Spanish paprika to remind me of my recent vacation, and lemongrass to add to my many Asian recipe creations. It was hard to resist buying one of everything. I could have spent hours smelling all the spices in the store, but I had a BBQ lunch date and had to keep moving.

Next up, we stopped into an olive oil shop that had just opened. You could mix and match numerous varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars in any combination you liked, with suggestions of course. They also offered one of my favorite things – samples! The best combination we tried was a blood orange olive oil with tangerine aged balsamic vinegar. It was tangy, citrusy, and delicious. I can imagine picking up produce at the farmers’ market and then stopping in to get some oil and vinegar to dress it up for the table.

The culinary weekend was capped off with a trip to an old favorite – Fiorella’s Jack’s Stack. You could make a meal out of the side dishes, but why skip the expertly smoked beef brisket? We started off with a few giant onion rings to keep us quiet while we waited for lunch. I had a jumbo sized beef brisket sandwich accompanied by their famous cheesy corn and baked beans. There is nothing healthy about the cheesy corn – but it is delicious. Here’s the link to try it out yourself . The beans could stand alone as a full meal – according to the Jack’s Stack website, 15% of the side dish serving of beans is hickory pit roast beef. They describe the dish as “plump beans swimming in a savory sauce with man-sized chunks of fork-tender beef brisket.” You can’t go wrong with that!

With a quick weekend trip it was hard to even make a dent in my KC Restaurant ‘To-Do List’. The next time you find yourself heading KC, let me know and you can try a few places for me. I’m already thinking about the places I am going to visit on my next trip.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Smoked Meats - Next Edition

With the success of smoking the beef ribs, I decided that it was time to try out some other meats. I picked up some beef short ribs and brisket at the store and headed home to fire up the grill.

The grill set up was the same, except the meat went directly on the grill grates this time. I consulted an assortment of grilling websites to get an estimate on how long to cook, if a mop sauce needed, and other tips for tender meat. When I cooked the ribs the first time, I split the cooking between the grill and the oven. For these short ribs, I only used the grill. I did finish off the brisket in the oven with some onions. The cook time is 4 hours plus, so I got everything set up and then mowed the lawn (keeping an eye on the grill). I had more time to spare, so I made egg salad for the week's lunch and chopped up all the veggies we had to save time during the week.

For the meats, I used the same coffee rub that I had leftover. I put on the rub and refrigerated the meat for about an hour before cooking. You could leave it overnight for even more flavor. Here's a summary of the two different meals.

Smoked Beef Short Ribs
Almost every grocery store carries beef short ribs now. They are often on sale and make a nice hearty meal. They come about 4-5 per pack - perfect for two people. These went down directly on the grill rack (not over the heat). They cooked for about 3 hours, flipping about halfway, until the meat shrinks up from the bone.

I did use a Mop Sauce to keep the meat moist, basting after about 2 hours, and then once every 45 minutes or so. It was an easy recipe - I can't remember which website I pulled it from:

Mop Sauce
1 cup beer (I used Newcastle)
1 cup apple cider (didn't have any - so I used apple juice)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup coffee
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

I served the short ribs with couscous and was too lazy to make a vegetable. I did use fruit in the dessert (I'll post that at the end).

Smoked Brisket
I love brisket - it is one of my favorite things to cook. Most of my recipes involve searing the meat and then putting it in the oven for 2-3 hours until its done. What could be easier? Smoking on the grill was just as easy. After about 2 hours I basted with the mop sauce and flipped it over. I basted every 45 minutes or so for another 2ish hours. To finish it off, I put it in the oven in a covered roasting pan filled with one bottle of Newcastle beer (to keep some moisture in there). I added some sweet vidalia onions and let it cook for another our. Since we weren't planning to have it that night, I let it cool and then put it in the fridge.

Quick note - the cook time is about 1 hour per pound of brisket. We had a 4 pound brisket.

For the onions:
Cut one vidalia onion into 1/4 inch rings
Brown in butter or olive oil in a medium skillet
Add browned onions to the brisket in the oven and let cook with the meat

On the day we wanted to eat it, I put it back in the oven for 2 hours so it would get even more tender. We sliced it and served it with some canned green beans (I had a craving for them) and some good old canned baked beans. It was a definite comfort meal. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

This was one of those meals that called for dessert. I had some cherry pie filling and canned pineapple in the pantry and decided to make a semi-upside down cake. It was delicious - I had a hard time not eating the entire cake!

Cherry Pineapple Semi-Upside Down Cake
1 can cherry pie filling (the kind with no whole cherries in it)
1/4 of a can of pineapple chunks, drained
Batter prepared from Jiffy baking mix recipe for fruit cobbler

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Dump the cherry pie filling and pineapple into the bottom of a greased 2 qt. casserole dish
Pour batter evenly over the top
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees
Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes

You can either flip the cake over onto a plate, or just cut slices and scoop it out. I'm off to the kitchen to get a piece right now!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Backyard BBQ Part 2 - Smoked Ribs

**Special note - Good Cook Doris is moving! Update your bookmarks and favorites to If you go to you will be redirected to the new address. Thanks for reading!

First up in the Backyard BBQ series is smoked ribs. My brother in Indy has a smoker and is always turning out things like brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and more. I decided that just because I don't own a smoker doesn't mean I can't do it too! After consulting numerous cookbooks and barbecue expert websites, I was all set for a great rack of ribs.

According to the BBQ gurus - the preferred equipment is obviously a dedicated smoker. Next on the list is a charcoal grill, and last on the list is a gas grill (that's what we own). The basic premise for smoking meat is to cook over indirect heat. In order to set up the grill, a few new accessories were needed. I bought some hickory wood chips, a small cast iron smoker box, and some shallow disposable aluminum pans. Instead of buying a fancy rib rack to cook the ribs in, I used the roasting rack from my turkey pan. Turning it upside down worked perfectly.

Next, for the type of ribs. There are many different kinds out there. The most popular summer ribs are typically pork ribs, something we don't cook at home. We set out to find beef ribs and were pleasantly surprised to find them on sale at the regular grocery store. We used 3.5 racks, each with 4-5 ribs per rack. They were split into half racks (there are 7 half-racks in the photo above). Note - these are not short ribs.

There are quite a few different opinions on the way to prepare ribs for cooking. Some profess that the only way to go is with sauce, some swear by a combination of a rub and a mop sauce. I decided to stick with a dry rub and let everyone decide if they wanted to add sauce.

On one of my frequent trips to Whole Foods, I picked up a summer recipe booklet along with my usual free samples. There was a recipe for "Chef Lou Lambert's Famous Coffee Dry Rub". It's written up as a rub for smoked brisket, but sounded so good that I had to try it. A few notes - this made more than enough for the ribs we made. We have plenty of rub leftover to add to other dishes. I added it to some burgers tonight and they turned out great.

Without further delay - the rub recipe and cooking instructions:

Coffee Dry Rub (courtesy of Whole Foods Fire Up the Grill flyer)
2 cups light brown sugar (I used dark brown, it's all we had)
1 cup chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup medium ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely ground dark roast coffee

Dump all ingredients in a medium bowl
Stir to combine well
Rub over all surfaces of the ribs and place ribs in a large disposable aluminum pan
Refrigerate for up to 24 hours (I only put them in the fridge for about an hour)

Cooking Instructions
Soak a few handfuls of wood chips in water for 15 minutes or more
Open up the grill and remove the grill grate
Place the smoker box over the burner you plan to turn on for cooking
Place two shallow aluminum trays over the burner(s) that you do not plan to turn on and fill them with water
Replace the grill grate on the top
Light the grill and turn all the burners to high
Close the lid and wait for about 10-15 minutes or until a lot of smoke is visible from the grill
Turn off all the burners except the one under the wood chips - turning that to medium (about 275-300 degrees)
Open the grill and place the roasting rack on the grate over the pans of water
Place the ribs into the rack
Close the lid and let cook for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure nothing is on fire

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
Turn off the burners on the grill and remove the ribs (still on the roasting rack) and place into the roasting pan
Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan
Cover tightly with aluminum foil and cook for about 1.5 - 2 hours or until tender
Transfer to a serving platter, tent with foil, and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

I served them with homemade barbecue sauce, recipe previously posted. I used maple syrup (not honey) and threw in a roasted jalapeno for some heat. The ribs were really tasty as is, so hardly any sauce was used.

Sadly, we didn't have any leftovers of this for the next day. Guess I'll have to fire up the grill again soon!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Backyard BBQ - Part 1

Inspired by the summer season, assorted cooking shows, and my brother's pictures of his BBQ goodness, we decided to try some new recipes for our summer get together. You can stop by any party this time of year for burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, and traditional cole slaw - not here! We had a delicious spread of food and I can't imagine that anyone went home hungry.

While this might seem like an intimidating list of foods to prepare, it is easy for you to do at home. There are some shortcuts that you could take (i.e pre-chopped veggies) to save time or you could enlist a few friends to help out. Most things can be prepared a day or two in advance and stored in the fridge until the guests arrive. I used a few recipes that I've posted previously (links to posts are included below).

Here's the menu for the party - descriptions of the new recipes will follow shortly. I've got a lot of writing to do!

Tortilla Chips (yellow and blue)
Pita Chips
Carrots, broccoli, and celery
Fresh tomato salsa
Avocado Tomatillo Salsa

Main Course
Smoked BBQ Ribs with a coffee rub
Sirloin burgers with sharp cheddar
Grilled Honey Mustard chicken breasts
Tangy Apple-Cabbage Slaw
Couscous Salad with sundried tomatoes, arugula, and kalamata olives
Grilled mini-peppers (orange, red, yellow)
Grilled vidalia onions
Smoky baked beans
Homemade BBQ Sauce

Regular and double chocolate chip cookies
Delicious Party Favors marble sheet cake
Assorted cookies and brownies

Sparkling Limeade
Orange Cream Soda and Root beer
Assorted Beer (with plenty of leftovers!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's a Preview - more to come

I'm still recovering from the whirlwind weekend in St. Louis. Here's a photo of the smoked ribs - recipe and story to follow!

I hope that you are enjoying the blog and are creating fun meals in your kitchen too! If you have a minute, leave a comment and say hello. It's fun to see where all the readers are from and hear what you think!


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