Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Noble Bar B Que

I"m back at it today: Ribs on the smoker!

As you may have noticed, I've dedicated my summer to the manly art of smoking meat with the delicious smoke of a wood fire. Today that meat is pork baby back ribs and that wood is hickory.

Yesterday I had delivered to my driveway a 1/2 cord of Hickory and a 1/2 cord of cherry wood. When I arrived home I was greeted by the happy sight of a pile of smoking wood in my driveway and my smiling family full of expectation of the magical things to come tonight.

I awoke this morning at 7, called my butcher and ordered three slabs of ribs, and one butterflied leg of lamb. More on the lamb later. After picking up the meat and various sundry ingredients, I returned home and prepared my brining solution; 2 quarts of water, and 3/4 C of kosher salt. Once the salt was dissolved in the water, I popped the ribs in, and stored them in the fridge.

Loyal readers, and avid fans of my continuing BBQ experiments will recall that the last time I made ribs, I felt that the taste was just a tad too salty. So this time, instead of backing off on the salt in the brine, I reduced the brining time from 2 hours to 1 hour and 20 minutes. I'm hoping this makes the difference.

Next I rubbed the ribs with a little paprika based rub that I have been quite happy with and let them sit at room temperature for a little over 2 hours. At noon I fired up the smoker and at 1 I popped the ribs inside. They're smoking now at 189 degrees.

As for the lamb, I'm just doing that in the oven later today for a pic nic with the grand parents tomorrow. I'm convinced that there is nothing better than some well roasted meat, at room temperature, with a nice plate of roast vegetables and a pasta salad. I think I'll be serving a chilled rose with the dinner tomorrow, and the pasta salad is an old favorite of mine that I made after having it in a restaurant several years ago: some rotini pasta, green beans, julienned sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts all mixed in with a light pesto sauce, served room temperature.

More later.

UPDATE: Results are in and the Que is consumed. Whoa. Just frickin' whoa. 7 hours seems to be the key.....meat separated from the bone without too much tug, and was still in possession of its moisture and texture. Well smoked flavor too. I have just taken the lamb out of the oven, and now will let it cool completely before I put it in the fridge to chill for tomorrow's dinner picnic. It's 11pm, I think I had better set the alarm.

Oh, and I came up with a killer Rucula E Prosciutto salad tonight that just killed. I had one Thursday night at a local restaurant, and recreated it tonight at my place. Here's the kicker; mine was better, way better. Basically I combined arugula and prosciutto in salad bowls. I diced some excellent tomatoes from my local stand which I piled on top, and then diced some mozzarella di buffala on top of that. Next I poured a lemon/olive oil dressing lightly over the salad, sprinkled sea salt (I'm becoming increasingly convinced that sea salt is the key to great salads by the way) followed by some ground pepper. A little julienned basil on top and the rest was just magic. Try it yourself.

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