Category Archives: Recipes

It’s A Beef Rib Thing

Of course I’ve had them. But I’ve never attempted to make them myself. The under appreciated beef rib. Smoked no less.

Trimmed Beef Ribs Ready To Rub

There they are in all their beefy glory. I went out and bought a vacuum packed slab to give some of my beef rib smoking theories a shot. I’m thinking, “let’s just apply all of the things we know from years of smoking pork spare ribs.” Yeah, right…

Beef Ribs Rubbed and Ready To Smoke


How about a little smoking music. I was listening to this 1972 flashback when I was doing some rib prep. Being originally from Chi-Town I have a soft spot for Chicago (the band). And, Chicago V is one of their better offerings. Thought you would like a trip back too. Enjoy!!

I split the slab into two fairly equal size pieces. Skinned them and trimmed them up. The same as I would do for pork ribs. Gave them a good dose of my pork rib rub (Cook’s Illustrated July/Aug 1994). You could (and should) really use YOUR favorite dry rub. People seem to like my spare ribs, so, I figured I would go with a proven winner. Oh, I did add a little extra cayenne pepper to the mix. The thinking here is the beef could handle the extra boldness of the additional pepper.

Beef Ribs. Ready to smoke

I like to let my rubbed ribs rest in the fridge overnight. That way the meat really absorbs the flavors of the dry mixture. Take them out of the fridge about an hour before cooking to let them warm up a bit.

The experiment continues. When the ribs were coming up to room temp I decided to inject them. Just to give them a little added flavor boost. I do this with my pork spares. So, I figured what the heck. For the injection I used a combo of beef broth, beef bullion and Worcestershire sauce. I got this from Wicked Good Barbeque. It’s essentially a 1-1-1 ratio. Beef broth, 1 TBS Worcestershire, 1 cube beef bullion. Bring to a simmer, then cool before using. This is a GREAT injection for beef. I’ve also used it on my Smoked Beef Brisket with delicious results.

Time for the smoke. I use a vertical Meco smoker. I’ve had this one for 20+ years. Still performs every time.

Beef ribs on the smoker

In case you’re wondering what’s in the water pan? I pretty much use whatever is handy. Today, I got lucky. One can PBR, one apple quartered, one yellow onion quartered, 8 cloves of garlic smashed. Then filled 3/4 full with hot water.

I like to smoke ribs at 250º. So, I’m going to use the classic 3-2-1 rib smoking method. 3 hours smoking, 2 hours wrapped, 1 hour sauced and back on the grates. I also like to let my smoker come up to temp before I add the meat.

Beef ribs after three hours smoking

They’re looking pretty good at this point. Now, off to wrap.

The secret wrap ingredients

Yes, that’s an actual picture of the super-secret wrap mixture. OK, it may not be a national security secret. You can probably find this semi-mysterious concoction on any BBQ show that has Johnny Trigg as a competitor. This is his favorite trick (modified a little). Oh, you want me to tell you what that is? Come on do a little work for yourself. Life ain’t that easy.

Wrapped, and back on for another 2 hours.

Here’s where I made a game time decision. Usually, I would unwrap, glaze with sauce and put the racks back on the smoker for another hour. But, I decided to leave them on and wrapped for another half hour. Then I would, unwrap, re-wrap with some fresh foil and paper bag them for thirty minutes.

Here’s what happened…

Beef Ribs finished and plated


Beef Ribs finished and plated

Of course served with the first sweet corn of the season.

Ah, Sweet...

Verdict. I’m probably a little more harsh on my own efforts than others would be. I thought they turned our pretty well. Maybe, a 7 on a 1-10 scale. My pork spare ribs are a 10+. So, that may have been part of the issue. The bar may have been a tad on the high side. They were moist and cooked. As you can tell from the photo. Maybe a little too cooked. That was probably the result of the bagging.

The trouble with a beef rib. At least these beef ribs is that they’re not quite as meaty as a pork spare. So, the expectation is for a tender and meaty bite. They’re certainly tender. But, lacked on the meaty side. Great, complex BBQ flavor though.

If you’re going to fire up the smoker. AND, you want to give something new a whirl, this may be a great slate for you to write your own recipe on. I may just toss some short ribs on next time. Hhhmm…


647 Tremont (Andy Husbands of IQUE BBQ, Wicked Good BBQ)
Smokin Triggers’ – Johnny Trigg’s Facebook page (I never would have thought)
Cook’s Illustrated Dry Rib Rub
Meco Vertical Smokers


Saw this recently on Food 52. I think it more than deserves some of my special attention. Love Kevin’s cooking. So, probably a home run. We shall see…

Kevin Gillespie’s Barbecue Chicken with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Kevin Gillespie's Barbecue Chicken with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

Keep your eyes, ears and mouth wide open!

Brat Reubens | Food & Wine Magazine

Food & Wine Magazine | Brats Reubens

This recipe is more than a little different. Different, but, pretty damn tasty. If you take the time to make it, I am certain you’ll agree.

Food & Wine Magazine | Brats Reubens

You know things are a little off when Phil Dunphy is associated with a recipe you’re about to whip up. You read right. Phil is in your kitchen!

Ty Burrell of Modern Family fame (among other things) has a recipe that appears in a recent issue of Food & Wine Magazine. It seems Ty is a foodie/beerie. He just opened Beer Bar located in Salt lake City, Utah of all places. It’s directly next door to, Bar X, of  which he is a co-owner. Beer Bar serves a huge list of 150 beers and they’re paired with house-made bratwursts. I think that was part of a dream I had a few nights back. Almost too good to be true.

Beer and brats. A classic combo.

Ty has teamed up with Salt Lake City Chef Viet Pham to help with his restaurants culinary inspirations. We recently tried our hand at constructing their Brat Reubens.

Have a look at the results…

The Relish

That relish had tons of flavor. Mighty good.


Some assembly required…

The Finished Product

It tastes WAY better than it looks right here. Although, honestly, it doesn’t look that bad.

The Finished Product

NOTE: We used a fresh made local bratwurst from Bob’s Processing in South Haven, Michigan. They have great stuff there. If you ever find yourself cruising through SW Michigan and crave some smoked meat or award winning house cured bacon this is THE place.

It’s hard to even see the bun through all of the toppings! That’s pretty great, right?

This sandwich really delivered. Oh, but how do you make it you ask. Here’s a link to all of the delicious details.


If you take a crack at this, drop us an email or leave a comment and let us know how your effort went.


Modern Family’ dad opens beer restaurant in Utah
Bar X Website
Modern Family Dad and a Star Chef Team Up on a Brat Bar
Follow Viet Pham on Twitter

Yellow Rice, That’s Mighty Nice


A recipe journey ends in an unexpected place.

Basmati Rice

I have a friend who owns a great Indian restaurant in Sarasota Florida. It’s the kind of place that locals like to hang out. It’s a place where the food says a lot about the people who own it. Warm, comforting, welcoming. It’s an easy place to love.

They have a rice dish on their menu, Cranberry Cashew Pilaf. It’s described as “a rice concoction of sautéed onions, dried cranberries and cashew nuts.” What the description fails to mention is the addictive nature of the dish. At least for my wife. She’s wild about it.

Unfortunately for her, the recipe is a highly guarded secret. It seems a little silly. It’s not as if my non-cooking wife is going to attempt to turn our house into an Indian restaurant. Although, I’ll admit, I wouldn’t mind having that food around all the time.

These days you can find just about any recipe you want on the internet. From Thomas Keller’s famous Oysters and Pearls to a thousand world class meatloaf recipes that any grandmother would be proud of. It’s all there. Well, almost all of it.

A few weeks back we reviewed Bryant Terry’s new cookbook, The Inspired Vegan. Little did I know that contained in the pages would be the rice dish that I had been searching for. Bryant calls it, Yellow Basmati Rice. But, that title didn’t tell the whole story.

I made Bryant’s recipe as part of my cookbook review. One taste told me that I was one step (and two ingredients) away from a breakthrough. So, without further adieu…

Yellow Basmati Rice with Cranberries and Cashews

1 cup basmati rice (soaked overnight in water)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onions, diced finely
1/2 tsp. coarse ground sea salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cashew pieces

Drain soaked rice into a colander. NOTE: I have made this dish twice. The first time through I didn’t have time to soak the rice overnight. So, I just rinsed it well in a fine mesh strainer. This method produced a finished product closer to what I was looking for. Soaking the rice gave it a distinct barley-like texture and feel when cooked. If you like that, then soak away.

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the onions and the salt. Sauté until well caramelized. About 10 to 15 minutes. I actually had to turn the heat up to medium to get the onions to caramelize in that amount of time. When the onions are browned add the turmeric. Stir for about 30 seconds to fully incorporate. Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes stirring often. The mixture should start to smell nutty and all of the water should be absorbed.

Add 2 1/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook for 50 minutes.

When rice is cooked. Remove from heat, add cranberries and cashews. Cover and set aside for about 10 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.

Serves 4
Recipe adapted Yellow Rice, Bryant Terry, The Inspired Vegan. Da Capo Lifelong Books © 2012.

Here’s what you’ll end up with. Looks amazing, right?


Here’s the thing. Having the recipe is great. Make no mistake about it. Does it replace the experience you get dining at the restaurant? Not even close. So, I’m pretty certain that I’ll continue to take advantage of the fantastic food and hospitality that only the REAL thing can offer.

FYI – The restaurant that makes that delicious Cranberry Cashew Pilaf is Chutney’s, Etc. If you click here, you can drool over their menu online. If you’re in the area, be sure and stop on by and say hello. You’ll be happy you did.

Looking for a copy of Bryant Terry’s The Inspired Vegan? You can grab your very own by clicking the book cover below.

The Inspired Vegan: Seasonal Ingredients, Creative Recipes, Mouthwatering Menus