I wanted to get a new recipe into the rotation this summer, and given the time of year, it needed to include grilling. We had some nice inch cut boneless pork chops (cut down from a whole pork loin) that were just waiting to be eaten so I searched around for a glazed pork chop recipe. If there is anyone out there that knows grilling, it is Bobby Flay. This recipe is his, taken from foodnetwork.com.
First off, I made the mango salsa, so that it could sit in the fridge to develop its flavor. This recipe makes a big batch of salsa, so you’ll definitely have some for eating with chips before and/or after you top your pork chops with it. I actually divvied the recipe in two, so that half of the salsa was sans beans as Allyssa and Wendy don’t like beans (strange, yes, but I love them).
Dice up the Mango, green onion, and a bit of Serrano pepper (seeded, and only a tablespoon–they are hotter than jalapenos), and a bunch of cilantro (rule of thumb–you can never have too much cilantro!). Mix in a touch of honey, olive oil, and fresh lime juice, and you are in business!
so far, so good....
This is where I divided it up to add black beans.
Now we are talking!
The salsa is put into the fridge to chill for at least thirty minutes–yes, you’ll have to resist eating it all for at least this amount of time.
Onto the glaze! I mixed a cup of red wine vinegar, a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of black peppercorns together and simmered for about twenty minutes, or until thick (drag a heat proof rubber scraper across the bottom of the pan–when the sauce slowly returns to form is when it is ready). Warning–this step stinks! People in your house will start to become skeptical of your skills as a cook, and will begin to talk about what they will eat instead of your meal. You may have your own feelings of self doubt at this point also. Fret not! It will work! The sauce is missing a key ingredient here which somehow magically turns it from stinky vinegary sauce to glazey awesomeness. (No, glazey is not a word).
Puree a mango in a blender.
What is orangey-yellow and goes 100mph?
Add this to the vinegar sauce and heat for another minute. Strain it into a bowl to remove the peppercorns. Let it cool before tasting. See? You are in business!
Thick, and sticky sweet.
Now, depending on your ability to multi-task, you could grill your pork chops at the same time as making your glaze, or after you’ve finished. I elected to do the glaze first, then grill the pork chops, then reheated the glaze right before the chops came off the grill.
You’ll want to grill your pork chops about 4-5 minutes per side, depending on their thickness. I rely on an instant read thermometer and pull the chops when they are 140 degrees. Overcooked pork can dry out quickly, so watch your temp!
I pull the pork chops and liberally spread the glaze over each side. I let them rest glazed and under foil for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Top with your salsa and serve with the side of your choice. I made beer battered onion rings which I think will be a future post!
Trust me, this recipe is off the chain! The glaze sticks to the pork chops and adds a fantastic sweet mango flavor. The salsa has a touch of heat, and the green onion adds a nice complement that usually isn’t in salsa. Make them for your own family–and it’ll soon be a top request!
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 large mango, peeled and pureed
- 4 pork chops, about 5 ounces each
- Olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- 2 mangoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup cooked black beans, or canned beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon serrano pepper, seeded and finely diced
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Place vinegar, sugar and peppercorns in saucepan and reduce until thickened. Whisk in mango puree and cook 1 minute. Strain into bowl. Preheat grill. Brush pork chops with olive oil on both sides and season with salt. Grillfor 5 minutes on each side for medium doneness. Remove and brush liberally with the glaze.
For the Mango Salsa: Combine all ingredients in medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.
Potatoes aren’t always thought of as a food one would throw on the grill. After grilling a few rounds of potatoes this summer, let me tell you–they are a hit.
This time, I decided to try to spice them up a bit with some Cajun style seasoning.
I mixed up my spices with an even salt to total amount of pepper ratio. I used black, white, and cayenne pepper.
Careful--this step can induce sneezing!
Cut up your potatoes and toss them with a bit of oil. You aren’t trying to soak the potatoes, just a bit of oil so that they all get a light coating. I used extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle your seasoning over the potatoes, give them a toss, and then sprinkle a bit more seasoning.
A little sprinkling
Preheat your grill on medium to medium high heat with the cover closed. After preheating, make sure to scrape your grill grates clean. Put your potatoes cut side down on the grill and turn your heat to medium. (If using a charcoal grill, you’ll have to arrange your briquettes accordingly.)
They don't stay in these nice rows for long!
Close the cover. The trick here is that you are crisping the potatoes from the heat of the grill and baking them at the same time. Check them after about 5-7 minutes and give them a flip. You want to keep your grill closed and move them occasionally depending on the heat of your grill. Don’t be afraid of a bit of charring on the potatoes–that’ll add good flavor! In total these will take 20-25 minutes depending on how big your potatoes are and the heat of your grill. You don’t want to cook them too fast or the insides won’t cook completely.
When you are finished, pull them off the grill. You can add more seasoning if you’d like, but they do taste good at this point. I added more to mine for extra heat, while Wendy and Haley had theirs as is. What is awesome about grilled potatoes is their unique texture. They are crisp and crunchy on the outside almost like a potato chip and tender on the inside like a perfect baked potato. Serve these up with a little sour cream on the side, and you have a great summer side dish!
Potatoes washed and sliced in half or quarters depending on size
- 1 T salt
- 1 t black pepper
- 1 t white pepper
- 1 t cayenne pepper
Toss sliced potatoes with oil and seasoning (depending on amount of potatoes, you’ll have leftover seasoning). Grill covered on medium heat, turning occasionally for 20-25 minutes.
My inspiration for Beer Can Chicken came in 1999 when we happened to be in New York City and bought a copy of the Times. Steve Raichlen wrote an article entitled “So a Chicken Walks Into a Bar…..”
Over the years, I have pretty much stuck to the same recipe and plan. I use a gas grill, but have cooked my chicken on a covered charcoal grill using indirect heating. I suggest you read the article and follow the expert’s direction. I will add my rub recipe to this post and include some pictures of my latest creation.
As for the beer……. I firmly believe in the quote by Ben Franklin, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” (Even though many say this was a misquote). That said, this recipe is by far the best summer time chicken recipe I have ever seen! I only cook it once or twice each summer, and I firmly believe there is no place for cheap beer in this recipe. I also believe that high fructose corn syrup laced soft drinks don’t belong anywhere, let alone stuffed up a chicken. I never use a whole can of beer – I generally like to place some garlic cloves and onions in the beer can for added flavor. That gives me an excuse to taste test the beer prior to using it in the chicken.
If you have concerns about the chemicals in the beer can, studies have shown it to be safe! There are racks, etc for sale to do beer can chicken in the oven, or to help hold it on the grill. In my humble opinion it is a waste of money. Beer Can Chicken is for summer time grilling. When the cold Wisconsin winter hits, I will add my favorite all time whole chicken oven recipe!
1 Tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon pepper (I mix half white and half black pepper)
1/2 teaspoon dryoregano
1/2 teaspoon dry thyme
1/2 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
All ingredients for the rub - ready to mix up!
Mix it all together. Wash and dry the chicken, place the rub all over the bird, get underneath the skin the best you can! Keep the chicken in the refrigerator until ready for the grill.
Ready for the grill!
Preheat the grill. Place the beer can in the chicken’s cavity, practice propping the chicken up on its legs. I had one bad experience with a chicken that toppled over on the grill, and now take great care to prop up my chicken carefully. Place the chicken on the preheated grill. I use a Weber Genesis grill, and turn off my middle burner for indirect heating. I adjust the burners to medium, which is about 350 degrees. Sometimes I add wood chips, sometimes I don’t. At this point, check the grill occasionally. I usually check the temperature of the chicken after about 1 hour just to be on the safe side. 165 degrees is the posted temperature for chicken. I generally go a little higher. Make sure the juices run clear.
Chicken is done!
I placed some garlic cloves and olive oil in aluminum foil on the grill for about 45 minutes. I used the garlic in my mashed potatoes.
Carefully place the chicken and beer can on a platter when done, and let it rest for 15 minutes. I grilled some summer squash while the chicken was resting and mashed my roasted garlic and potatoes. I grab the beer can with tongs, and carefully remove it from the chicken. Cut up the chicken and serve!
Chicken breast, garlic roasted mashed potatoes, grilled squash.
There are countless recipe books on the topic of pizza. We received one from John and Mary one Christmas, and while I had made many a pizza prior to this, it started me on a quest of pizza perfection.
When I mention that I make pizza at home, the first comment from most is, “do you make your dough from scratch?” My answer is yes! And it is easy!
Learn some basics first about bread and pizza dough. First – dough is simply three parts water to one part flour. Doesn’t change much from that. Add some yeast and it rises! That’s about it! I have added some sugar (an inspiration from Martha Stewart), salt (careful here!) and a little olive oil. You can change things here and there – add a little whole wheat flour or perhaps an addition of corn meal for a mexican inspired pizza. Just keep the general quantities the same – 3 parts flour to one part water. Smaller pizza – do the math! Two pizzas – you got it! Do the math!
Let’s start with the basic dough recipe that I use. I started making pizza from Chef BoyArDee mixes probably at the age of 13 or so. I remember American cheese slices and hot dogs as my usual toppings. Not a good memory. My best friend Tom turned me on to mozzarella and sausage, and the journey to pizza perfection began. I feel real comfortable saying this is my recipe, as I have changed quantities, added things, etc. from countless recipes over the years.
Basic Pizza Dough:
2 cups flour – I generally use 1 cup bread flour and 1 cup general purpose. Use what you wish, and experiment!
2/3 cup water – Room temperature works just fine!
1 teaspoon yeast – Most recipes call for a teaspoon per cup of water – I add a little extra for the yeasty pizza taste!
1 tablespoon oil - Olive oil is nice, but not necessary.
1/4 teaspoon sugar - Read it once in a Martha Stewart magazine – honest!
1/2 teaspoon salt – I like to add salt after mixing the first cup of flour – word on the street is that salt and yeast don’t like to touch each other!
1. Start by adding the yeast to the 2/3 cup of water. Mix it up a bit. You can let it sit for a few minutes – I generally do, but if you are in a rush, you can begin adding the other ingredients.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive (or canola) oil.
3. Add one cup of bread flour (if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it, regular flour is fine!)
4. Mix it up, then add about 1/2 cup or so of the regular flour, stir, then dump the whole thing on the counter.
Mixing the dough
5. Knead the dough. Add remaining flour as you are kneading the dough. You may not need the full amount of flour. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
Kneading the dough
6. That’s it – total time, less than 10 minutes! Not bad. Place in a clean bowl, add just a little oil to keep the dough from drying out, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit. I generally plan for about an hour or so for the dough to rise – winter time may take a little longer. You can cheat and put the oven on warm for just a minute or two, turn it off, then place the dough in the oven. Don’t forget to turn the oven off! If you want pizza after a long hard day of work, no problem! Just place the dough in the refrigerator, and it will be a perfect rise when you come home from work.
The dough is ready!
Now for the fun part! Time to form the pizza, top it, and slide it onto a preheated pizza stone! If you do not have a pizza stone, purchase a nice large one. Mine is 15″ x 14″. If you have a smaller stone, you might need to cut back on the size of this pizza. Do the math, and adjust accordingly. Set the oven to 500 degrees F and preheat the oven and stone for about 30 minutes at least.
One of our favorite magazines is Cook’s Illustrated. If you are a beginning or experienced cook, I highly recommend a subscription – it is well worth it! Each issue has hints and great recipes in it. One issue mentioned the difficulty of taking pizza off the wooden peel when trying to slide it onto a pizza stone in the oven. It is something I struggled with for years – cornmeal was the best thing to use to keep the dough from sticking. The authors found that parchment paper under the dough made for an easy slide onto the stone. I have never gone without since!
Rip off a sheet of parchment paper and form the dough into a circle. If the dough doesn’t want to move, and it springs back – just wait 5 to 10 minutes for it to rest. If you wish, you can use a rolling pin. If you really want to get crazy, start throwing it around. I have not had good luck with crazy!
I use just a little tomato sauce – half of an eight ounce can. Use more if desired. I save the remaining sauce for another time! If you are out of sauce, other options remain, and will be discussed at the end of this article.
Dough formed into an (almost) perfect circle
Now it is time for the toppings. Use what you have in the fridge or pantry. Olives, mushrooms (fresh preferred), peppers, spinach, broccoli, artichokes, shrimp, chicken (cooked), pepperoni – whatever you wish. We recently joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), and had an abundance of spinach and broccoli, so that became or base.
Spinach broccoli base
I added some grated mozzarella, feta cheese, left over chicken/habanero bratwurst sliced thin, mushrooms, and fresh basil.
Toppings set! Ready for the oven
I trim the parchment paper before putting it in the oven, as it has a tendency to burn on the edges. Slide it onto the HOT pizza stone, and cook for 10 – 11 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes after coming out of the oven, slice and enjoy!
As for toppings – be creative, use what you have on hand. (American cheese and hot dogs not withstanding!) One of my favorites came from my brother in law John - Precook the dough for one minute, spread olive oil on the dough, top with cut up shrimp ( I pre-saute for about two minutes), swiss cheese, and chives. Experiment, and have fun!
Several years ago I stopped by at our local fish monger, and saw that they had cedar planks for sale. I was purchasing some fresh salmon at the time, and as I have often said to my wife and children, “I could make those!” I had some left over cedar boards from a recent project, and resawed them to a thickness of 3/8″ on my bandsaw. Through the beauty of the internet, I researched the best way to cook with them, and found a great, very easy recipe! Most people do not own a bandsaw, and are unable to resaw the pieces – I would suggest purchasing pre-made planks at a local kitchen supply store or place that sells grills and accessories. It is also a great excuse to purchase a new power tool!
As for fish – if possible avoid fish that has not been prepared in the U.S. After reading several articles recently, I make sure to check for the country of origin before purchasing. It may cost a little more, but in my opinion it is well worth it! For a list of salmon (and other fish) that is acceptable for sustainable fishing, visit:
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_factsheet.aspx?gid=17 If you find this recipe works for you, try other fish on the plank! I recently purchased some fresh halibut for our anniversary dinner, and it was remarkable cooked on the plank.
Soak the cedar for two hours at least before grilling. If you do not do this, the cedar will actually start on fire, and make a mess of your dinner!
In the meantime, prepare the salmon: Rub a little olive oil on the flesh, season with salt and pepper, and place thin slices of purple onion and lemon on the fish.
About 45 minutes before serving time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Chop either three or four yukon gold or red potatoes into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add one tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon (or more if desired) of paprika. Stir together, and place on a baking sheet. You will cook these for twenty minutes or so for each side, for a total of 40 minutes.
Oven roasted potatoes
About 20 minutes before serving time, fire up the grill! I have a Weber Genesis gas grill, which I simply set on high for preheating.You may use any covered charcoal or gas grill for this recipe. Adjust your time accordingly for whatever your situation is.
After pre-heating for 5 minutes, place the soaked cedar plank on the grill. Cover, turn down the heat slightly, and let the plank pre-heat for 5 minutes. Place the salmon on the plank and cook for 10 minutes. Note: if you are using farm raised salmon which is considerably thicker, you may need to cook the fish for an additional 5 minutes.
Salmon and Summer Squash on the grill!
Peg sauteed some fresh spinach with a little garlic and seasonings. We used this as a base for the salmon, added the roasted potatoes and squash, and had a feast to remember!
Cedar Planked Salmon on a bed of lightly sauteed spinach.
When I go to library, I usually head down the new arrivals section and check out the new cookbooks that arrive. A couple of months ago, I checked out Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. The pictures were great, but the process seemed a bit too complex for me. Lots of steps, including weighing ingredients and making a sourdough starter. I returned it thinking that perhaps someday I would give it a shot. I follow The Way the Cookie Crumbles and Bridget wrote an article detailing her try at sourdough bread using the Tartine book method. I was inspired to try it myself. Rather than rewrite the recipe, just head over to her blog and follow those instructions if you’d like to make this bread.
First, a bit on sourdough starters. I had seen recipes that call for a starter that you mix up ahead of time. Essentially a starter is equal parts flour and water (or sometimes juice). Magically (or scientifically) this mixture cultivates wild yeast and begins to rise and fall. You “feed” the starter by discarding most of it and giving it more equal parts flour and water. Once your starter behaves in a predictable way, you are ready to bake with it.
I’ll say this. There is something deeply satisfying about creating bread from only flour, salt, and water. The process is lengthy, though not really labor intensive. I began this loaf two weeks ago! I thought that my starter wasn’t working correctly, so I headed over to the forums at The Fresh Loaf and got some quick advice over there. The advice boiled down to “stick with it”, and I continued my daily feedings of my starter. Yesterday I turned my dough out multiple times over a four hour period, let the dough rest in the fridge, and baked up my first loaf this morning. The bread has a crunchy, crusty texture on the outside and a soft, chewy inside. The sourdough flavor is there, but it isn’t super strong. Just an overall delicious bread!
The beauty of this process of creating a starter is that I now have it indefinitely. There are sourdough starters that are over one hundred years old in various parts of the world. For mine, it’ll go into the fridge, and I’ll feed it once a week or so and be able to use it for all types of baking.
Anyone who lives in the Chicagoland area can tell you about Portillo’s. Go there any time of day and the place is off the hook. I don’t think I’ve ever visited Portillo’s on a “slow” day. They serve great hot dogs, Italian beefs, fries, and more. Most Portillo’s have two counters—one where you order the traditional sandwich and fries style food, and another where you order specialty sandwiches and salads. Being a traditional meat, potato, and good-greasy-grub style guy myself, I never bothered with the latter.
However, my wife, Wendy and step daughter, Allyssa discovered the “Chopped Salad” served there and brought me home leftovers. Two things in particular jumped out at me with this salad. One, it has bacon. There didn’t even need to be a second thing, but I also thought the dressing really made the salad.
We sometimes serve salad as an entrée at the dinner table in my family, but it is always grilled chicken Caesar salads. Allyssa requested that I make chopped salad for dinner one week, so I had to take up the challenge. I knew the key was the dressing. I searched the Internet for any information I could find about the “secret” dressing. My two strongest leads were to buy an Italian dressing at Aldi’s and emulsify it in the food processor, and Marzeti’s Sweet Italian dressing. The Marzeti’s seemed like the easier route, so I went with that. I also learned that the cheese in the salad is Gorgonzola, not bleu cheese as I had suspected. (Gorgonzola is actually bleu cheese. Wikipedia says it gets its name from the region where it is made. I bought domestic Gorgonzola, so perhaps I really just bought bleu cheese—confusing maybe, so just buy what you like!)
Fry up the bacon. Break it into bits. A good tip to get crispy bacon is to heat it over medium low to medium heat. It takes longer, but gets your bacon nice and crispy without scorching it.
Much like Vanilla Ice cooks MCs.
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. You could use seasoning on the chicken—I wanted the dressing to be the main flavor, so I kept it simple on the chicken.
Cook the chicken. I use an indoor grill for this step. I think grilled chicken is better for this salad than baked, pan fried, or boiled. Let the chicken rest under some foil, then let it cool and cube it.
Cook your noodles. After getting my noodles to the right firmness I rinse them with cold water to cut off the cooking process immediately and cool off the noodles.
Dice your tomatoes. I remove the juicy inside and only use the firm pieces.
Chop your cabbage down into small bits.
Chop your lettuce into nice bite size pieces.
Mix all of your ingredients together except the dressing. I like a lot of noodles in my salad. It’s almost like a pasta salad with lettuce instead of a lettuce salad with pasta. At this point I mix in a bit of the dressing to soak into the noodles. I go easy on the dressing so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. When serving, leave out the dressing so each person can dress to their tastes.
BTW… this is only half of the salad!
The salad isn’t exactly like the Portillo’s salad, but it is close, and a worthy home made substitute. I think it would be a hit at any dinner party or cookout. Try different types of Gorgonzola, and go easy on it at first. The first time I made this salad, the cheese we bought was STRONG. Subsequently, I went with a different brand and the flavor was much more subtle. If there is anyone who thinks a different dressing would work better, please let me know in the comments!
1 head of iceberg lettuce or 2 bunches romaine lettuce (in the following photos I used romaine, but I used iceberg the first time I made the salad)
¼ head red cabbage
3-4 Roma tomatoes
1 lb. bacon
2-3 Chicken breasts
5-6 oz. Gorgozola Cheese
1 lb ditali or ditalini noodles (small macaroni noodles w/o the elbow)
Marzeti’s Sweet Italian dressing
NOTE: This is a “party-size” recipe. Great to bring to a backyard cookout. It keeps well in the fridge for a few days if you want to eat leftovers.
About once a month I make tofu scramble. Every single time, without fail, Brian has no clue that he is not eating eggs (In fact, as he was reading this to help me edit, he turned to me and said, “What? There were no eggs in that at all?!”). Just a touch of turmeric gives the scramble the egg-yellowish color. If you have never tried tofu before, this is a nice introduction.
I use homemade tofu, and I really recommend either making your own or finding a fresh source (try an Asian market). For some reason, even though tofu has very little flavor, the quality and texture of fresh tofu trumps any boxed or packaged kinds from the store. Be sure to buy firm or extra firm, and stay away from the long lasting shelf-variety. Tofu should be bought from a refrigerator case.
Normally when you cook with tofu you want to press it for 30-60 minutes ahead of time. In my kitchen this usually involves lots of towels, a plate, and a few heavy objects balanced precariously on top of a large hunk of tofu. But with tofu scramble, this step is optional; I just cook the scramble long enough so that most of the excess water in the tofu evaporates.
Now, a note to all you skeptics: Don’t knock it ’til you try it. I’m not a proselytizer of pure vegetarianism, but I do enjoy vegetarian cooking and eating. Tofu is nutritious, and hey, if you find yourself staring at hungry vegans in the morning you’ll have something to feed them.
This recipe calls for the addition of onion, tomato, and green chili - traditional ingredients in huevos a la mexicana, or Mexican-style scrambled eggs. I prefer it this way, but vegetables can be omitted or exchanged as you like. Anything that would taste good in an omelet would work in a tofu scramble.
Yield: 4-6 servings, depending on the size of your block of tofu and the quantity of side dishes. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated – an advantage tofu scramble has over scrambled eggs!
- 12-16 ounce block of tofu
- 2 Tbsp oil (canola or olive oil)
- 1 small or 1/2 medium red onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 poblano pepper, diced (substitute bell pepper if desired)
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- salt, pepper
- Drain and rinse tofu. Press if desired. Cut into 1 inch cubes.
- Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
- Add pepper, cumin, and tumeric. Cook a few minutes more.
- Add tofu, and with your spatula break it up as you stir it around. Do this as artfully as you want to give your scramble the appearance of actual eggs. If I’m going for an egg look, I’ll spend some time making sure there are no square corners.
- Cook until tofu heats through. If you haven’t pressed your tofu, keep it on the heat and let vapor escape until you like the texture.
- Add tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. The last time I made this breakfast I served it with slices of mango and fried potatoes. Serve tofu scramble with sides of your choice. What’s that you say? Bacon??
Omit the chili and the tomato. Add…
- Mushrooms and green peppers
- Spinach and olives
- Corn, black beans, topped with salsa
- Zucchini and tomato
This summer I have graduated into a higher class of backyard BBQ-er. I’m certainly no pro yet, but the meat (and even some veggies) that has come off of my grill lately gets strong reviews from my family and friends. A book that is a huge help and guide for me is the Cook’s Country Best Grilling Recipes. I have cooked slow cooked pork shoulder, ribs, Texas BBQ beef, beef brisket, and more. There hasn’t been a bad recipe yet. I highly recommend at least checking it out from your library.
Cooks Country didn’t have a recipe for Country Style Ribs, so I started searching online for advice. What I do found is that these ribs almost resemble steaks, and that many people advise cooking them for about 90 minutes. There are also recipes that threw the ribs into a crock pot and cooked them all day in a bottle of BBQ sauce. I wanted to try for the best of both worlds–Country Style Ribs with a nice sear and an almost bark like exterior with juicy meat inside that fell apart easily and melts in my mouth.
I knew that I’d be wanting a dry rub, so I set out to find a recipe. My cooking experience is only from the last few years, so I usually start with a recipe, and then experiment with future batches for my own spin. I also recommend when finding a recipe to try combining flavors from multiple recipes to match your own palette. The rub I found is here.
I modified it slightly to this version which I used on seven pounds of ribs. Extra rub can be stored in a sealed container.
1/2 cup of onion powder
8 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoon black pepper
4 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoon ground mustard
2 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
NOTE: I thought that this was a TON of onion powder–I’ve never used this much before, but it was not overpowering, so don’t be afraid to spread it on!
First, I took the ribs out of the package fully thawed. After patting each rib down with a paper towel, I laid them out on a foil lined baking sheet so they’d all fit in one spot.
Next, I generously poured my dry rub onto the ribs. I worked the rub in with my hands, flipped each rib, and did the same to the other side. I then covered my ribs and let them sit at room temperature for an hour, while I got my grill ready.
I soaked 2-3 cups of hickory chips in water prior to firing up the grill. 15 minutes before I was ready to cook I wrapped the chips in foil, poked holes in the packet, and set it on top of my grill grates. I fired up the grill on high and let it pre heat. Just before putting the ribs on, I scrubbed down the grill and oiled it (a good technique for this is dipping a wad of paper towel into the oil, hold it with tongs, and brush it along the grates).
I seared each side of my ribs for about 4-5 minutes on high heat with the grill open.
Next, I turned off all burners except the burner on the left, which I turned down to low. I planned on doing a three hour long cook at around 250 degrees using indirect heat. Midway through, I flipped and rotated my ribs.
Many people would take their ribs off at this point. I tasted one–the spice was nice, and the flavor was there, but I wanted my ribs to be more tender. I piled them into a disposable aluminum pan and filled the bottom of the pan with apple juice (around a cup or so… just enough to fill the bottom, but not so much to rinse off my rub!). You could substitute water, or perhaps beer in this step. The point is to slowly braise the ribs and create steam to soften the meat. I wrapped the whole thing up with foil and left it on the grill.
Don’t forget to cover it!
While the ribs were cooking with the juice, I prepared my BBQ sauce. I have found that whipping up a small batch of BBQ sauce is far better than store bought sauce. I used the Cook’s Country recipe. You can find quick, easy, and tasty recipes online by searching for ketchup, molasses, and cider vinegar. (Click here for auto Google search)
After an hour I pulled back the foil, and the ribs looked (and smelled!) great! I took the pan off of the grill and I restarted the center and right burner to medium high heat, preheating for a few minutes. I put each rib back on the grill and brushed them with sauce. I flipped and sauced every couple of minutes for about 15 minutes.
Finally, I took them off the grill, covered them with foil, and let them rest for about 15-20 minutes. All told I spent nearly five hours on these ribs. Don’t be intimidated by the time, though. While they took 5 hours, there was only about 30-45 minutes of actual work. I’ll definitely fire up these ribs again–the whole family loved them! They have a nice spiciness to them, but a sweet and tangy hit with the sauce, and they fall apart as you cut them. Serve them with a knife and fork as they are too big to handle by fingers, and some of the cuts have ribbons of fat that you’ll want to cut off. Delicious!