ribs

Hi, sending out a quick note to let you know that my friends at ButcherBox are running a deal where new customers receive a pack of BBQ favorites – baby back ribs, 2 lbs of ground beef, and 2 NY strip steaks – free with your first box (and in addition to everything else that comes in it!). This is a pretty great deal, and much better than what they usually throw in for new customers.

We have enjoyed our monthly ButcherBox package for the past couple of years now: they ship 100% grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, heritage-breed pork, and wild-caught sockeye salmon directly to your door. They offer two main types of boxes – the first is a mixture of cuts selected by the team to help get your creative juices flowing (which comes bundled with recipe cards!), or an a la carte box where you can pick exactly what you receive. They also have two different sizes so you can customize your box to meet your family’s size. We like the value of ButcherBox (it comes out to less than $6/meal per person) and the fun of opening a box of new surprises each month — plus they let us specify the type of meat we want each month (all beef, or beef + chicken, and so on), which makes their service even more user-friendly.

Click here to learn more about their service and to sign up. This deal ends on Monday, June 10th (midnight PST), and please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below — happy grilling!

As you may remember from my Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe from a couple weeks ago, I’ve been tinkering with the new Sharp convection microwave, running it through its paces to see how it can apply to an everyday kitchen. In addition to your typical microwave features, the convection microwave also acts as a convection oven and a roaster.

So when coming up with possible recipe ideas, I decided to make a dish that is just about the opposite of what you’d expect to come out of a microwave – barbecue ribs. The microwave worked exceptionally well, since the convection feature tenderized the ribs and the roaster crisped them up before serving. Conventional oven instructions are also provided below.

Country-style ribs were an easy choice, since their connective tissue breaks down during the braising phase, which creates very tender ribs with minimal time. They are cut from the pig’s shoulder blade section; in fact, the bones you see in the ribs aren’t ribs at all, but cut pieces of the shoulder blade itself.

In support of the Sharp convection microwave, I’ll be participating in a live Twitter chat tomorrow (June 17th) at 3pm EST; to join in on the conversation, simply follow the #SharpNewWave hashtag tomorrow. They’ll be giving away a microwave during the chat, which is pretty awesome, so be sure to swing by.

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I’m relatively new to the whole pressure cooking scene. We didn’t use them in the restaurants where I first learned to cook, and I’ve frankly been a little intimidated to try one out at home. When it comes down to it, I’ve always had issues with cooking food when I can’t see what’s going on inside – I like to be in direct control of my creations (this is also one of the reasons you don’t see baked goods on my site). Pressure cookers have always seemed like the epitome of this idea, since you basically seal it up and let some sort of magic wizardry happen within.

My perspective changed when I bought an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker last year. Something about it removes all of my previous inhibitions; I think it’s the idea that I can set it to a certain time or intensity, and have it turn off and depressurize automatically, all on my own terms. Regardless, I love the fact that I can use this same machine to make broth, yogurt, and rice, or to sear and slow cook without dirtying two dishes. And most importantly, it breaks down tough cuts of meat in a manner of minutes, like in today’s recipe. To showcase my new love for pressure cooking, I went with a simple short ribs recipe, flavored with a bit of brandy and maple syrup. If you don’t have any fancy gadgets, don’t worry: I provided instructions for electric pressure cookers, conventional pressure cookers, and stovetop pots.

Pressure cooking is not a new concept, it has been around in Europe since as far back as the 17th century. They weren’t modeled for home use until the 19th century, but pressure cookers have been integral in many restaurants and home kitchens ever since. They work by sealing in the steam from cooking, allowing you to cook foods at higher temperatures and with less energy since hardly any heat escapes during cooking. In fact, pressure cooking is the most energy efficient way of cooking out there. There are many out there who swear by conventional stove-top pressure cookers, and after my latest success with an electric pressure cooker, I’m starting to eye a few conventional models on Amazon.

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Greater Baltimore area residents: I’m speaking about food and nutrition at CrossFit Glen Burnie on Saturday, July 13th. More info is here.

Like most red-blooded American men, I have a special place in my heart for barbecue ribs. That’s probably pretty obvious, since I have no less than TEN ribs recipes on my site (my favorites are here and here) – that’s nearly 5% of all my recipes!

My taste in ribs has changed over the years, as well as my cooking method; originally I braised my ribs in apple juice and onions for a couple hours, then crisped them over a grill. While I still like ribs that way from time to time, I’ve come to better appreciate smoked ribs – those cooked over low temperatures for extended periods, gently nudged to perfection by wafting curls of smoking cinders.

The trouble is, despite all of my outdoor cooking adventures, I keep pushing off the idea of buying a charcoal grill or a smoker, the usual staples of tasty smoked ribs – my backyard patio only has so much real estate, and I don’t think Mrs. Domestic Man would appreciate more contraptions back there. So I’ve been diligently plugging away at making an easy, foolproof method for smoking ribs on a gas grill, and I’m ready to share the meats of my labor.

To demonstrate, I decided to use spare ribs, which is a cheaper cut of ribs, but they taste just fine to me when cooked properly. I also used a drip pan full of hard cider to flavor and moisten the ribs as they smoked (regular apple cider or water would do fine as well).

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Some eagle-eyed readers may recall that in my Memphis-style barbecue beef back ribs recipe from earlier this year, I only used half of the huge 16 lb. package of beef back ribs that US Wellness Meats sent me. I had been eyeballing the remaining two racks of ribs for a while and I decided to take a different approach to the ribs this time; the Memphis-style recipe was a lot of fun, but it also took a lot of work (and some specialized equipment) to get that perfect taste. This time around, I wanted to make something that was ridiculously easy and still produced some high-quality, juicy, and tender beef ribs.

So I turned to my dear old gas grill, and let the magic of indirect heat run its course.

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One of our favorite occasional indulgences is Chinese dim sum, and one of my favorite dim sum dishes is spare ribs with black beans. In Asia, black beans (douchi) aren’t the same black beans you get at Chipotle; they’re actually a fermented and salted version of soy beans. This recipe is basically my take on this dish but without the beans.

Part of this dish’s unique taste is the combination of sweet and salty with a subtle fermented twinge – in order to pull this signature fermented taste off, I added dashes of oyster sauce and fish sauce, and it came out beautifully.

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US Wellness Meats recently asked me to make a recipe for their beef back ribs, and I was happy to oblige (note: don’t ever turn down ribs). Little did I know, I was in for a surprise: this package, which included four racks of ribs, weighed in at SIXTEEN POUNDS of beefy goodness. I immediately knew that I had to call in for backup to give these monsters the attention they deserved.

Enter my friend Jeremy from SeaDog BBQ. SeaDog BBQ is a locally-based Kansas City Barbeque Society competition team, and they’ve done pretty well here in Maryland against some very talented teams. Not only did he come up with an awesome sugar-free barbecue rub recipe to accompany these beef ribs, he brought over his own smoker! While his smoker is from a small, locally-produced source, he did mention that the Weber Smokey Mountain is one of the best introductory smokers that are commercially available. If you don’t own a smoker, never fear – I added tips on how to replicate this recipe using a grill.

Okay, enough with the background, on to the ribs! For this recipe we cooked two of the racks, totaling eight pounds. We opted for a dry, sauceless cooking method, typical of Memphis-style barbecue, with an hour’s braise in the middle to speed up the cooking process and to keep the ribs juicy and full of beefy flavor.

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NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

If you’ve taken a look at the ingredients list of your favorite barbecue rub, you may have been surprised to see that many commercially-available rubs have some form of sugar in them. There are definitely sugar-free rubs to be found, but wouldn’t it be better to just make some of your own?

This recipe is courtesy of my friend Jeremy, who has his own Kansas City Barbeque Society competition team, SeaDog BBQ. This rub has a nice, even taste with a hint of spice thanks to its use of chipotle powder.

Yields about 3/4 cup.

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You may remember one of my favorite recipes, my easy BBQ ribs. Well, since posting the recipe last year (and a revised version this March), I’ve been slowly honing this dish, and I’ve made enough changes that I figured I should write a quick amendment post.

The biggest change is that after cooking, I have been letting the ribs rest for about ten minutes, and then cutting each bone away from the rack using a pair of kitchen shears. This step makes for a much cleaner and fulfilling eating experience.

I’ve also found that adding peppercorns to the apple cider/white wine mixture in the first part of the cooking process really adds a depth to the meat’s taste.

We prefer to eat our short ribs in the form of kalbi, but roasting an entire rack is also a rewarding experience. Off the rack, these ribs are meaty, fatty and delicious.

Although my pork ribs are usually cooked by braising or boiling and then grilling, I decided to do the opposite this time around, and grill them first. The result is soft, juicy meat – akin to a pot roast.

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