Tag Archives: indirect grilling

Ribs from the Smoker with Mac and Cheese

Man, this was a serious meal!  Both the ribs and mac and cheese were so good I had to have seconds of both, and I was about to pop. I thought the ribs were damn near perfect, but the hubs thought they should go longer.  They were not to the “fall off the bone” stage which he prefers (but I know many people don’t),  but neither of us had any problems putting away most of the rack.  We did our ribs on the smoker, but you could totally do them in a grill – just do them over indirect heat, and it will take about half the time as a smoker.  As for the the cheese in the mac and cheese, I think you can vary it somewhat, but you want to be considerate of how well each cheese melts and make sure one cheese does not overwhelm the entire dish.   I chose not to bake mine – I  wanted it to be super creamy, not crunchy how it gets in the oven.  I did not finish the mac and cheese with toasted bread crumbs on top because I did not have any, but that is really the only way to take your mac to the next level.  Next time.

I think I will take 5 pieces just for myself

Smoked Ribs

From Steve Raichlen’s BBQ USA, Apple City championship ribs from Murphysboro, IL

  • 2 rack baby back pork ribs (ours weighed about 3.5 pounds)
  • 2 quart plus 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Remove the thin, papery membrane from the back of each rack if it still on it.

Place ribs in a large non reactive roasting pan or in a clean plastic garbage bag and pour the 2 quarts of cider/juice over them. Let the ribs marinate in the fridge covered for at least 4 hours, or as long as overnight.  Turn on occasion so they marinate evenly.

Make the rub.  Mix the paprika, brown sugar, black pepper, chile powder, garlic powder, mustard, celery salt, coarse salt, and cayenne in a small bowl and stir up with your fingers to mix.

Drain ribs and pat dry. Sprinkle rub over ribs until nicely coated on both sides –  about 1-2 tablespoons per rack.  You’ll have rub left over.  Rub the coating over the meat with your hands.  Let cure in fridge covered for about 4 hours.

Set up your smoker or your grill with indirect heat.  Use wood chunks if you have them, such as apple wood.

We cooked our ribs in the smoker for about 4.5 hours.  For a grill with indirect heat, I would recommend  1 1/2 to 2 hours.  When ribs are done, they will be browned and the meat will have shrunk back about 1/4 inch from the ends of the bones.  For a grill, mop ribs with juice evey 30 minutes.  For a smoker, mop ribs with juice once every hour.

Cut ribs into pieces and serve.  Feel free to use some BBQ sauce, but we were happy with the ribs just as they were.

So good we did not even use BBQ sauce!

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 pound noodles, penne, macaroni, or something short and tubular-ish
  • 1/2 cup Fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup Baby Swiss, grated
  • 1/4 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water

Bring salted pot of water to boil.  Add pasta, cook, and drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid.  Return back to pot, adding all of the cheeses, the butter, and some salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Add a 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and combine.  Decide if the consistency looks good, or if more cooking water should be added.  Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary with additional salt and pepper, and serve.

Can you say unhealthy? I know I can say delicious.


One of a Million Tasty Ways to Marinate and Grill Chicken

So, it’s grilling season (finally), and what is about the easiest thing to do on the grill? Aside from slapping some hotdogs on it?  Grilled chicken!  However, if you are not careful, grilled chicken can be one of the easiest things to really mess up, especially white meat.  I suppose I should mention that I very much prefer dark meat over white meat.  So much juicier, tender, and flavorful.  But, once in a while we will do a whole chicken on the grill (back bone cut out and butterflied open into two halves) and if you master the grill right, even the white meat turns out well.

And what is the key to doing this? Indirect heat!  Yes, say it with me now, “Indirect heat!”  Meaning, once your coals are hot either shove them all to one side and then cook on the other side of the grill;  or, shove half the coals to the far left side and the other half of the coals to the far right and grill your food right in the center.  I think the choice comes down to how much food you have or how big your cuts of meat are.  Cooking with indirect heat will stop the problem of the outer part of your meat being dry and charred, while the inside is not cooked through yet.  In addition, it is important to keep your lid down most of the time because this helps to keep the inside temp of your grill nice and roasty and this helps to more evenly cook your meat.

Asian BBQ Chicken with Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad

Asian BBQ Chicken with Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad

  • 4 chicken quarters (we used thigh and leg quarters)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup sweet mirin
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad (recipe below)

Whisk all ingredients except chicken in bowl.  Pour marinade over chicken, either in a freezer bag on in a large, shallow baking dish.  Let marinate about 3-6 hours, but up to 12 if preferred.  Remove from marinade and scrape off excess liquid.  Season with salt and pepper.

Grill over indirect heat.  Place skin side down and let grill about 20 minutes.  Flip and let grill another 15 – 20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.  Remove from gill and let rest at least 5 minutes.

Peanut Sauce Pasta Salad

  • Handful of spaghetti (just eye it) – feel free to use Soba noodles if you have some on hand!
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
  • 1/3 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, sliced thin
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup peanut sauce (my recipe from previous post)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon  plus 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil, divided

Cook pasta accordingly and drain thoroughly.  Toss with 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil.  When pasta has cooled slightly (still about room temp), toss with both bell peppers, red and green onion.

Chicken with a glass of the Hubs home-brewed IPA

To make sauce, mix peanut sauce, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil.  Toss into pasta salad until nicely coated.  Don’t use all of sauce if not necessary.  Toss salad with peanuts and cilantro.  Serve around room temperature.