Monday, August 31, 2015

Baby Back Ribs

The opening of College Football season is fast approaching, so it's time to plan the meal for the first get-together.  We've done steaks, both barbecued pizzas and Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and barbecue pork sandwiches in the past.  But I'm ready to have a meat fest and baby back ribs sound absolutely perfect.

You can feed the masses for a reasonable price.  If you go to Costco, you can pick up 3 racks for around $30.  This can feed 6-8 as a meal, or if it's part of a gameday buffet, you can cut them up in 2 rib groups and spread the meaty love around.

Baby Back Ribs

1 Costco vacuum pack (three full racks) of baby back ribs

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder

Braising Liquid
1 cup apple juice or apple cider (alcoholic is OK)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon hot wing sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon honey
2 minced garlic cloves

1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce or make a batch of ours

The night before, combine all of the rub ingredients in a small bowl.  Open the pack of ribs and rinse them off.  Apply the rub to both sides of each rack. Lay out a long piece of tin foil at least six inches longer than the rack of ribs. Fold up the sides, then fold up the ends. Place another smaller piece of foil on top to seal the foil cocoon.   Repeat the process for each of the racks, then let them sit in the fridge overnight.

When you're ready to start cooking, Add all of the braising liquid ingredients into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, take it off of the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.

Place the racks onto cookie sheets and unfold the end of each of the packages.  Pour 1/3 of each of the braising liquid into the foil packets and then seal tightly.  Place the racks in the oven, set it to 250 degrees and let them cook for four hours.

When the four hours are done, remove the racks from the oven and fire up the barbecue, open the packs and then brush them with your barbecue sauce.  Place them on the barbecue for 2 - 2 1/2 minutes on each side,  Pull them off the grill, cut them up into 3-4 rib sections and then serve to the masses.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Summer Sour Cucumbers

My mom made these as a cool summer side dish for our barbecues, but they make a great snack that will chill you out during the hot summer days.  There's a little sourness, there's a great flavor from the apple cider vinegar and garlic, and very few calories, even if you eat the whole bowl!

Summer Sour Cucumbers

1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 to 2 1/2 cups water
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
2 cucumbers

Pour the vinegar and water into a large bowl with a lid and stir.  Add the black pepper, garlic and mustard and mix thoroughly.  

Slice the 2 cucumbers into thin slices and place them in the brining liquid.  Seal the container and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.  They'll stay fresh in the fridge for up to one week.

And if you eat them quickly, you can cut up more cucumbers and re-use the brining liquid for up to one week.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Roasted Ranch Red Potatoes

We've been barbecuing a lot of meat recently since the weather has been so great.  While the occasional cold potato, macaroni or summer pasta salad are a good option, sometimes you just want a great hot side dish with lots of starch.   This is it, and it's extremely easy to do.  Cut up some reds, shake them up to coat, toss them in an oven when you're prepping the meat for the grill and it'll be ready just in time.

Roasted Red Ranch Potatoes

3 pounds red potatoes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 dry packet of Ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the potatoes, then dice the potatoes into approximately 3/4 inch cubes.

In a gallon size ziploc bag, add in the olive oil, the dry ranch dressing mix and the pepper and shake or squish the bag until it's well combined.  Add the potatoes to the ziploc bag and seal tightly,  Shake or roll the bag until the potatoes are completely coated.  Pour the contents of the bag onto a cookie sheet with sides so the additional oil does not spill out, then spread them out into one even layer. Lightly salt the entire sheet.

Place the potatoes into the 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until they are tender,

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I'm a contestant in the Harmons Sliced Cooking Competition!

So out of over 100 entries, I was selected to be one of 15 contestants in the Harmons 'Sliced' Cooking Competition!

It's a competition that's a lot like the Food Network's Chopped.  There are three divisions with 5 of the contestants cooking appetizers, 5 preparing entrees and 5 making desserts.  Guess which one the guy with a blog named That Means We Get Pie is in.... yes, desserts. 

 Each group will be given a black box with 4 mystery ingredients that must be incorporated into the dish you prepare for a panel of judges.  One person will be declared the winner in each category, win a $250 Harmons Gift Card, and will move onto the Final Dinner on May 10th.  Those three finalist will prepare their meal for 65 people and those diners will decide on one winner, who will win $500.  Also, there is a Judge's Award of $500 as well.  So if everything works out perfectly, you could walk away with $1,250.

They'll be filming the whole thing and releasing it on YouTube a few days later.  There's also a few promo spots that have been filmed as you can see at this link here.

I have a few ideas of what I could do, but there's are some definite obstacles.  There's a two hour time restriction, which makes a cream pie a little difficult.  Also, we're limited to their kitchen.  They have a pretty LARGE kitchen, but that could limit my options.  Basically.... I'm over-thinking it at this point.  I just need to calm down and be ready for whatever they throw at us.

So watch for more posts about the Sliced competition in the coming days.  Also, if you want to see me in action, I'll be cooking at the City Creek Harmons from 7:00 to 9:30 on Friday, May 2.  You can peer through the giant glass windows and watch the "magic".

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Crock Pot Chili, Perfect for Smothering Potatoes

OK, we've done a few chili recipes on the blog already.  There's the Basic No Bean Chili that's thick, chunky and will feed the masses.  Then there's the Red Hot as Hell Chili that uses a little beer and whole lot of heat from habanero and jalapeno peppers.

Both of those are great for feeding the masses and work great in a large stock pot. But since they have large chunks of meat, they might not be the best for a dip or a topping for a giant baked potato.  And if you're going to be taking it to a party, why not use a crock pot?

You will need to brown some meat and chop a few vegetables, but beyond that, it's just filling the crock pot and cranking up the heat.

There are a lot of spices in this recipe.  If you don't have a lot of chili powder on hand, then I'd suggest going to a spice store or a grocery store that sells bulk spices.  As we talked about in our Spices post, it'll save you 80-90% if you buy spices in bulk and store them in small jars.  For example, the large bottle of chili powder needed for this recipe will be around $5.00 at the grocery store.  The price at WinCo for enough bulk chili powder to make this chili and another batch for your family in a week or so: $1.00

Crock Pot Chili

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork or country sausage
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 chipotle peppers from a can and 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce packed with the peppers
3 14 ounce cans finely diced tomatoes
3 14 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
9 ounces (1 1/2 cans) tomato paste
1/2 cup chili powder
3 tablespoons cumin
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon oregano

Brown the sausage and the ground beef in a large pan.  Drain off the fat and then pour the meat into a large crock pot.  Chop the onion, green pepper, chipotle peppers and garlic, then add them to the crock pot. Drizzle the adobo sauce over the vegetables, then pour all of the tomatoes over the other ingredients and stir to combine.  Add all of the spices and sugar to the chili and stir one last time.

Cook on high for 4-5 hours, stirring about every hour or so to spread the heat around.  Then, drop the heat to Keep Warm and allow it to cool down for the next 1-2 hours.  This will allow it to thicken up to a consistency perfect for ladling over potatoes or serving in a bowl topped with cheese.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Easy Prime Rib... Yes, you read that right!

The holiday parties are in a couple of weeks.  And EVERYBODY's thinking about hams and turkeys.  Honeybaked has a line out the door and Costco has a gigantic freezer section filled to capacity with pig legs wrapped in red foil.

But if you're looking for a great option, just turn your back to the ham pile and look to the beef case.  You'll find probably the most prized cut of beef in the culinary world, the prime rib.  It may be named standing rib roast or something similar, but be assured, that's prime rib.

And this time of year, the prices for this cut can be downright amazing.  Watch your local grocery ads.  You'll see roasts for as cheap as $5.99 per pound.  A 7 pound roast can feed 8-10 people and if there are leftovers, consider yourself lucky.  You have the perfect ingredient for awesome sandwiches, stews, or even one of our chilis.

The key to a great prime rib is the slow cooking  You MUST have some sort of thermometer inserted into the meat so you know exactly what the temperature is in the middle of the roast.  The difference between rare and medium rare is 5 degrees.  And the different between that perfect medium rare and a medium that is a little less juicy is also 5 degrees, as you can see in the photo above.  So you need to monitor it's temperature constantly.  You could use a mechanical thermometer, but that means checking it constantly and who really wants to do that.  For the chronically lazy like myself, a digital thermometer is the perfect solution.  Most have an alert built in so it will beep as soon as it hits the perfect temp.

So set your thermometer to beep at 122 degrees, then you can pull it from the oven and let the carryover heat take it to just the right temperature.

Perfectly Easy Prime Rib

Plan for 2 1/2-3 hours of total cooking time

One 6-7 pound prime rib or standing rib roast
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon sage
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, add all the spices and the olive oil and stir until combined.  Then place the roast on a roasting pan or in a roasting rack inside a 13x9 inch pan.  Baste the entire roast with the spice and oil mixture.

Cook the roast in a 425 degree oven for 15-20 minutes to give the cooking a kickstart, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and continue to roast until the internal temperature hits 122 degrees, about 2 - 2 1/2 hours for a 7-8 pound roast.  At that point remove it from the oven, place a tent of tin foil over the meat and then lay a couple of dishtowels over the tin foil.  This will create a miniature oven so the carryover heat can do it's job.

And now,  the most vital part of the process.... patience.

It will smell delicious, it will stir every ounce of the carnivore within you.  But you must refrain with every fiber of your being from slicing into that for at least fifteen minutes.  You'll need to leave the thermometer in the roast, cover it in tin foil and let it cook the rest of the way on the counter.  There's so much heat in that slab of meat and in the pan it sits in, that the residual heat will carryover and raise the temperature to the final internal temperature of 130 degrees.  This should take that requisite 15 minutes, but as soon as it hits 130, remove the foil and let it sit for another 10 minutes.  This will allow the juices to relocate inside the meat and hunker down.  Slice it too soon, and your carving plate will be full of the meaty juices and your roast will not.

So buy a Prime Rib and cook it for the holiday masses.  Just Remember:  NO cutting the roast until after it rests or it'll go all Game of Thrones Red Wedding on you.