One of my best friends of almost 30 years visited over the weekend. I’ve known her since elementary school, we went to high school together and lived together after college and although I haven’t seen her in 5 years, it felt like it had only been months. Whenever my we get together it is nothing but good ol’ belly laughs, smart-ass jokes and great conversations. Don’t you love that about good friends? We went on a nice run, got pedicures and otherwise just caught up over good food and drinks.
Once you have kids you know that it’s much more enjoyable to hang out at home versus trying to keep everyone happy a restaurant, but we still wanted to show her around a little. We decided to take her to our favorite pizza place, Vic’s Pizza in Olympia.
If you are ever in the Seattle/Olympia area you must come here. We love their sausage pizza which has flat sliced sausage (like pepperoni) instead of ground. It is delicious. Then we usually get half veggie.
On Sunday night we decided to cook in and enjoy this fabulous weather we’ve been having. We enjoyed homemade margaritas, football and good food! We had to bring a taste of Texas to our Texas girlfriend so we went with barbecue- smoked ribs, coleslaw, beans & baked mac and cheese.
We’ve made these ribs several times now and they are fantastic. I especially love making them because apart from making the spice rub, I can hand over the job to my husband. If you have a smoker you’ve got to try these. They are restaurant quality (even better)- so delicious. We had so much leftover food (including salads and chicken) that I skipped meal planning for the week.
Of course red meat, including ribs, should be eaten in moderation so I am filing this under my splurge-worthy category. The USDA’s food guide pyramid recommends 5-6 ounces of protein daily but there isn’t a specific recommendation re the amount of red meat to have each week. I recommend keeping red meat (including pork) consumption to two times a week and aim for other lower saturated fat protein options such as certain fish, chicken, turkey, beans, nuts and seeds.
Hope you are still having some lovely grilling weather like we are here in Washington! Have a great rest of the week!
- Use Stubb’s Charcoal (or other hardwood charcoal). Need (1) 15lb bag
- 8oz of mesquite wood chunks (enough to last one hour)
- Charcoal starter can
- Pork Loin Baby Back Ribs (I used 2 racks purchased at Costco)
- A few tablespoons vegetable oil
- Spice Rub (recipe to follow)
- (combine the following ingredients: makes about 1½ cups so you'll have plenty for next time or other foods you want to barbecue)
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons white sugar
- ¼ cup plus 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- ¼ cup paprika
- 2 Tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon ginger
- 1 Tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary (crushed with fingers) or use 1 teaspoon rosemary powder
- To prepare ribs, trim any excess fat, remove membrane (not required for babybacks), rinse, pat dry. Place some vegetable oil in a small bowl. Using your fingers, rub a little oil all over the ribs. Then sprinkle with ~1-2 Tablespoon of spice rub per side of each rack and rub it in with your fingers. Ribs should be covered but not caked with rub. Let ribs sit in the refrigerator for an hour if possible
- Using your charcoal starter can, bring your coals to a gray color and put into smoker or set to one side of conventional grill. Let temp rise to 225 degrees and keep it here. Do not let temp rise above 250 degrees for entire process. Recommend using digital thermometer in grill (we installed two extra dials because the gauges that come with the grill are usually inaccurate).
- Add ribs bone side down. Don’t let meat touch because this adds extra time the smoking. Don’t flip ribs, keep bone side down for duration. Smoke 3-4 hours. Try not to peek too much. Don’t open until the three hour mark if possible.
- Add 4oz (two nice chunks) of mesquite or hickory chunks to charcoal and let catch on fire (hickory gives less smoky flavor). Once chunks catch fire, pull off, waft to remove flame, and set to side of charcoal so it begins smoking. When smoke runs out, add another 4oz. Smoke for first hour only. Don’t over smoke (biggest rookie mistake)! If you can’t monitor the ribs, put in oven at 225 after smoking is complete.
- For baby back ribs, the ribs should be done in about 3-4 hours depending on size of grill. Use the “bend test” to determine when done by picking up the end of the ribs with tongs and let hang, the ribs skin should “crack” when complete.
- Once ribs are done, add a slather of Stubbs BBQ sauce on the meat side (top side) and crank up the heat to 400 degrees for 5 minutes to let sauce caramelize. Don’t burn or overcook here, be careful!
Questions: Anything exciting on your meal plan this week? I am going to do a fruit/veg fast one day this week. Care to join me. It’s from my health challenge which you can join up at any time! Do you have a smoker?
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