New Year’s Resolution – Create Your Own Food

New Year’s Resolution – Create Your Own Food

The new year is upon us. With it comes a new set of goals and resolutions, hopes and promises. Unfortunately the same ten or fifteen pounds is still hanging around. Gyms will be filling up this month and people will be abstaining from the delicious fatty foods that they love all in an attempt to make up for the holiday gluttony. The reality is that most of us will not keep the resolutions that we made. Those resolutions are not made to help us start the new year right; they’re made to help us justify eating pie every day from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. And that’s OK. You’re not going to better yourself by making faulty promises or outright lies and then feeling guilty when you don’t follow through. All any of us really want is happiness. The trick is to be happy with who and what you are, in whatever situation you find yourself. And the trick to that is to be honest. It’s OK that your butt has grown over the last year. You can shrink it if you want to, but big butts are cool too!

I have found food to be the catalyst to making life better. It makes perfect sense, really. You have to eat food to live. If you take control of your food, you take control of your life. That doesn’t mean eating diet food; fake food makes a fake life!

Resolution: Eat real food. Create your own food.

It’s very easy to plow through a pint or two of ice cream when all you have to do for it is stroll through the frozen food isle at the grocery store. Try making your own; take the time to do it right and you will savor every last spoonful. When you create your own cuisine you know and control what goes into it. You learn to think about what goes into your body. You will take pride in what you make, what you eat, and by extension, what you’re made of. My diet consists of literally anything that I want to eat; but I make most of it myself.

One of the best things you can do for yourself is to keep a garden. If that seems too intimidating, start with a few potted herbs. By seeing them grow and being responsible for keeping them alive you will be more compelled to use them. Which means you will cook more. And by using fresh herbs you will cut the need for salt and fat- a sprig of fresh rosemary packs a lot of flavor. Lemon zest is a great way to add a bright flavor and enhance the other ingredients of your dishes. Try making your own pizza dough; top it with olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh herbs, lemon zest, a little salt and pepper, and some freshly ground Parmesan cheese. It will be better than anything that you could get delivered, at a tiny fraction of the cost, and you don’t have to feel guilty about it! Here are a few recipes that take advantage of herbs and spices for flavor. But remember: don’t deprive yourself of the food you like, empower yourself by learning how to create it on your own. That knowledge will go a long way. If you knew what went into making the food that gets passed through the drive-thru window, you would drive right past.

Pomegranate Roasted Lamb

  • 3-4 lb. lamb leg meat
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2-3 sprigs of marjoram
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 8 oz pomegranate juice
  • 8 oz red wine
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 shallots, diced

Combine the lamb with the coriander, marjoram, rosemary, cardamom, white pepper, juice and wine. Marinate for at least a few hours. Heat oven to 325˚ Heat up a roasting pan or tagine, add the oil. Sauté the onions and garlic until they start to get a bit of color, add the lamb and caramelize slightly on all sides. Add the liquid, loosely cover and move to the oven. Cook until tender, about 1½ hours.

Arugula Cranberry Salad

  • 1 oz. pure cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp lavender
  • 6 oz. olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 lb. fresh arugula
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach
  • 2 TBS each: chopped, fresh basil, parsley, marjoram
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese

Whisk together the juices, vinegar, mustard, ginger and lavender. Slowly whisk in olive oil, season to taste. Toss with arugula, cranberries, pecans and cheese.

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Holiday Cocktails – Hot Chocolate, Pancake Shots, and More!

Holiday Cocktails – Hot Chocolate, Pancake Shots, and More!

Chef J wants you to make it through the holidays with a smile on your face! This week he shares some festive holiday cocktails that are sure to brighten up your party!

We’re on the home stretch toward the big holiday parties! Whether your celebrations are populated by hip friends in freshly pressed suits and little black dresses or extended family in terrible Christmas sweaters that aren’t being worn ironically, chances are the tie that binds is sweet, sweet liquor. It doesn’t matter if you’re hitting the eggnog bright and early or waiting for that final champagne toast: booze is what makes the party world turn. Holiday cocktails bring people together, coax strangers to mingle, and make your aunt’s “famous” casserole almost edible! Anthropologists believe that civilization started because of the discovery and production of alcohol; so the least you can do is put up with grandma’s never ending interrogation about why you aren’t married yet for one night!

Here are a few recipes for fun holiday cocktails that will surely liven up your party.

If you want to be extra festive keep a supply of holiday themed sprinkles, maraschino cherries (they come in red and green), grenadine, food coloring, whipped cream, maybe some fresh mint leaves, fresh berries, etc. The holidays need to be decorated; there is no reason to exclude your drinks. Mix a teaspoon of grenadine in some ginger ale for the kids (or champagne for the old kids) with a green maraschino cherry for flare. Shake some chocolate sprinkles over your hot cocoa to show them that you care. And a spoonful of cream will float on the top of most heavy liqueurs to give your shots a festive, snow-capped look.

A little razzle-dazzle will go a long way to secure your place as the greatest holiday party host of all time!

Best Hot Chocolate Ever

  • 8 oz. milk chocolate
  • 4 oz. white chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, ground
  • 8 oz. cream
  • 1 gal milk
  • 4 oz. Frangelico (optional- can be added later)
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt

Melt the chocolate, sugar and cream together.
Heat the milk in a large pot. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the milk along with the hazelnuts; bring to a simmer.
Strain the hazelnuts out of the liquid and add the liqueur, nutmeg and salt.

Apple Cider

  • 64 oz. unfiltered apple juice
  • 32 oz. water
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3-4 whole cloves
  • ½ cup honey
  • Brandy

Bring all ingredients, except Brandy, to a simmer. Let steep for at least 30 minutes (you can do this a day early and reheat to serve to get more spicy flavor). Serve hot. Season to taste with Brandy. Leave the Brandy on the side so the kids and drivers can have cider, too!

Pancake Shot

  • 1 ½ oz. maple whiskey
  • ½ oz. Irish Cream

Pour the whiskey into a shot glass.
Slowly pour the Irish Cream into it, the cream will sink.
Shoot it!

Christmas Mint Shot

  • ½ oz. Grenadine
  • 1 oz. Creme de Menthe

Pour the grenadine into a shot glass.
Carefully spoon the Creme de Menthe over the grenadine so that it floats on top.
(Peppermint Schnapps will work in place of the Creme de Menthe if you want clear/red instead of green/red).

Ginger Berry Tummy Tonic

  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • ½ oz. Raspberry liqueur
  • 8 oz. Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic, “real” ginger ale)

Add the Bourbon and Raspberry Liqueur to a champagne flute or rocks glass.
Pour the Ginger Beer over it.
Serve chilled or over ice.
This one helps the ol’ tummy after a long night of stuffing your face with delicious holiday treats!

Do you have a favorite holiday cocktail? Share with us! No, really, share with us!
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holiday cocktails

Christmas Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, Brussels Sprouts, Mac & Cheese

Christmas Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, Brussels Sprouts, Mac & Cheese

It’s time once again for Christmas dinner. How super excited are you for another big, fat ham?! Maybe with some pineapple slices stapled around it? Wow! My mouth is watering just thinking about another greasy, syrupy slice! You know what would go well with that? Some store bought, boxed stuffing! Oh sweet culinary delight! Is my sarcasm coming across? I can never tell. How about this: this year we’re going to make a Christmas dinner that is equal in comfort to the classics that we’re used to, but this time we’ll make it quicker, easier, healthier, deliciouser, and all around betterer. Here are a few recipes that will please your table without overwhelming you with grocery shopping, dishes, and grey-hair-making time management.

All of these dishes can be drastically modified to accommodate your taste and the ingredients you have on hand…creating your own perfect Christmas Dinner.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Spice Rub:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp chopped, fresh rosemary
  • ½ tsp allspice

Combine all ingredients and set aside.

Pork Tenderloin and Filling:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1/3 cup Feta cheese
  • ½ a sweet apple, chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup chopped shallot
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp spice rub

Combine all ingredients except tenderloin and set aside.

You can usually find pork tenderloins packed in brine at your standard supermarket. If you have a nice butcher shop close by you will be treated to a much better product, but you will want to soak the tenderloin in brine overnight, or at least for a few hours, to help it retain moisture. Remove the silver skin by carefully cutting under the thickest part of that connective tissue with a thin sharp knife, such as a filet knife. Hold that end with a paper towel to get a firm grip, gently cut along the length of the silver skin with your knife angled up so that you remove it while leaving as much of the meat as possible. When that is all cleaned up it’s time to butterfly. Simply cut through the tenderloin lengthwise until you can fold it open, leaving a solid, flat piece of pork. Very gently pound it with a meat mallet or empty wine bottle to flatten and thin it out. Again, a real butcher shop is your best bet- they will do all of this for you!

Heat your oven to 350. Pile the filling into the center of the pork tenderloin. Carefully roll the tenderloin up around the filling. Tie the Pork up with butcher’s twine so that the filling cannot spill out. Season the outside of the tenderloin with the remaining spice rub. Heat an oven safe pan to medium. Sear the tenderloin on three sides until just golden brown, when you get to the fourth side throw the pan in the oven and let it go for about 25 minutes. When the center of the roast reaches 160 remove it from the pan and set it aside. Let the roast rest for at least 5 minutes before removing the string and slicing. There will be some tasty dripping left in the pan that can easily be turned into a sauce by whisking together a bit more herbs, a dollop of grain mustard or a sprinkle of flour, and a half a glass of cider, beer, or wine. Simmer to reduce. Season to taste.

christmas dinner pork tenderloin

Roasted Brussels SproutsChristmas Dinner brussel sprouts

  • 1 lb. fresh or frozen Brussels sprouts
  • 4 strips bacon, chopped
  • 2 TBS finely chopped shallot
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • Salt & pepper

Heat your oven to 350. Slowly cook the bacon over medium heat to render out the fat in a small frying pan. Save 1 tablespoon of the fat for the mac and cheese you’ll be making. In a roasting pan, toss the bacon with the remaining ingredients and mix up to make sure the sprouts are nicely coated. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. The cooking time will depend on how done you like your sprouts; you can let them go for about 15 minutes for a crunchier, fresher Brussels sprout or cook the heck out of them for about 25 minutes, letting them soak up all of that great bacon fat.

Mac & Cheese

  • 1 lb. macaroni, cooked
  • 1 TBS fat (bacon is best!)
  • 1 TBS flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup of your favorite cheese, shredded
  • Salt & pepper

Mix the fat and flour together in a large pot over medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, whisking continually until it starts to bubble up and take on a golden color. Slowly whisk in the milk. Add the nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Slowly mix in the cheese and stir until melted. Add the cooked macaroni and stir to coat. Season to taste.

 

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Leftover Turkey – What To Do With All That Goodness

Leftover Turkey – What To Do With All That Goodness

Now that you know how to roast and carve your turkey, you can start thinking about what to do with all those delicious leftovers!

Chef J shares a couple of his favorite recipes for leftover turkey so you don’t get bored by day three!

It’s the same every year: we’re afraid that there won’t be enough food so we buy the biggest turkey we can find. Then we spend the next week trying to figure out how to get rid of leftover turkey! The turkey sandwich is a classic for a reason, but you might have a hard time selling it by Monday. I like to give mine a twist with a heaping shmear of strawberry cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. But there are a few other tricks that can help you utilize the rest of your Thanksgiving feast; one of my favorite, easy ways to use leftover turkey is the quesadilla. I know, it’s not a big stretch from a sandwich, but a little melted cheese goes a long way. And you might get a few odd looks, but try some leftover turkey on your waffles Sunday morning, swimming in maple syrup.

Apple Turkey Quesadillacheese crisp

  • 1 large flour tortilla
  • ½ cup shredded Swiss cheese (or similar mild cheese)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ of a green apple, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz shredded or sliced leftover turkey

Place the tortilla on a hot griddle and evenly sprinkle on the cheese and rosemary. Layer the apples, then the turkey, over half of the tortilla. When the cheese has melted enough to stick to the tortilla fold it in half. Grill for about a minute and a half on each side until the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese is melty. Slice it up and enjoy! It’s also very good with a dab of sour cream and even a little bit of leftover cranberry sauce!

Another simple staple of mine is teriyaki. It’s easy and healthy but has a comfort food feel that should please both the refined palettes of the culinary snobs as well as the picky eaters at your table. The sauce is quick to make, it will keep in the fridge for at least a week or can be frozen for the long term. Drizzle it over some reheated leftover turkey, with some rice, maybe a little sliced scallion, and break out the chopsticks! You can play with this recipe quite a bit- make it sweeter, spicier, garlicky-er, you can add a little wasabi or even a bit of chipotle. It also makes a nice glaze for meats and veggies on the grill!

Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp fresh, grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp chile flakes
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp white pepper (or about ¼ tsp of black pepper)
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water

Mix all of the ingredients together except for the cornstarch slurry. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Mix in the slurry and simmer for another 4-5 minutes to thicken up a bit. Serve over leftover turkey with rice.

 

What do you do with leftover turkey?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thanksgiving Turkey – Tips for a Delicious and Juicy Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey – Tips for a Delicious and Juicy Turkey

Thanksgiving is almost here! Are you as excited as we are? This week, Chef J shares a delicious and easy recipe to get that Thanksgiving turkey on the table. Check back next week for Chef J’s tips on carving your bird.

Turkey is my favorite poultry (as well as one of my favorite things to call bad drivers while I’m on the road…) so I take Thanksgiving dinner very seriously. Cooking a turkey and then carving that turkey can be very intimidating, especially if you have friends and relatives coming over that you would like to impress! Fear not!

With a few simple tricks you will end up with a delicious Thanksgiving turkey that your guests will just gobble up.

They will be stuffing themselves with your perfect poultry (Thanksgiving is also a great holiday for terrible puns, you jive turkeys!).

The most common problem people face on their plates is a dry bird- this doesn’t have to happen to you! For a moist turkey the key is time: take as much of it as you need. If you follow these steps, by the time you are ready to carve your Thanksgiving turkey you will have nothing to worry about. Brining the bird the day before will help it retain moisture, a little butter under the skin will add flavor and richness, and (most importantly) letting it rest before carving your turkey will keep all of the juices where they should be.

Brined Thanksgiving Turkey

As far as flavor goes, you can use whatever herbs and spices you like, but here is my favorite recipe:

juicy-turkey

Brine:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 4 cups kosher salt
  • 2 cups honey
  • ¼ cup peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch fresh rosemary
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small bunch fresh sage
  • 1 TBS whole cloves
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 gallon cold water
  • Ice

Bring the first gallon of water to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients (except the cold water and ice!), lower the heat and let the mixture simmer for a few minutes until everything has dissolved.
Combine the hot brine with the cold water in a separate container; add ice until the mixture is cold.
Place your turkey into a container large enough to hold it and the brine, but small enough to fit in your refrigerator, positioned so that the drumsticks and cavity opening are facing upward.
Pour the brine over and into the bird, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
When your bird has been sufficiently brined, remove it from the liquid. Give it a quick rinse and pat it completely dry. Let it sit at room temperature while preparing the rub and heating your oven.

turkey sq 1

Rub:

  • 4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 TBS orange zest
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients.Gently rub the mixture evenly under the skin of the entire turkey.Heat your oven to 325.
Place the bird on a rack in a large roasting pan. Cover completely and tightly with heavy duty foil, tent it so that it is not touching the turkey.
If you have a thermometer that can stay in the turkey while in the oven this is the time to use it! Roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 in the thigh. You can estimate about 10 minutes of cooking time per pound, but this is really just a guess. The only accurate way to cook poultry is by temperature.
Pull it out of the oven and turn the heat up to 375. When your oven is ready remove the foil from the turkey (but save it for later!) and place the bird back in until an internal temperature of 170 is reached and the skin has browned up a bit.
If you like your turkey really brown you can help it out by brushing it with a bit of honey and finishing it with your oven on the convection setting.
Remove from the heat, cover with foil and let it sit for 30-60 minutes before carving.

Check back next week for the basics on carving your Thanksgiving turkey.

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Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie: An Updated Classic

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie: An Updated Classic

Chef J has been making this delicious pecan pie for the family for almost a decade. It is his number one most requested holiday dish, and for good reason! Pecan pie is a classic staple on any Thanksgiving table, but this one will have your guests thinking, “well, maybe just one more slice!” You should probably make two, just to be safe. Take it away, Chef J!

The leaves are falling, the weather is cooling down, and the relatives will soon be arriving. With a house full of family, friends and lots of food it’s easy to get into the holiday spirit. And if the in-laws are visiting it might be time to get into the holiday spirits… So here is a recipe that gives you a good excuse to open a bottle of bourbon. It’s a proven fact that pecan pie is the best pie ever, but like I always say: chocolate makes it better! The bourbon lends a nice, rich, caramel flavor to the filling (don’t worry, the alcohol will cook out), and adding booze instead of water will give your pecan pie a flakier crust since it evaporates much faster.

Your family will rave about this Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie and ask you to make to make it every year!

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Piepecan-pie-dough

Dough:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 oz butter, cubed & cold
  • 2 oz shortening, cold
  • 2 oz cold bourbon

Preheat your oven to 350.
In a food processor combine dry ingredients.
Add butter and shortening, pulse for about 10 seconds.
Slowly add the bourbon while mixing until everything pulls together into a ball.
Roll out the dough and press evenly into a pie dish. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Perforate the dough and bake for 15 minutes.

Filling:pecan-pie-filling

  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 oz vanilla
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp corn starch

Combine all ingredients in a double boiler over low heat and cook until the chocolate has melted.
Pour filling over the pre-baked dough.
Bake until set, about 30 minutes. Give it a gentle shake after about 25 minutes; you don’t want too much jiggle!
Remove and let it cool completely before cutting. Top with more nuts and chocolate, whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream!

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Fall Soups-Horseradish Potato Chowder

Fall Soups-Horseradish Potato Chowder

The weather is finally cooling off! So now it’s time to start thinking about ways to warm back up and nothing hits the spot on a chilly night quite like a rich, creamy bowl of soup. This is one of my favorite fall soups; it’s great as a starter or as the whole meal; it pairs well with beef, asparagus, and fresh crusty bread!

Fall Soup Recipe for Horseradish Potato Chowder:

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 4 large russet potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup prepared horseradish*
  • 4 cups stock
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • 2 tsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 green onion, julienne
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Toss the potatoes and onions in the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until just tender.

In a large pot, bring the milk, stock, horseradish, and half of the herbs up to a simmer.

Add half of the roasted potatoes and onions to the liquid. Blend the mixture until smooth using a stick blender or in small batches using a food processor or traditional blender.

Add the now smooth mixture back into the pot, add the remaining potatoes, onions, and the cheese. Mix until the cheese has melted completely.

Season with salt and pepper until it tastes the way you think it should. Garnish with the remaining herbs and maybe a bit more cheese.

*For best results use fresh horseradish. Chances are you can find whole horseradish root in your local supermarket. Ask the produce manager how fresh it is; the fresher the root, the more heat it will have. Peel the tough skin off and chop the root into large chunks. Throw it in your food processor with a little water and blend until it is a coarse paste. As it sits exposed to the air and water, the heat will become stronger. When it’s hot enough for you, add about a teaspoon of vinegar – this will stop the process and keep the heat at that level.

What are your favorite Fall Soups? Check out our Yummy Fall Soups Board  on Pinterest for more great Fall Soup recipes!

 Fall-Soup-Chowder

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Labor Day Recipe-Simple BBQ Pork Ribs

Labor Day Recipe-Simple BBQ Pork Ribs

Here comes another holiday! That means another day off work (you need it!), another chance to spend some time with family and friends, and of course, another excuse to barbecue! We’ve gone over brisket; now let’s make a summer BBQ staple: RIBS!   While pork ribs are a bit messier than beef ribs, they are much more popular because they really are tastier .  Plus, it is likely your BBQ party will have other kinds of beef being prepared anyway. So we’ll be dealing with pork ribs today. When shopping for pork ribs keep in mind that there are two different kinds: Back Ribs (Baby Back Ribs if they came from a younger hog) and Spare Ribs.

Most folks agree, pork ribs are tastier than beef ribs!

Back Ribs, sometimes called Loin Ribs, are from the top of the hog between the spine and spare ribs. They are generally meatier than the spare ribs, but have a bit less fat. These are the more popular of the two.

Spare Ribs are found on the belly side of the hog. They are fattier and have more bone than actual meat. They are delicious, and often more tender because of the higher level of fat. St. Louis or Kansas City style pork ribs are spare ribs that have had part of the bone removed and have been trimmed.

Either kind will work for these instructions. It’s also a good idea to talk to your butcher; if they’re worth a darn they will love to help you choose the right cut and answer all of your questions. We’re going to cheat a bit, by using both the oven and the grill. Some BBQ nuts might cry foul but I think it’s better to take the easy option if it means you get to enjoy some nice homemade food rather than ordering out or wasting your time on something that has been pre-sauced and pre-cooked. If you have a spice rub that you love, by all means, use it!  I like to keep things relatively simple:

Spice Rub:

  • 1 TBS ground mustard powderpork rib spice rub
  • 1 TBS kosher or sea salt
  • 1 TBS black pepper
  • 1 TBS ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground chile (optional)

Scale this recipe up if you need to. I usually make a pretty big batch- it’s nice to have a jar lying around for when the mood strikes.

PREP
Sometimes there will be a tough, white membrane on the concave side of the pork ribs. You can ask your butcher to remove that or do it yourself. Simply pull the membrane up from the smaller end of the ribs, using a paper towel to get a better grip. With a strong pull toward the larger end, you should be able to easily peel it off.pork rib prep

Evenly coat both sides of the ribs with the spice rub. You don’t need a lot. You can do this a day or so in advance and the flavor will be stronger. Wrap the racks tightly in heavy duty plastic wrap, then wrap again in foil.

COOK
Arrange the pork ribs (still wrapped) on a sheet pan and place in a 250 degree oven. Cook for 4 hours.
Before they have finished, get your grill, smoker, or any other BBQ contraption you have access to fired up.  Pre-heat to 325 for this round. You can use charcoal or wood.
When the ribs are done in the oven, CAREFULLY remove them from the wrap. Pour all of the delicious juices into a bowl and set aside.

GRILL

pork ribs grill 300Back to the grill….We want to use indirect heat for this, so move the coals to one side and place the ribs on the other, meat-side up. Cover the grill and let the pork ribs smoke for a bit.

Sauce:
Get back to the kitchen! Mix together the following ingredients to make your basting sauce:

  • All of those juices
  • ¼ part ketchup
  • ¼ part honey or maple syrup

Use this sauce to baste the ribs every 30 minutes or so for about 2 hours, this will give them a nice sweet, sticky glaze. The longer you cook them the more tender they will be, so you can hang out in the back yard all day if you really want.

If you want to get the mess out of the way before the guests arrive just switch the cooking methods: start with the fire and smoke at 325, then wrap and throw the little piggies in the oven at 250. And make sure you have plenty of napkins!

When your ribs are done, remove to a cutting board and let rest for a few minutes. Separate into manageable servings by slicing between the bones, every two-three ribs.
Chef J

chef j

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