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Posts Tagged ‘bbq sauce’

After trying to connect with a couple of our friends for a while, with whom we usually try new Mexican restaurants with, we finally got this past Saturday night lined up. Nick and his wife invited us over for dinner this time. I told him I’d make some dessert. When he asked if ribs would be an acceptable dinner my response was “RIB ME!!!” You can’t beat slow smoking baby back ribs outside in 10 degree weather. All you can do is hope your cold beer is enough to warm you up until the ribs get in your guts.

At any rate, that’s what happened. Nick smoked some ribs, his wife made a couple of sides, and I brought a cake.

He did the ribs right. Not sure what his recipe was, but he made a nice spice rub and then placed his ribs on a rack in his grill. The hot coals were spread around the sides of the grill while he placed a drip pan filled with some cider vinegar in the middle. The indirect heat kept the ribs from burning, the cider vinegar evaporated into the meat adding some flavor and keeping the meat moist, and the rack allowed the ribs to kind of baste themselves. 3 hours under the hood and they were ready to go.

After some chips, carrots, and dip (along with some alcohol), dinner was served. Nick chopped up the ribs for us and served them with some really creamy scalloped potatoes and nice buttery brussel sprouts. Good ol down home cooking. What else should have been expected from a Kentucky-boy?

I have to say, the ribs were excellent! I’m not just saying that because he’s one of the few who actually reads all of my blog posts. They really were delicious. The meat was fall off the bone tender, the spice rub and his homemade bbq sauce set off the meat nicely. My comment at the dinner table was, “Nick, I’d eat your ribs for free over paying for Honey 1 any day of the week!”.  A couple other friends were there as well and between the 6 of us we could only muster enough stomach for about half of the fair. True to his good ol boy hospitality we were sent home with a half slab. Gotta love that!

For dessert I made this Orange Kefir cake. I’ve been on a baking-with-kefir kick and wanted to continue that trend with something simple and tasty. I found this recipe by The Barefoot Contessa herself for a Lemon Yogurt Cake. All I did was substitute the yogurt for kefir and the lemon for orange. It turned out great, nice and moist while not being too sweet.

All in all, Saturday night was a tasty feast. Any time my buddy wants to smoke up some ribs I’ll be there to help polish them off.

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Armed with a full slab of ribs left from Honey 1 BBQ I threw together a chili-like stew. After sitting in the fridge for a day they did get a little dry. That deep smoky meat was perfect to use.

I chopped up 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange bell pepper, 1 carrot, 1 onion, I minced 3 cloves of garlic, soaked 1 cup of black beans for 1 hour after boiling for 2 minutes, 1 can of white kidney beans, 4 ounces of baby spinach, shredded the meat off 1/2 slab of ribs, the bbq sauce that came with the ribs, and used 2 cups of chicken stock.

In my large stock pot I heated up some olive oil and then sweated the peppers, onion, carrot, and garlic for about 8 minutes or so.

While that was going on I realized that I had 3 yukon gold potatoes sitting around. So, I skinned them, chopped them up, and added them to the pot. I let them cook for about 3 or 4 minutes before adding the chicken stock.

While the chicken stock was being brought up to a boil I noticed I had a couple of tomatoes. So, I chopped them up.

When the stock came to a slow boil I added the tomatoes along with the meat and let that simmer for about 8 minutes before adding all of the bean and the bbq sauce. I turned the heat to med-low, covered the pot, and let it go for about 15 minutes. Right before serving I added the spinach and stirred it in until it had all slightly wilted. Then I turned off the heat and served it.

I placed some toast in the bowl before scooping the stew in. Then I topped with some habanero-jack cheese and some sour cream. It tasted fantastic! I got 4 servings out of this and still have 1/2 slab of Honey 1 BBQ ribs left.

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My buddy Nick has been harping on me for a while to check out this rib place next to his apartment. With no real dinner plan last night, combined with my ride home from a haircut, I took advantage of having Honey 1 BBQ in my crosshairs. On a cold night made even colder from having my natural fur hat trimmed back some bone stickin ribs sounded about right.

I walked in the front door and went down the hallway to order up my ribs. Huge menus on the wall, didn’t need to look though, I knew was I was getting.

I ordered 2 full slabs that each came with some cole slaw, french fries (they were underneath the ribs), and two slices of white bread. I also got some baked beans, some fiber to help all moving parts move.

It took about 15 minutes to get my food, and that’s fine because it gave me a chance to read all of the articles written about them on their wall. Seems Robert Adams is a firm believer in the slow food movement, especially with something like tender smoked pork ribs. He only cooks a night’s worth of business each day so nothing sits out. He uses a small glass-walled smoker with a variety of wood chips. The sauce is made fresh as well. He doesn’t used the baby back ribs that are so popular, he uses spare ribs and gets just the right amount of smoke to cut through that fat but still be able to taste all of the juicy morsels of pig.

When I got them home I slathered some of the BBQ sauce all over the ribs. It’s nice, not too spicy, not too vinegary, a nicely balanced sauce. Since the fries got a little greasy from resting under the ribs I put them in the toaster. That crisped them right up. The ribs were outstanding. Being spare ribs and not baby backs they weren’t quite as tender, but they were moist and tasted fantastic. The only real problem I could find is that they are much bigger than I thought they’d be. I figured that two slabs would cover us both for dinner last night and lunch today. Well, lunch was a few hours ago and while Yuki and I each ate more ribs today, I still have a full slab in the fridge. I think I’ll make a pork rib chili or something with them.

I wouldn’t go as far as saying they arer the best ribs I’ve ever eaten, or even the best in Chicago (I think Smoque still has that honor), but they are definitely in the conversation. I would happily fill myself with Honey 1 BBQ ribs and then do it all over again.

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Whole Foods had some really nice baby back ribs on sale the other day, so I really had no choice but to get a slab. I only wish I had a smoker, but even without one ribs can be done with flavor and tenderness.

I started by coating the slab with a spice rub. I used a very basic mix for this slab. I mixed together about 1/8 cup of paprika, 1/8 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of black pepper, 2 tablespoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon each of cayenne, dry mustard, and white pepper. I let the rub sit for about an hour before throwing the slab into a 250 degree oven. I let it go for about 2.5 hours.

Once the meat was cooked through and tender I put it on the grill over about medium heat. I had some BBQ sauce in my fridge that I needed to use so I didn’t make any of my own. I brushed the sauce on both sides of the ribs and let them cook for about 10 minutes per side to get the sauce nice and carmelized.

Besides white rice I stewed some chickpeas. I diced half of an onion, one yellow bell pepper, two tomatoes, and two garlic cloves. I also used one can of chickpeas and two sprigs of rosemary from our herb garden.

In some hot olive oil I sautéed the garlic for about 30 seconds before adding the onion. A few minutes later I added the yellow pepper and the rosemary sprigs. I let that go for about 7 minutes before adding the chickpeas and tomato. I poured in about a quarter cup of water and then seasoned with salt, pepper, a dash of cumin and a dash of paprika. I let the water come to a quick boil then covered the pot, turned the heat to low, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Once the chickpeas were fully heated I turned off the heat and squeezed in the juice from a half a lemon. That’s all, ready for consumption.

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For our 3rd anniversary last night Yuki and I decided to try out Sweets & Savories as we’ve heard great things about that restaurant. They offer a 3 course pre fix off the regular menu for only $29 every night. That deal seemed very appetizing to us. Being BYOB was also nice so we could save on a really nice bottle. We brought a bottle of Talbott Chardonnay 2007.

When we walked in the first thing we both noticed was a weird smell. It didn’t really smell like food. I’m not sure at all what it did smell like, but it was certainly a little weird. It didn’t bother us during dinner though, just when we first walked in. The interior was very drab and empty. The walls were a dark bronze-brown and there were only three pictures hanging on the back wall. Nothing else. I can’t call it minimalist because it isn’t. I think it’s more half-assed to be honest.

Service was a little off from the beginning as well. They had 3 servers and no one else. No bussers or host to help them out. The first server to greet us saw our reservation but said that we didn’t have a table assigned. I thought that was a little odd, especially since there were empty tables. He got a different server over who brought us to a table towards the back.

The first thing I noticed about the table was that there were salt and pepper shakers that looked like they came from a greasy diner. Not to sound like a snob or anything, but if you advertise your restaurant as serving upscale food there shouldn’t be salt and pepper on the table. The chef should season things for you while the servers should offer fresh cracked black pepper. I also noticed that their wine glasses are from IKEA. I know it’s BYOB, but that touch kind of cheapened the ambiance.

It took over 10 minutes for someone to bring us a wine opener and ice bucket. A few times I noticed a server standing around looking for something to do. How about letting us enjoy a glass of wine?  After we did place our order the service was much smoother, but still far from being good.

On to the food. I started off with the Vychissoise. As simple as soup gets, yet executed perfectly! I could taste every ingredient used from the potato to the leek to the garlic. Topped with some juicy lobster claw, a drizzle of truffle oil, and some chives this was a great starter.

Yuki ordered the Smoked Salmon Salade. It was also delicious. Just the right amount of vinegar to tie it all together.

For entrees I got the Grilled Pork Tenderloin. I couldn’t smell any of the rosemary that was supposedly used, but I could definitely smell the grill in my meat. Cooked rare with some pomegranate BBQ sauce it was really good. I know most people prefer their pork cooked through, but a nice tenderloin doesn’t need to be. It did send me to the porcelain god (for the record it was not to throw up)  three times this morning, but it was worth it for that soft meaty texture. The corn pudding was way under seasoned, but fortunately there was a salt shaker on the table.

Yuki got the Lobster Risotto. With peas, arugula, and grana cheese, this was a fantastic risotto. There was a ton of freshly poached lobster in this dish. As great as the lobster was, it was the arugula that held everything together. The bitterness was perfectly matched with the sweetness of the of lobster. Fantastic!

As great as the starters and entrees were the desserts fell a little short. I had the Fallen Chocolate Souffle Cake and Yuki got the Sweets & Savories Bread Pudding. The chocolate cake was light and fluffy, but extremely rich. With just the one little line of raspberry coulis it was difficult to eat, it needed more to help keep my palette fresh. For the bread pudding it was the caramel and creme anglaise that weren’t up to par. The caramel wasn’t quite sweet enough and the creme anglaise was a little too thin, it needed to be a little thicker for some textural difference in the dish.

Overall, it’s hard to argue with how good most of the food was for that price. The atmosphere and service leave little to be desired, but the food more than made up for the experience. The only though is that they’ve got the savouries part down, but they definitely need help with the sweets.

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The only other meal worth blogging about from our trip last week was our final dinner. We used Las Vegas as our start and stop point simply because the cheapest flights were to Vegas and we were able to make a nice circle out of there. Anyone who knows me has heard me tout the brilliance of Mike Mills’ ribs. He’s the owner of 17th Street Bar and Grill in Murphysboro, IL. When my mom and step-dad attended law school at SIU they turned me on to his ribs. He’s a 5 time rib champion of the Memphis in May BBQ contest, 2 of those times also taking the Grand Champion trophy. Bon Appetit Magazine has him ranked right at the top of BBQ Ribs. For whatever reason, he opened up 3 locations in Vegas and named them Memphis Championship BBQ. I was looking forward to those ribs to close out the trip ever since we booked the flights.

We started off with a jar of beer each and some rolls with honey butter.

Slabs and half slabs of ribs each come with two sides. We quickly realized that it’s cheaper to share a slab and then order two extra sides, which still turned out to be a bit too much food for us. Also, the sides aren’t all the same price. So, we included fried okra and steamed vegetables with the slab since they were the two most expensive and then added an order of mashed potatoes and, what BBQ meal is complete without them, baked beans. The okra came with a dipping sauce made with Mike’s famous Magic Dust, a spice blend recipe handed down to him from his grandmother. The vegetables were simply a mixed bowl of steamed vegetables. The potatoes had bacon them as well as Magic Dust in the gravy. And the baked beans also had bacon as well as his BBQ sauce.

On to the ribs. A nice full slab of slow-smoked baby backs. We got there at about 9:30 at night and our ribs were probably at their peak about 6:30-7ish. They were slightly dry, but still fantastic! Still better than any other rib you’ll get at a restaurant. We devoured those meat popsicle about as well as any vulture could. MMMMMMMM!

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