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Jazzing Up Baby Back Ribs with Espresso Barbecue Sauce

AS I was going through the freezer this week to try to just use what I had in the house for meals to avoid shopping before our vacation, I came across some baby back ribs that were perfect to make. Yesterday was a nice cool day here in the Northeast so it was perfect to be able to use the oven in summertime. I came across this recipe from the Cooking Channel and Michael Chiarello for a very simple recipe that makes an outstanding sauce.

Baby Back Ribs with Espresso Barbecue Sauce

2 racks baby back ribs

Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Espresso Barbecue Sauce, recipe follows

Espresso Barbecue Sauce:

4 tablespoons minced garlic

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup soy sauce

2 cups ketchup

2 cups honey

Salt

1/2 cup strong coffee or instant espresso

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cut each rack of ribs in half along the bone so they can be easily stacked. Lay them out on parchment paper for easy clean up.

Salt and pepper liberally on both sides of the ribs and pat the spices into the meat. Make sure to season both sides and all over the ribs because part of the rub may inevitably come off in the pan during cooking. On a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil, stack the ribs close together, about 3 layers high. Place the ribs in the oven and bake for 2 hours, shifting the bottom layer of ribs every 30 minutes until they are tender and almost falling off the bone.

Meanwhile, make the espresso barbecue sauce. Add the olive oil to a preheated saute pan. Add the minced garlic and saute until it gets light brow, about 1 minute. Add the cider vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup and honey and stir well. Add a pinch of salt then whisk in the coffee or espresso. Add the freshly ground black pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a simmer and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until slightly thickened.

30 minutes before serving the ribs, transfer the ribs to a preheated grill. Brush the ribs with the espresso barbecue sauce and close the grill. Continue to turn and brush the ribs with barbecue sauce every 10 minutes, about 3 more times, before serving.

Once the barbecue sauce has cooled, you can store it in the refrigerator and use it for about another 2 weeks. It would be great on other pieces of pork or as a condiment for burgers or any barbecue items. I loved the flavor that the espresso gives the sauce mixed with the honey. It is not too thick but just the right consistency. it’s a great sauce for ribs. I served the ribs with some baked sweet potatoes, fresh corn on the cob and some bread and I also had some of the no-mayo coleslaw left over to use as well. Overall, I think it was a pretty good meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I do have a special meatloaf recipe planned for tonight, so you can check back for that one as it will be my last recipe posted before we go on vacation. Check it out tomorrow and see if you will like it. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Pork, Sauce

 

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It’s Never Too Hot for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

With the ungodly heat we have been experiencing here in the northeast part of the country, I have had to find some alternatives to using the oven. I had bought a large pork butt last week to make pulled pork, but there was no way I was turning the oven on if I could avoid it. Thankfully, I was able to pull out the trusty slow cooker and use this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen so I was able to make some tasty pulled pork sliders for dinner instead.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sliders

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons liquid smoke

1 (5-pound) boneless pork butt roast

1/4 cup yellow mustard

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

6 cups barbecue sauce

Cider vinegar

Hot sauce

Hamburger buns

Bread and butter pickles

For the pork: Dissolve 1/4 cup of salt, 1/4 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons of liquid smoke in 2 quarts of cold water in a large container. Submerge the pork in the brine, cover and refrigerate for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

While the pork brines, combine the mustard and remaining 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke in a bowl and set it aside. Combine 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 tablespoons of pepper, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, paprika, and cayenne in a second bowl and set aside.

Remove the pork from the brine and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. Rub the mustard mixture over the entire surface of the pork. Sprinkle the pork with the spice mixture to coat well.Place the pork in the slow cooker and pour the barbecue sauce over the pork, cover, and cook, on either low or high, until the pork is fork tender and falling apart, 10 to 11 hours on low or 7 to 8 hours on high.

Transfer the meat to a large bow and let cool. Let the cooking liquid settle for 5 minutes, then use a wide spoon to skin the fat off the surface. Season the sauce with the cider vinegar, hot sauce and salt and pepper to taste. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it using your fingers or two forks., discarding any extra fat or gristle.

Toss the shredded meat with 1 cup of the cooking sauce, adding more as needed to keep it moist. Serve, passing the remaining sauce separately, with hamburger buns and pickles to make the sliders.

You can use any store-bought barbecue sauce you like for this recipe, or you can quickly use this recipe below and triple it to make enough sauce for this pulled pork.

Barbecue Sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 onion, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup ketchup

5 tablespoons molasses

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool to room temperature before serving, about 1 hour. The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up yo 1 week or frozen for up to 2 months.Bring it to room temperature before serving.

Of course, no pulled pork sandwich is complete without some coleslaw. I am always on the lookout for new coleslaw recipes that do not use mayonnaise so they are better for the summer. I found this one from Food Network and it tasted great.

Gourmet Cole Slaw

1 cup olive oil

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 ounces granulated sugar

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon chopped shallots

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 head green cabbage, julienned

1/4 head red cabbage, julienned

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned

1/2 green bell pepper, julienned

1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned

1 carrot, peeled and julienned

1 green onion, green part only cut into 1-inch lengths

1 teaspoon dry oregano

Salt and pepper

Whisk all the vinaigrette ingredients into a bowl. Mix all the vegetables together in a large bowl. Pour the vinaigrette over the vegetables, toss and chill for 1 hour or until you are ready to serve.

It is simple and refreshing. You can always use a bag of coleslaw mix instead of handling all the vegetables yourself. I usually have a bag on hand during the summer so that is what I used this time and this recipe has a nice, light flavor to it that will go well with all types of sandwiches and dishes.

That’s all I have for today. Check back again next time to see what recipes come along. I have tried a few things out recently to post, such as a new roasted chicken recipe, french bread pizzas, a new burger recipe, and more. Check back and see what comes up next. until then, enjoy the rest of your day, try to stay cool and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on July 17, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Pork, Salad, Sauce, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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First Summer Barbecue, Part 1 – Easy Barbecue Chicken

Even though I am only allowed to have an electric grill here at our condo, I still try to do some grilling outdoors when I can. This past weekend was so hot I just couldn’t bring myself to turn the oven on and cook and this week does not promise to be much better. I want to try to grill at least twice a week during the summer to try some new grilling recipes out, and yesterday was the perfect day to start. I had picked up some chicken thighs and the store on Saturday and decided to barbecue them. I found this recipe from Williams-Sonoma that looked good, but I also wanted to try out a barbecue sauce recipe I had picked up from Food Republic, so I combined the two to make last night’s dinner.

Classic BBQ Chicken

For the basic poultry brine:

8 cups water

5 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 tablespoon peppercorns

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

2 bay leaves

1 chicken, about 4 pounds, neck and giblets removed, chicken cut into 4 pieces (or whatever assortment of chicken pieces you want to use totaling 4 pounds)

Freshly ground black pepper, for sprinkling

Granulated garlic, for sprinkling

1 recipe Tennessee Whiskey Barbecue Sauce (recipe to follow)

To make the brine, in a large bowl, combine the water, salt, basil. coriander seeds, peppercorns, mustard seeds, garlic and bay leaves and stir until the salt dissolves. Use immediately.

Place the chicken pieces in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in the brine. Seal the bag closed, squish the brine around the chicken and refrigerate overnight.

At least 30 minutes before you plan to begin grilling, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and remove the pieces from the brine. Discard the brine. Rinse the chicken pieces briefly in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly sprinkle the chicken on all sides with pepper and garlic.

Prepare a grill for indirect grilling over medium heat; the internal grill temperature should be about 350 degrees. If you are using charcoal, bank the lit coals on either side of the grill bed, leaving a strip in the center without heat, and place a drip pan in the center. If you are using gas, preheat the burners, then turn off 1 or more burners to create a cooler zone. Brush and oil the grill grate.

Place the chicken pieces on the grill over the direct-heat area and sear, turning once, for 2 minutes per side. Move the chicken pieces to the indirect-heat area, cover the grill and cook for 30 minutes. Now, start brushing the chicken with the barbecue sauce, turning and brushing the pieces every 5 minutes, for about 15 minutes more. The chicken is ready when it is firm to the touch and the juices run clear when a thigh or breast is pierced with a knife tip. Transfer the chicken pieces to a platter and serve immediately with the remaining sauce on the side.

Of course, you don’t have to brine the chicken if you don’t have the time or don’t want to do that, but I think it makes a big difference in the flavor. The brine infuses the chicken with some extra flavor and plumps the chicken up, helping it to make it juicier. You do need to watch the chicken  closely on the grill as the fat tends to cause flare-ups, which can cause you to burn the chicken before it is cooked all the way. Using the indirect heating method with a drip pan can really help you with this and the chicken in this recipe turned out perfectly.

The sauce was a great find and really added nicely to the chicken. I was intrigued as soon as I saw this recipe and knew I was going to make it.

Tennessee Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cup onion, finely minced

1/2 cup Jack Daniels or other whiskey

2/3 cup ketchup

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Tabasco or other hot sauce

A few drops of liquid smoke

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the whiskey, stirring to scrape off any bits from the bottom of the pot, then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk together. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat, allow it to come to room temperature and transfer it to a container with a tight lid. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

The combination of the whiskey, liquid smoke and hot sauce is perfect. It was not too thick or too sweet and had an awesome flavor. i could see using this on ribs, chicken or pork without any trouble at all. I served some on the side so people could extra to their meal if they wanted to.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time to see what recipes come up as I am trying out some new things this week. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Cooking, Dinner, Grilling, Poultry, Sauce

 

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