Sunday, May 27, 2007

3rd International WSM Smoke Day

Yesterday was the 3rd Annual International WSM Smoke Day. It's an event initiated by the Virtual Weber Bullet site and invites people to smoke something that day, and I did!
Last week I had two smokes that didn't went very well, rabbit legs on Sunday that should have been on, according to the recipe for 1.5 hours, but took over 5 hours to reach the right temperature and beef ribs on Thursday that should have taken 4-5 hours but ended up like beef jerky (they looked right after 3 hours and probably were), so I decided to do my tried and tested rib recipe Noskos' Classic Baby Back Ribs.

The recipe is an altered one from Steven Raichlin's book: Raichlen on Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribs

2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons mustard powder

Mop Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons soy sauce

Noskos' Sweet & Smokey BBQ Sauce

4 racks of baby back ribs
4 chunks of hickory smoke wood

The evening before: mix the rub ingredients, take the papery skin of the inside of the ribs, wash them and pat them dry with paper towels.
Apply the rub and put the ribs in the fridge.

The next day, prepare the WSM for smoking 225-250 F, I used the standard method to light it, one full burning chimney starter of briquettes and one full unlit chimney starter of briquettes on top. On top of that the hickory chunks. When all the briquettes are covered in ash assemble the smoker, close the bottom vents and keep the one on top fully open. After about an hour the temperature should be OK.

Take the ribs out of the fridge half an hour before they should go on the barbecue.
Put them on the barbecue in a rib rack or roll them up.

After 50 minutes heat up the mop ingredients. At the one hour mark mob the ribs with the mop sauce and do so every hour (I let the sauce cool down in between mop sessions).

After 3 1/2 hours take the ribs of the barbecue and brush on the glaze, in this case I used my own homemade BBQ sauce, I will post the recipe another time, but you can use any sweet smokey barbecue sauce.
Put the ribs back on for half an hour so the glaze can firm up and get nice and sticky.

These ribs are great with BBQ beans, homemade fries and homemade apple sauce.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

B.R.I.T.U. (Best Ribs in the Universe)

Last Sunday I had my first cook on the weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. I had decided to follow a well tried recipe from the Virtual Weber Bullet site, the B.R.I.T.U. which stands for the Best Ribs In The Universe.

At 11 AM I fired up the weber and at 1 PM the temperature had stabilized at about 250 F, that is about 50 F too high but that is normal for a new WSM. The reason for the higher temperature is that the inside is still shiny and reflects the heat back inside, when the WSM is used a couple of times, the inside will become dull from smoke and grease and will conduct the heat out.

At 1 PM I put on 3 racks of ribs and closed the lid for 3 hours, the temperature hardly changes, it did get a bit lower but that must have been the layer building up on the inside.

After 3 hours I turned the ribs, checked the water pan, which had still plenty of water, and opened the bottom vents a bit to take the temperature up to 275 F for the final stretch.

One hour later the ribs were done, suck of the bone tender and good eats!

I am really surprised at how easy it is to maintain a steady temperature in the WSM, if I use my weber kettle I have to keep adjusting the vents.
The B.R.I.T.U. recipe was OK, but next time I'll use my regular recipe, I like a little more kick.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kahlua Flan

Yesterday I made Kahlua Flan for dessert. Flan is a custard based dessert which originated in Spain and is very popular in Spain and Latin American countries.

This recipe comes from Emeril Lagasse and can be found on the FoodNetwork website.

3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweet condensed milk
2 tablespoons Kahlua (or other coffee liqueur)

Heat the sugar in a small sauce pan over medium high heat, when it start to melt lower the heat and let it caramelize until it's golden brown, swirl the pan, don't stir it. And be careful, this mixture is very hot!

Pour in a flan mold, swirl it to cover the bottom and let it cool. I don't have a flan mold so I used a 20cm cake tin.
Preheat the over to 350 F.

Whisk the eggs together, add the cans of evaporated and sweet condensed milk and the Kahlua. Whisk well to blend. We only have Kahlua Especial, which is higher in alcohol percentage) at the moment, but that didn't really matter for this recipe.
Put the mixture in the flan mold and put the mold in a larger roasting tray, add hot water to come halfway up the sides of the flan mold. Place this in the oven and bake until the flan is set but still jiggles a bit in the center when you shake it. This takes about 50-60 minutes.

Take the flan out of the roasting dish and let it cool down on a wire rack. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours in the fridge.

Before you serve it, take a thin knife and run it along the rim of the mold, place a plate on top and turn it over. Lift the mold.
Emeril uses chocolate on top, but I think it's just fine the way it is!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Blackberry Blossom

Lots of blossoms in my blackberry bush. It's the second year I have it and I got a few blackberries last year, but it looks like I will have a truck load this season.

Will make jam out of them and I think I have a BBQ sauce recipe here somewhere that uses them too.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Chicken Enchiladas

With the corn tortillas I made chicken enchiladas. The recipe I used comes from Elise's Simply Recipes Food and Cooking Blog and can be found under the Mexican Food Recipes section.
I had to use 4 tablespoon of chili powder and 2 drops of Dave's Insanity Hot Sauce to get a bit of bite, I think that the chili powder here in Europe is less potent than the US version, I will pick up a bottle next time I'm there to test.

The enchiladas turned out great! I served them with chili, sour cream and home made guacamole.

Corn Tortillas

Yesterday I made corn tortillas which I used for enchiladas. As I wrote in an earlier post I found the tortilla corn flour online here in Holland. I learned how to make them at Pilar's La Casa de los Sabores (the house of flavours) Cooking School in Oaxaca City, Mexico were we took a cooking class on our vacation in March. She took us to the market and we bought ready to use masa (dough) there.
Now I had to mix it myself, which isn't very hard but it takes some time to get the consistency right.

I used 2 cups of tortilla corn flour and started with 1 1/4 cup of very warm water, brought it together and found out it needed more water. If you make a little dough ball and flatten it and it cracks easily it's too dry.

When I had the right consistency I rolled balls which were a little bigger than a golf ball. Keep the bowl you put them in covered with cling film to prevent them from drying out.
Cut up a freezer bag in such a way that you have 2 sheets that fit inside your press. This makes it easier to press the tortillas and it keeps your press clean.

Place one of the balls on the plastic sheet in the press.

Put the second sheet of plastic over the ball and flatten it a bit by hand.

Use the press to flatten the ball in to a tortilla. Pilar's tip was to open the press, flip the tortilla over and press again, this way you get a nice even thickness.

Remove the plastic, if your dough sticks too much to the plastic it's too wet, and put on a hot griddle and cook until they are done on both sides.

You can put them in aluminum foil and cover them with a dishtowel to keep them warm for a while.

In Oaxaca we made smaller once, the dough balls were about 2 cm (3/4"), which we filled with squash blossoms and Oaxacan string cheese (a cheese that's gets nice and runny when heated). This was served with Salsa Verde Asada, a nice green salsa made with jalapeno, avocado, garlic and roasted tomatillos.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Surprise, surprise!

On Sunday April 22nd I ordered a WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker), according to the website they had one in stock and it would be delivered within 3 to 5 days. But when I sent them an email after a week they told me it was on back order and could take a little longer. One of the members on the Virtual Weber Bullet site had ordered from the same company, called them and was told that he had to wait until the end of the month because they were still on their way.
So I was very surprised when the mailman delivered my WSM today!

I called my nephew if he wanted to help me put it together, he helped my with the weber kettle too, and he arrived with another friend of ours a little while later.
We unpacked and assembled the cooker in about 20 minutes.
I hope we'll have nice weather this weekend so I can do a test run with some ribs!

My two barbecues, the 22.5" One Touch Gold Kettle and the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

First Chile Peppers

The first chile peppers are starting to grow on my Long Sheng plants. I will use some of these fresh and green, but I'll let most of them turn red and dry them in my dehydrator. These are great in Kung Poa Chicken.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tortilla Press

It's hard to find Mexican ingredients and cooking utensils here in Holland. When I was in Mexico in March I didn't buy a tortilla press because I couldn't buy the flour that you use for corn tortillas here, at least that is what I thought. My sister was surfing the net last week, looking for something completely different and ran into the website of La Tiendita which offers all sorts of Mexican ingredients ranging from corn flour (for tortillas and tamales) to epizote, cooking utensils, beer etc.
The site is in Spanish only, but I used Babelfish to translate it for me, which gives some hilarious translations when you go to the chile and sauce section.
Anyway I placed my order for a tortilla press and 2 kilo of tortilla flour and little over a week later I received my package.
Tomorrow I'll be making enchiladas with homemade tortillas!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Smokey Potato Wedges

This is one of the side dishes I make for the ribs Smokey Potatoes Wedges. They get their smokiness from the chipotles (jalapeno peppers smoked with mesquite wood). The chipotles I used for this recipe I brought from our trip to Mexico last month and they are very nice, and have a good smokey flavor.

1 kg potatoes
olive oil

chipotle spice mix:
(this makes way more than you need for this)
1/4 cup sea salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 ground up chipotles (stems and seeds removed)

Mix the spice mix ingredients. I remove the stems and most of the seeds of the chipotles and grind them up in a coffee grinder that I only use for spices. You can leave more seeds if you want to spice things up. The left over mix you can store in a jar or ziploc bag in a cool dark place.

Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C)
Wash and scrub the potatoes, dry them and cut them in to wedges. The small ones in four pieces, the larger ones in to six, put the wedges in a bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2-3 tablespoons of the spice mix to the potato wedges, stir until all the wedges are coated with oil and spices.
Brush oil onto a sheet pan, because most of the oil on the potato wedges will be absorbed and they might stick to the sheet pan.
Place the potato wedges on the sheet pan and put them in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour, stir them around once or twice.

Serve them with your favorite bbq meat.

Barbecued Ribs

Since my weber WSMis on back order I did my ribs the way I do them most of the time, which is indirect grilling in my weber kettle. They are based on the First-Timer's Ribs recipe from Steven Raichlen's Raichlen on Ribs, Ribs, Outrageous Ribsbook.

Rub Ingredients:
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder

Mob Ingredients:
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce

Noskos' Sweet Hickory Smoke B-B-Q sauce (or any other smokey barbecue sauce)

You'll also need:
4 slabs of ribs
2 fist size chunks of hickory smoke wood

The night before remove the white papery membrane from the back of the ribs, this goes best with your fingers or a butter knife, once you have a little piece loose grab it with a piece of paper towel and tear it of. Wash the ribs under cold water and dry them with paper towel.
Mix the rub ingredients and rub this mixture into the ribs. Put the ribs in the fridge.

This is what they look like after a night in the fridge.

The next day prepare your barbecue for indirect grilling and preheat to 325-350 F. Take the ribs out of the fridge half an hour before they go on the barbecue so they warm up a bit. Put the chunks of hickory on the coals and put the ribs on (ribs side down or in a rib rack), close the lid and don't touch or peek for 45 minutes.

After 35 minutes I prepare my mob sauce, melt the butter in a pan, add the apple cider and the soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
When the 45 minutes have past open the lid of the barbecue and mob some of the sauce on your ribs. Do this again 15 minutes later and 30 minutes later.
At the 1 and a half hour mark put on the glaze and let it get sticky for 10 to 15 minutes.
Take the ribs of the barbecue, cover with aluminium foil and let them rest for 10 minutes.

Now your ribs are ready to cut and serve.

The glaze I use, I made myself because you can hardly find any bbq sauce here, I will tell you how to make it in another posting