We’ve arrived at the much awaited first long holiday weekend of the year, which venerates our fallen military heroes. For some it heralds the beginning of summer, although some parts of our Nation are still feeling the lingering effects of a cold spell.
Before you get your BBQ on, take a minute or two to venerate the men and women that’ve sacrificed so much for our nation and have given us our liberty. This holiday isn’t about margaritas, Bud Lite and burgers.
That said, our barbequing Sunday plans have been literally washed out due to the continuous deluges from a tropical storm Roberto, brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane season in Florida comes into effect as of June 1st but it seems for 2018 is starting off earlier than the usual.
Having plans to gather with a few friends, we had to remove any clandestine thoughts of resorting to stand over the grill with an umbrella, as that isn’t going to combat the heavy wind gusts. So, the plan of action is putting the oven to good use. I think you should try out some of these dishes and don your chef hat.
BABY BACKS WITH BOURBON BBQ SAUCE
This rendition of ribs is unflinchingly solid and criminally outstanding in the oven. They are fall-apart tender and the result as Guy says, is Gangster.
2 racks of baby back ribs – washed and dried and back membranes removed
Juice of 1 lemon
The use of smoked salts in rubs creates the flavoring of a smoker. One of the best brands in my opinion is San Francisco Salt Co. They have a large variety of gourmet smoked salts that are superlative for imparting mind-blowing flavor to any rub and BBQ sauce.
1 TSP ground cumin
1 TSP granulated garlic powder
1 TSP granulated onion powder
1 TSP chipotle powder
1 TSP Anaheim chili powder
½ TSP Applewood smoked sea salt
½ TSP hickory smoked sea salt
2 TBSP brown sugar
1 TSP oregano
1 TSP thyme
1 TSP sweet Spanish paprika
1 TSP smoky Spanish paprika
1 TSP onion Flakes
½ TSP mustard powder
¼ TSP of Allspice powder
PREHEAT OVEN TO 300F
After patting the ribs dry and removing the back membrane, rub them liberally all over with lemon juice and massage the rub mixture generously front and back. Place them into large storage plastic bags to marinate overnight in the fridge. Reserve any leftover rub for the BBQ sauce.
Retrieve the ribs from the fridge and let them stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes before placing them in the oven, as they’ll cook better if they aren’t as cold. In a deep oven roasting pan, (use a disposable pan if desired) lay the ribs meat side down. Don’t add any liquid to the pan, as the fat from the ribs will render out. Cover them tightly with foil and bake them low and slowfor about 4-4½ hours. Take them out of the oven and remove the foil. Turn on the broiler. Baste them all over with the Bourbon BBQ sauce and place them back in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, being careful they don’t burn.
BOURBON BBQ SAUCE
Kentucky is well known for its spectacular Bourbons, so it stands to reason that the addition of Bourbon is infused into many of their sauces. This one is soon to become one of your faves! Talk about a BBQ sauce with big personality!
½ red onion – chopped
1 medium Vidalia onion – chopped
3 TBSP of the pork rub
¼ cup of Bourbon
½ cup of the cooking sauce from pan where the pork has cooked
¼ cup of ACV – Apple Cider Vinegar
½ cup of water
2 TBSP tomato paste
¼ cup of molasses
2 Chipotle peppers in adobo (or more for additional kick)
2 bay leaves
2 TBSP of beef demiglace
3-4 dashes of liquid smoke
1 TSP of ground mustard powder
2 TBSP of Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 cup of Catsup
1 TSP of instant coffee powder (or ¼ cup of regular coffee)
Sweat the onions in some butter. Add the 3 TBSP of the dry pork rub to the pan to color the onions; cook off the spices for a few minutes to release their oils. Add the bourbon and reduce for a few minutes, then add the demiglace. Incorporate the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute, then add all other ingredients. Cook down for about 30-45 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools down. Puree with an immersion blender. Sauce will keep in a mason jar refrigerated up to 1 month.
Reserve the pan juices from the ribs in the fridge for other uses. Create a sauce for pork chops, added as liquid to any roast and even as the base for your next BBQ sauce. It’s umami to the 10thpower.
EMMY NOMINATED FANCY SLAW
Slaw is one of those notable cabbage salads that undeniably compliments any picnic, BBQ, tailgate or summer pool party. It elevates pulled pork sandwiches, Vietnamese banh mi and it’s stellar on tacos and tostadas. The trick with any coleslaw, no matter what flavor profile, is not to have it swimming in a pool of dressing and sopping wet. That applies to any salad for that matter. This slaw pairs superbly well with the spicy tang of the BBQ and it’s rather a show stopper.
½ head of green cabbage – shredded
1 cup of red cabbage – shredded
1 cup of shredded or matchstick carrots
2 apples – cored, peeled and cut into matchsticks ( you can use pears also)
1 head of fennel – sliced very thinly with a mandolin
½ cup of cilantro
½ cup of chopped parsley
½ cup of dried cranberries
3 scallions – sliced thinly
½ cup of toasted slivered almonds
1 mango – peeled and cut into small cubes
½ cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of sour cream
2 TBSP ACV
1 TBSP Grey Poupon smooth mustard
1 TBSP Grey Poupon grainy mustard
1 TSP honey
1 ½ TBSP Turbinado sugar
1 TSP Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
In a bowl add all the ingredients and whisk the dressing thoroughly. Toss with the cabbage mixture. Make the slaw 1 hour ahead of time so the flavors marry, taking it out of the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
These potatoes were introduced to the world at the Hasselbacken hotel in Stockholm. This is a simpler version of the loaded calorific version without cheese or bacon, but it is just as satisfying.
2 large baking Russet potatoes – scrubbed and dried
1 Vidalia onion cut in half and sliced thinly
1 chopped garlic clove
3 TBSP melted butter
2 TBSP EVOO
1½ TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TSP of Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Mix the melted butter with the EVOO and the Worcestershire sauce adding the salt, cracked pepper, garlic, chives and parsley.
Cut out a couple of large pieces of foil and set aside. Slice the potatoes into thinly, being careful that the knife doesn’t slice all the way through, so the potato stays whole. Insert the slices of onion in between the cuts. Place the potatoes onto the center of the foil squares. Drizzle the butter mixture generously over each potato, ensuring some gets into the slits with the onions. Press the potato back together, wrap the foil securely and roast at 375F for about 1-1½ hours depending on the size of the potato. Pierce the potato through with a knife or long wood skewer through the foil to test doneness.