Barbecue

If you want to know if a barbecue place might be good, ask when they started cooking when you get there. If they cook your dish around or near the time you order it, its probably not good barbecue. See good barbecue is not grilled, not cooked quickly-its cooked indirectly, and for hours. The emphasis needs to be on the hours. An optimal barbecue setup is having meat on a rack or some other permeable setting, displaced from the fire/heat source, and all this in some sort of container so you get a lot of nice smoke. The point of all this, aside from flavor, is that you get meat that falls off the bone. If you have to use your teeth to tear at the flesh on ribs, they weren’t barbecued well.

Unless you plan to set your couch on fire and hang meat from the ceiling, it’s unlikely that you have this setup. Your oven is the next best thing. Kept at 325 for several hours, it can make the difference between charcoal grilled mess and tasty, barbecue mess.

I’ve used the following recipe with some success:

Ribs with BBQ sauce:

Sauce:

* 4 tbsp EVOO
* 4 tbsp chopped garlic
* 1 cup red cider vinegar
* 1/2 cup soy sauce
* 2 cups ketchup
* 2 cups honey
* 1/2 cup strong black coffee or instant espresso or espresso
* Black Pepper

1. Saute the garlic in the olive oil
2. Add everything else
3. Store in fridge (do this at least a day ahead of time)

Ribs:

* 2 racks baby back ribs
* Gray sea salt
* Black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 325
2. Rub the ribs on both sides with the salt and pepper
3. Cut so you have approximately 7″ pieces of ribs
4. Cover a nice big cookie tray with aluminum foil
5. Stack the ribs on a metal pan so they form a sort of pile of ribs, but not directly on top of each other (think like you want to make a house-contains the heat!)
6. Cook for at least 2, maybe 2.5 hours, moving the ribs around every half hour so they all get to be in a different spot (cook more evenly)
7. Place the ribs on a grill (or heated pan on the stove) on very low heat, and baste with the sauce. Baste again every 10 minutes, both sides for each piece of ribs. The important thing here is that the grill is on very, very low heat-as a test, see how long you can keep your hand near the heat. If you’ve gotta pull away in less than a minute, its too high!
8. After at least 3 bastings, serve. If you want a stronger flavor, baste a few more times before serving.

Notes:

Sauce: The sauce given is not the only sauce that can be used with ribs, obviously. If you would like to make your own sauce, great. If you’re trying a store-bought sauce, save yourself the trouble of icky tasting ribs: heat up a little bit of the sauce, throw in a tiny bit of salt and pepper, see how it tastes. A lot of “barbecue” sauces in the store are actually just sugared ketchup to give a tangy taste with fried chicken, etc. They would not do well on actual barbecued foods, since the sugar would burn on the grill.

Salt: Sea salt is all the rage right now, the problem is a lot of it is…well…expensive salt. Nothing more! See purified sea salt is still just table salt, even if it has bigger grains. The point of getting sea salt is to get the dirty stuff. It might be a little more expensive, but its worth it. Part of the reason so many of us crave salt is that we’re actually craving the minerals that are supposed to come with salt-but we don’t get them because the white salt is nothing but sodium chloride. We want other minerals! The dirty sea salt, any color but white, has other minerals and a tiny bit of that salt will actually do more to make your body (and taste buds!) happy than a pound of the white stuff.

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