Rummaged around in the freezer yesterday for something quick to fix for supper and found some ribs in vac seal bags. Oh boy! I’ll just drop these into some hot water right in the bag and peel them out for supper with some oven fries. Didn’t turn out well. Much to my chagrin, the ribs were uncooked – warm, but essentially raw. Teach me to not label stuff.
So I resealed the contents of the one package I opened in a new bag and set up the water bath for an overnighter – 12 hours at 165. I pulled them out this morning and set them in the fridge for a replay. This evening I warmed the bags in a simmering pot, opened them and patted the ribs dry, brushed on bbq sauce, and finished them under a broiler for a few minutes. They were excellent!
Mmm… sloppy joe with giardiniera and a side of chips. Those are Utz salt ‘n vinegar flavored chips. Amazon had a deal on them for Prime members, alas the deal has moved on. [ETA: They’re back in stock!]Mrs J sent me this pic of Toby at the vet’s office. He tangled with a feral cat and got a bite on his tail that abcessed. He’s fine now.Gabe waits by the door with Homer keeping him company. Mrs J has just left for the vet with Toby. She told Gabe he wasn’t going but he hoped she would change her mind.Franks with beans on the side.Franks with beans on the top.Mmm… gumbo! This recipe came up first with a Google search and it looked pretty good. I took my usual liberties with the ingredients, crawdads for the shrimp, and chicken because I like chicken. I used a small can of tomato paste and added four fresh ripe tomatoes sans their skins. It does have andouille sausage.Ribs and fries. I need to work on my presentation – the half slab doesn’t look “ribby” enough.Here’s a fresh loaf in a plastic bag. Do you tie? I often use small office binder clips if the loaf is going into the freezer but the twist and tuck under is the way I go if the bread is going to be used that day.Gabe likes to climb on my lap to be reassured Mrs J will come back home.
Tomatoes! So many! The weather has been playing havoc with the yields, it may have slowed but it hasn’t stopped them. Brings up the dilemma faced by most all tomato growers: What to do with them all.Everyone loves the BLTs, what we have here is a TLT. Tuna salad is a summer favorite of ours: Tuna, mayo, pickle relish, chopped celery, chopped egg, chopped green or red bell peppers, minced onion, and this one even has shredded cheddar.The classic summer salad of sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. I make a dressing of 2 parts water to 1 part rice vinegar, a splash of canola oil, and seasoned with salt and pepper. If you like you can add a bit of granulated garlic and a dried herb or 2, basil and thyme or oregano. It’s better the next day after an overnight in the fridge.Macaroni and tomatoes is one of those simple dishes that are so good you should make some right away. Drop the tomatoes into boiling water for a minute then transfer them into an ice water bath to take off the skins. Chop them up and simmer them for a half hour in a pot in which you have softened some minced garlic in a little oil. Garnish with fresh basil and eat hot or cold.Green beans boiled with potatoes in ham broth is another summer favorite. We use cured chunks of ham or smoked ham hocks. Boil the ham and a sliced sweet onion in chicken stock for a few hours then drop in the potatoes. We used fingerlings for this but any small potato will serve, or just cut bigger potatoes into smaller pieces. Give the potatoes a head start because they will take longer to cook through, then add the green beans. Don’t be afraid to cook the beans for an hour or more. Cornbread is the perfect side.I did the sous vide ribs thing again, worked great again. We ate gratin potatoes and baked beans with them this time. Mrs J declared this “a full meal deal”.The potatoes were easy enough: I sliced these with my mandoline with the skins on, then arranged them in a casserole alternating layers with sliced onions. Pour on a cheese sauce and bake, covered for 45 minutes or so, uncover for the last 10-15 so the top browns. I made this one with cheddar.This is a dish full of chicken and rice enchiladas in a tomatillo sauce. It doesn’t look like much but it was tasty.
I almost waited too long to put the ribs into the water bath. I was thinking the morning of the 4th would be good for the holiday dinner. The slab was cut into two pieces, rubbed with seasonings, and sealed in vacuum bags well in advance. Then I looked at the recipe over at the Food Lab site the day before: “TOTAL TIME:16 to 50 hours”! I set the bath up and started it up around 2PM on the 3rd with the temp at 155 degrees.They spent the night at 155, then I boosted the temp to 165 the morning of the 4th. Around 11Am they came out and were placed in an ice water bath to cool. Here they are after blotting with paper towels.And after brushing with BBQ sauce while the oven was heating to 400. The one on the right was wanting to break in two, all they needed was reheating to seal on the sauce.The ribs were as tender as any we’ve ever had, the bones sipped out of the slabs cleanly. Two thumbs up!Got bone?
I coated these with a dry rub and was putting them into the pan when I decided to add a beer rather than the usual chicken stock. Cover the pan with foil and bake for three hours at 325-350, uncover and drain the liquids, apply bbq sauce and cook until that sets. They turned out pretty well but I bet a better beer would have made a difference. I used a basic mass market light beer this time.
The hummers finally showed up in some force. There are enough of them around I have to keep an eye on the feeders lest they run dry.I’m always losing those info tabs that ID the plant so I hit upon the idea to take a picture of each one with my cell phone. Might not be foolproof but it can’t hurt.Bea is fond of turning our pots into kitteh beds. I have two small basil plants in this one and she managed not to crush either one. Yay!I had Italian sausage leftover from the last pizza so I combined that with some ground beef in a meatloaf the other day. Worked out pretty well! This was an ad hoc recipe: Milk, an egg, bread crumbs, chopped parsley, chopped onion, garlic, and salt/pepper – bake in a 325 oven for about an hour in a bread loaf pan. The dressing is ketchup and Sweet Baby Ray’s.The best reason to make meatloaf is the prospect of using the leftovers in a sammich. Mmm…Thread needs more kitteh! This is Sweet Pea, a 5 month old kitteh girl.That was hard work! Nap time…I’ve been perfecting my braising method for these baby back ribs. I do these in a 300 degree oven in a covered foil pan, after applying a dry rub, for about 3 hours or so. A cup of beef broth helps to keep them moist. During the last 20 minutes I brush them with a BBQ sauce, crank up the heat, and leave them uncovered to set the glaze. Still working on the rub recipe but is has ground coriander, black pepper, kosher salt, garlic and onion powders, brown sugar, and a few other things that look good at the time.
Last week I found a nice, small pork roast on sale and decided it would be perfect to make a slow-cooker pulled pork. That reminded me that it would be a good idea to revisit JeffreyW’s smoking adventures with his backyard smoker. I’ve pulled a few recipes, but if you search for “smoker” on the blog, you’ll find a whole lot more of his mouth-watering pictures and recipes.
Let’s start with my slow-cooker Easy Pulled Pork, I posted two ways to make it here.
Next up, JeffreyW makes an assortment of goodies in his smoker:
Here is his recommendation for a smoker and some tasty Ribs.
Homemade Pastrami (click here) – serious mouth-watering photos.
Smoked Chicken (photos and recipe here).
My youngest brother also jumped on the Smoker band wagon and sent me photos of a great meal that included Smoked Macaroni and Cheese (link here). He didn’t include a recipe, but I think it’s safe to say, make your favorite Mac ‘n Cheese, place in an aluminum pan, cover and smoke it for about 45 minutes to an hour at 165-180 degrees.
Smoker people seem very passionate, so if you’ve got the bug, hit the comments and share your experiences and expertise. What delicious things do you have planned this weekend? Anyone getting the grill out yet?
Tonight’s featured recipe from JeffreyW:
I thawed a beef brisket and was thinking corned beef but changed my mind. I have a fresh made pastrami on hand so I decided on a straight smoked brisket. The procedure is much the same as with making a pastrami except you are starting with a fresh beef beef brisket rather than a corned one. I suppose you could use the same dry rub for both but I wasn’t sure how the juniper berries in the pastrami rub would taste so I went with a more traditional rub. I was tossing various ingredients in and didn’t keep track of the amounts of each so I can’t do more than list them from memory: Black pepper, kosher salt, onion powder, granulated garlic, smoked paprika, ancho powder, regular chili powder, fresh ground cumin, some powder out of a bottle of Goya “Adobe Seasoning” (it’s yellow – go figure), creole/Cajun seasoning, oregano, and probably a few more.
I placed it on the top rack of my electric smoker, threaded the temp probe through the vent and into the thickest part, placed a drippings pan with an inch of apple cider under the meat, added the soaked hickory to the smoke chamber, closed the door and fired it up. It’s been cold and snowy so I knew it would take a good while to get to the “done” temperature but I wasn’t thinking 23 hours. That’s how long it spent in there before I pulled it. The probe was registering 176 degrees.
I pulled the first drippings pan out because I think it was keeping the inside temperature in the smoker too low and replaced it with a dry pan after about 12 hours. The quart of cider plus the drippings was reduced to what you see above. If I could make it by the gallon I’m pretty sure I would be a millionaire in short order. Awesome stuff.
That’s it for this week. No Bixby update, but he turns 10 months old this weekend, so I’ll put something together soon. Have a great weekend. – TaMara
Mrs J made her first banana cream pie. She did good. She bought some Jell-O brand pudding mix but decided to go from scratch using this recipe she found online. We have a can of cream of tartar that is at least 30 years old. It’s got the little oval tin lid that presses into the top. All such items these days have a plastic top of some sort but this one is old school.I imagine we will still have the same can for longer yet. I don’t think it goes bad if kept properly, at least this can is still good.Time for a kitteh!Both the kitteh and the staffer have a “what’s that thing” look.Hamburgers are par for the course come grilling season and I’m not too old burn my share. You can’t get that grilled taste unless you grill them. We finished off the deviled eggs with the burgers this evening. These are half mayo, half sour cream blended into the yolks and they are garnished with bacon bits, chopped chives, and paprika.This little girl was found abandoned in a field. She was staying close to a bag of kibble that was torn open and left with her. So the owner was not a total bastard.I seasoned a rack of baby backs and wrapped them in foil and set them cooking in a 300 oven, figuring I would mow the yard while they braised in their own liquids, and finish them on the grill. It was a good plan but they fell apart while I was trying to transfer them so I ended up just setting them on the warming rack with the top off the foil package and basting with sauce while the corn and squash grilled.
The squash got a marinade of lemon juice, chopped fresh thyme, garlic, white vinegar, and olive oil. That worked great! I’ve been experimenting with different seasonings for the sweet corn. Old Bay works pretty well, but the Creole seasoning I used on these was perfect.Moar kittehs! This little boy was rescued from a kill shelter. St Francis had a little extra room and took several off of death row. The other kittehs in this post were in that same batch.I didn’t know where to put this pan of baked beans so I’ll just leave it here.
With a nice spinach salad. Haven’t broken the gas grill out yet, these spent a good while in the oven at 300 or so. Five hours, or six, with a rub I had leftover from an earlier project and a squirt of BBQ sauce in the last hour. Used up the last of my par cooked cut fries – I’ll need to put jumbo potatoes on the grocery list and prepare some more. I hope the snow stays gone from my spud cutting bench.