Archives for March 2011
For a great side at your next barbecue, try Cheesy Ranch Potatoes. The secret is time, otherwise they are simple and everyone loves them. In the age of the microwave, these are best cooked in the oven for an hour, but you can really use any type of potatoes and onions.
Cheesy Ranch Potatoes
4 lbs russet potatoes, but into cubes
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 stick of butter, sliced
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack-Colby cheese blend
1 small bottle prepared buttermilk ranch dressing
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish. Put potatoes and onions in dish. Season with chili powder, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Evenly distribute pats of butter amongst the potatoes and onions. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
Remove foil and add cheese, bacon and ranch dressing. Stir to coat. Cook uncovered about 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot.
Can You Really Grill Pork Ribs? By Paul Yates
I’ve been a BBQ enthusiast for many years now and in the early years it was really only about grilling. You see coming from Europe most of my influences were for what Americans call grilling, the idea of hot smoking really isn’t part of European culture. That’s now starting to change and I hope that I can do my bit to support that change.
Some of that clearly is to do with the weather. The closest culture to America has to be England and frankly there isn’t a place on Earth that can be more damp and dreary when it wants to be. Not the sort of weather that promotes outdoor cooking as a hobby.
In my formative years most of my grilling was done in mainland Europe (much, much warmer and drier than Blighty) I’d grill anything and everything that the butcher had to offer. I often think about the different countries of Europe and the different things they sell. For example, go into a butcher in Germany and ask for lamb and he’ll look at you blankly and say no……don’t plan a holiday in Germany unless you like beef, pork, pork and more pork!
Having said that Pork is in abundance, it’s still difficult to get hold of ribs. If the Germans don’t buy them, who does? Maybe they’re all shipped to the States where they know how to cook them?
When I did eventually get to grill ribs it was as individual ribs rather than a side – big mistake. The ribs were dry, not my best effort. So can you really grill ribs and get a decent result or am I flogging a dead horse?
I think the answer is yes you can but with one caveat:-
You have to appreciate grilled ribs for what they are and not make a direct comparison with smoked ribs. Grilling is one technique, smoking is another they should exist side by side and not compete with each other.
Flavor-wise, a lot is down to the sauce or the rub, the difference is more about the texture. A grilled rib will have a much firmer texture to it as opposed to the tender fall of the bone results that you get out of the “low and slow” BBQ smoker. Grilling is a direct heat cooking process and this heat will cause muscular tissue to contract hence making for firmer results.
That said it’s important to give a grilled rib every opportunity to tenderize so to make good grilled ribs I believe that the best way is to break the process down into 3 parts.
- Marinade the ribs. By definition a marinade is a liquid that contains an acid and it’s this acid that helps to tenderize the meat.
- Pop them in a pan of boiling water for 15 minutes. This cooks the ribs and you can also add flavors to the water.
- Grill for ten minutes. Your not really cooking the ribs here, just mobilizing any fats to add some smoky flavor and get a bit of external caramelization.
When done, add the homemade barbecue sauce of your choice and enjoy grilled barbecue ribs.
This is another of my leftover pulled pork barbecue recipes. I always make a lot, and really I do that on purpose so we can freeze some for sandwiches, make Pulled Pork BBQ Spaghetti (recipe in another post) and make my now famous Barbecue Grits. This dish freezes well also. Recipe below:
3 cups pulled pork barbecue
2 cups grits
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
8 oz mozzarella cheese
1 small jalapeño, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Boil 6 cups of water and 2 tsp salt. Gradually add grits, reduce heat to low and cover for about 5 minutes. Add butter, garlic powder, milk, cheese, jalapeño and onion and mix well. Remove from heat after cheese is melted and all ingredients are blended. Temper eggs and add to grits. Stir in pulled pork barbecue. Spray a 9×13 dish with non-stick spray before pouring grits into dish. At this point, the dish can be frozen and baked later (up to 3 months). To bake, thaw completely and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm. Reheats well too.
As the weather starts to think about getting warmer in the South (at least we can hope), we begin to plan our outdoor meals. One of my favorite things is grilled fresh vegetables, but as a friend once told me, it isn’t necessary a given that they will turn out good.
So, let’s talk about perfect grilled veggies. Of course, some of that is subjective, but I believe charred on the outside yet tender on the inside sure beats overcooked and mushy, or undercooked and too crunchy. If you cook them about 1o minutes on a hot grill, they will likely come out burned on the outside and raw on the inside, but if you cook them just 10 minutes on a medium fire they won’t cook long enough. What are the BarbecueTricks.com secrets? As with anything, good food takes time – low and slow is best. All veggies are not created equal – they don’t cook at the same rate, as a general rule, cook them over a MEDIUM fire for about 16-20 minutes.
The seasoning is also very important – bland is not good no matter how it’s cooked! Try using different oil-based dressings, such as Italian dressing, to marinate your veggies at least an hour before grilling. Just before skewering or loading into a grill basket (shown), sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and garlic (and cayenne if you’re like me). If you do not use an oil-based dressing, try a sprinkle of Greek or Cajun seasoning and toss in a little olive oil before cooking. After cooking, sprinkle a little more dressing over all to coat and serve immediately.
So, if you follow these simple guidelines below, and have properly seasoned your favorites, you will be rewarded with pride-of-the-neighborhood grilled vegetables!
Zucchini, Onion & Yellow Squash – Grill over medium heat 18 – 22 minutes. Turn as needed for even cooking.
Mushrooms, Eggplant, Bell Peppers – Grill over medium heat 16 – 18 minutes, turning once.
This week’s BBQ podcast was a fun one. Jack Waiboer forgot the bacon cookies (see previous podcast) but brought a cool gadget for thermometer temperature probes (for meat thermometers and other probes).
Plus the secret ingredient was one that is unusual to non-chefs. Beef base (or paste). Take a look and see how it might help your next brisket. Wash it down with some Bakon Vodka.
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