I have always enjoyed cooking outdoors and anxiously await the first hints of summer to uncover the grill and start barbecuing. In years past, I have been perfectly satisfied with my Weber gas fueled grill, but have recently longed for the flame licked flavors I recall from my childhood. While no one can argue the convenience of a gas grill, I can't imagine many would side with it in a flavor contest. The old fashioned charcoal grill is, certainly, the easy winner of that contest.
As I have mentioned before, my back patio is barely large enough to fit my gas grill and without any extra room, I was recently able to convince my mother to house a charcoal grill at her place, which is much more suitable for such an activity. It was with some reluctance, however, and she did her best to make me feel like a child championing her cause for a new puppy. She has emphatically stated that she will not touch it, start it, cook on it or, most definitely, clean it. It is clear that the charcoal grill is entirely my responsibility! In fact, she will not even allow to be displayed next to her monster gas grill on the patio. It has been covered and relocated to a tiny spot in the corner, behind the fire place chimney and next to the plastic box that houses the hose. So, since I won't be chauffeuring my nightly dinner from my house to my grill across town and back again, I had to find a way to extract more flavor from the trusty gas grill and save the charcoal Weber for Friday night burgers.
The first step was to purchase some wood chips. I found a rather large bag of hickory chips for a very reasonable price, I think it was actually less than $2.00. Next, I soaked a few handfuls of the wood chips in water for about an hour or so. Next, I packaged the hickory chips in three little foil envelopes and poked holes all over the top of the packets. I placed them in the grill, under the grates, as close to the actual flame as I could get them. All that was left was to preheat the grill as usual and get the ribs on!
I rubbed down a rack of baby back's with a pretty standard pork dry rub of paprika, chili powder, garlic, brown sugar, onion, cayenne, oregano, salt, and pepper. Once the grill was preheat and the most fantastic aromas of hickory wood smoke were wafting from the grill, I turned the middle burner off and turned the other two to low in order to maintain a temperature of about 325 degrees. I placed the ribs in the center of the grill left them to absorb those wonderful flavors. Unable to resist the urge to peek, I did so and flipped them over about every half and hour to 2 1/2 hours. During the final 30 minutes, I basted the ribs with BBQ sauce every 10 mins. The result was a tender, moist, smokey flavored rib with crunchy caramelized bits and a sweet and sticky sauce.
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons Bourbon
dash (or two) hot sauce
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well. Taste and adjust flavors and seasonings as desired. Very adaptable and can be made sweeter or spicier as desired!
1 pound cork screw pasta
English cucumber, small dice
grape tomatoes, quartered
Calamata olives, pitted and quartered
roasted red peppers, small dice
red onion, small dice
feta cheese, small dice
fresh parsley, chopped
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Add pasta to a large mixing bowl and combine with remaining ingredients. Pour over vinaigrette (recipe follows) and stir well to combine. Refrigerate for about 8 hours (or overnight, preferably) to give flavors an opportunity to combine. Bring to room temperature just before serving.
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Combine all ingredients, except for olive oil, in a mixing bowl. Slowly add olive oil while whisking to create an emulsion. Pour over pasta salad.