The Cynics Workshop

Where I can try to influence the world, one word at a time.

Category: Recipes

Home Cooked Ribs

If you’re like me, and you love anything bbq, then you’ll definitely be happy to know that there is an easy recipe to enjoy bbq ribs at home.  A few months ago I started to do research into the easiest way to prepare the ribs, and it was quite a struggle.  I first looked into grilling them, which involved needing to keep your grill at a constant temperature, possibly going through at least 1 tank of gas, and to top it off, I would have had to put moist wood chips inside a ball of aluminum foil, then poke holes in them to create a mini smoker effect.  Of course if you already have a smoker, then you are well on your way.  After much research, I settled on the fact that I was going to have to use my oven.  I wasn’t thrilled about it at first, but the more people I spoke to, the more common I found this method was.  I worked at a bbq restaurant growing up, and even they used to boil the ribs in water, then they would throw them on the grill shortly before serving to give them that bbq look and texture.  You can certainly throw them on the grill after pulling them from the oven, but I decided not to and I don’t believe I missed anything.  To make my virgin attempt a bit more interesting, I also decided to do beef ribs, but I am certain the below recipe would work just fine for the more traditional pork baby back ribs.

The first thing you need to decide on, outside of what kind of meet you want to use, is how you want to flavor them.  I was really excited to try a rub.  In the past, I have been mostly accustomed to bbq sauce to flavor the ribs, but after a recent trip to Maryland where I had my first rack of ribs that were treated with a rub, I was pleasantly surprised with how good they were so I wanted to try it myself.  After much searching, I settled on the following rub recipe:

1/3 cup paprika
3 tablespoons dry mustard
3 tablespoons onion powder
3 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons ground basil
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons red pepper

My advice would be to buy your ribs a day or two before you want to cook them so you can let the rub set in and really flavor them.  Deciding to not follow my own advice, I bought mine the day I cooked them.  After getting back from the store in the morning, I immediately put the rub on and threw them in the fridge for a few hours.

The key to putting them in the oven is two words, low & slow.  You are going to want to cook them at 250 degrees for 45 min/lb.  Since I had close to 6 pounds of meat, I couldn’t let the rub set in for too long.  After a few hours of marinating, I got these things in the oven shortly after noon.  The hard work is over, and the oven does virtually the rest of the work for you.  The only remaining step for you is to cover the ribs with your favorite bbq sauce with approximately 30 minutes of cook time left.  The sauce will really set in and give the ribs a nice extra kick of flavor.  Again, you can throw them on the grill yourself for a few minutes to give the outside a nice crispy flavor.  Since I was salivating when I pulled them out of the oven, I decided to skip that step.

After a day, well really weeks, of anticipation, I put a rack on my plate and dug in.  After the first bite, I was in heaven.  The meat was so full of flavor and the best part was that it literally fell off the bone.  I had to let it sit for a few minutes because it was so hot, and I didn’t have room on my plate for sides…but it didn’t matter.  In fact after eating the whole rack, I was too full for sides so in the ensuing days, I decided to eat only a half rack for dinner so I could also enjoy some mac & cheese (which is a must if you are going to eat ribs) with them.

Ultimately, I was really surprised with how easy it was to prepare this whole meal.  The longest step, outside of the time in the oven, is mixing and applying the rub.  It is something easy that you can throw in the oven, then enjoy your day before enjoying your meal.  Happy eating!

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Slow Cooker Jambalaya

I am slowly learning that buying a slow cooker could quite possibly be the greatest purchase of my life.  I am such a fan of throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and leaving it.  I realize this could be classified as more of a winter, comfort food dish, but the option of sitting out on your deck or balcony on a nice summer evening with a plate of jambalaya and a glass of sangria does sound tempting.  Since this is very similar to paella, feel free to serve with a side of Spanish rice.

Prep Time – 20 minutes
Cook Time – 8 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 pound frozen cooked shrimp without tails

Directions:

  1. In a slow cooker, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.
  2. Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on Low, or 3 to 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

 

Italian Chicken Sausage Risotto

I have been watching Hells Kitchen for the past few years, and one of the many dishes that they seem to feature on their menu (which I have not been able to see a full copy of…but would love to!) has been a risotto dish.  Having never tried risotto before, I hit the web in search of a quick, easy, and tasty sounding dish…what I ended up with was the below recipe for Italian Chicken Sausage Risotto (courtesy of allrecipes.com).  It was very easy to make, and most of all…it tastes great!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 (16 ounce) package Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage (or any flavor you like)
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 cup Chardonnay or other dry white wine
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 1 cup frozen petite sweet peas

Directions

In a heavy, large Dutch oven or saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté sausage and onion until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add rice and wine; stir 1-2 minutes or until wine is absorbed. Stir in 3 cups broth. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until broth is absorbed, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Continue adding stock, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is adsorbed and rice is tender and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas and 1/4 cup Parmesan; cook 1 minute or until heated throughout. Season with 1/4 tsp black pepper. Garnish with parsley and remaining cheese. Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Ingredients:

1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin (or a 4 pound pork shoulder)
1 (12 ounce) can of root beer
1 (18 ounce) bottle of your favorite bbq sauce

Directions:

Place the pork in a slow cooker; pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until well cooked and the pork shreds easily, 6-7 hours. Drain the root beer, then stir in the bbq sauce…then serve.

5 minutes of prep, 7 hours of cook time, days of enjoyment!

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