Barbecue is the flavor of the weekend

Barbecue is the flavor of the weekend

Yesterday, Rob bought "The Big Book of BBQ: Recipes and Revelations from the Barbecue Belt" and brought it to my house for me to check out.

(Actually, I pried it from his hands. It's that good.)

This book is gorgeous and informative, full of tips about barbequing ribs and other cuts, methods for smoking, suggested menus and decadent-looking side dishes. It's from the editors of "Southern Living," if that tells you anything.

Here's a recipe for spareribs Rob and I are going to try on my larger-than-life grill this weekend.

Honey-Soy Ribs

This recipe simmers the ribs before grilling, a Southern trick to tenderize them without having to grill them quite as long over indirect heat.

Prep: 15  minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

Grill: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Stand: 10 minutes

2 slabs pork spareribs, about 4 pounds

1 cup honey

1/3 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons sherry (optional)

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Garnishes: sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onions

Quick Asian Barbecue Sauce (optional, see recipe below)

Rinse and pat ribs dry. Remove thin membrane from back of ribs by slicing into it with a knife and then pulling it off. Bring ribs and water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 30 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place ribs in a 13x9-inch baking dish.

Stir together honey and next four ingredients. Pour over ribs.

Light one side of grill, heating to 350 degrees to 400 degrees (medium-high heat). Leave the other side unlit. Arrange ribs over unlit side of grill, reserving sauce in dish. Grill, covered, 45 minutes to an hour or until tender, repositioning ribs and basting with reserved sauce every 20 minutes. Remove ribs from grill and let stand 10 minutes. Cut ribs, slicing between bones. Garnish, if desired. Serve with Quick Asian Barbecue Sauce, if desired.

Quick Asian Barbecue Sauce

Prep: five minutes

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Asian Sriracha hot chili sauce (I'd never heard of this, but found it at the supermarket in a pretty large bottle. Guess I'll need to make this recipe often.)

Stir together ingredients until blended. Makes 1/2 cup

And if ribs aren't good enough for you, here's the recipe I use for slow-cooker baked beans. I believe this recipe came from an America's Test Kitchen cookbook I borrowed from the library. I'm making it this weekend, too.

BBQ Baked Beans

This is a huge recipe, by the way. Last time I made it, I had to use two four-quart slow cookers. I armed myself this time with an eight-quart cooker.

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

3 onions, chopped

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/4 cups barbecue sauce

2 pounds dried beans, soaked

8 ounces (or 8 slices) bacon, chopped

6 cups boiling water

1/2 cup strong black coffee (Local food blogger Jason Brechin suggests making strong coffee for recipes by using twice or more the regular amount of grounds, or by using powdered espresso. I'll do the former.)

8 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon fancy mustard

salt and pepper

Heat oil, add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in garlic, then one cup barbecue sauce. Bring to simmer; add to slow cooker. Drain beans. Add them, plus the bacon, brown sugar and water. Cook until beans are soft - nine to 10 hours on low or seven to eight hours on high.

Before serving, add mustard, coffee and 1/4 cup barbecue sauce.

Photos from Flickr and Amazon

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