Smoke & BBQ Ribs on the grill

Every year I always say I want to invite friends over for a fall cook out. I really like the Fall season and grilling in it is just as awesome in my opinion. Last night was some chilly weather for a mid September day and I thought to myself, “Hey, self, let’s make some ribs, we don’t need to have a gathering to do it. And self, listen, we don’t need to do it at 12PM in the day. We can start at 7PM. It’ll be alright.” So, after a few drinks to quieten down my self’s voice I decided to also do it the hard way. Smoke & BBQ Ribs on the grill.

Actually with the 50* to 60* outside temp it was relatively easy to keep the temps under control at first. First 2 hours and 30-45 minutes stayed righ in the 250* spot. I prefer 225* but it was a tad bit of work to get the 250* to line up. Choking it more and/or letting off some pressure might have caused a more active temp adjustment process. So, 250*, little hot, but on my half hour checks and spritzes, they looked good.

At around the 2 hour 45 minute spot you start to realize why smoking and charcoal grilling is tough in cold weather. The grill temps drop fast when they do start cooling. Fast being a relative term. I already had a side chimney of charcoal ready to go for this low temp occasion.  I figured the ribs had another hour to go so I need those temps back up in the 250* range. However, I over estimated the new coals. The new temp was hovering right around 310*. Since I only had about an hour left, I grabbed another drink (yeh, a work night too) and just changed my check schedule to “every 10 minutes” or so. Turning and spritzing as needed. This increased door opening of the grill helped keep the “too hot” grill temp under control and helped ensure while the collagen is still converted to gelatin goodness is doesn’t get to hot and dry out or get too tough.

The finished product on the average 250* high temp of charcoal has its hard crunchy bits of goodness versus the normal “everything is soft and tender”. They cooked from 7:15PM to 10:45PM. But I like that crunchy goodness, as long as the inside is tender.

For a last second thought (I had them frozen for about a week WITH the rub already on them but they were in the fridge and just thawed out) this were damn good. There is NO BBQ sauce on these. NONE! I spritz them every half hour with a mixture of EVOO, Apple Cider, and white grape juice. Don’t knock it till you try it!  I didnt read that anywhere, that’s my own concoction.

I made a full rack to share for lunch at work the next day. But my son and I couldn’t stop eating the first half rack.

Like I said, they were pretty tasty.

Stuffed mushroom wrapped in bacon

Stuffed Mushroom wrapped in bacon, but first…a good friend who is the star bartender at Buffalo Wings and Beer in Gaithersburg (by the way,check their wings out frankenspammers! LINK for their site is HERE) saw a recipe for stuffed mushrooms wrapped in bacon and got all excited last Friday. Well  she brought that in today to make. Of course having the edge with a commercial kitchen she threw them in the broiler (I am guessing broiler) and, well, they were freaking good. Really dang good. Even with cheap cheese that separated in the shroom and cooked out some, they were actually very delicious. Not that they shouldn’t be, she’s high on the list of good cookers as far as I can tell. For being a 39 yr old woman, you’d think she has the cooking experience of a 50’something year old woman. When I was first listening to her exploits of cooking she mentioned that the syran wrap and aluminum foil boxes had tabs in them to keep the rolls in the box as you pull them out. I was like, “WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SORCERY YOU SPEAK OF?” rushed home and checked her babble out, and there they were. The tabs. Sigh. All these years, cussing…

Picture courtesy of thisweekfordinner.com

Anyway, I came home and realized I forgot to set something out for dinner. In my house that means hot dogs, meatless spaghetti, or veggie night! 🙂 As I threw some noodles in the water and some broccoli in the oven I thought to myself, “I have a bag of baby portabellas that need to be cooked asap. ooh and I have bacon. Ooooooooh and I have some cheese…” Oh game on, ready to completely wreck Linda’s winning mushroom concoction.

So, I threw a yellow onion, garlic and some butter in a pan. Got the onions nice and gooey then threw in some spinach.

Got that out when yummy looking and diced it up.

Diced up some, not all of the broccoli I had in the oven (EVOO, garlic, salt, and pepper) and then threw in some shredded Parmesan, manchego (oh man, so yummy), and a little bit of cheddar cheese.

Now if you haven’t already cleaned and de-stemmed those portabellas get to it. Now stuff em.

Now wrap em in bacon and stick em. (if you can remember, soak your meat sticks in water so they don’t burn up, hehe I said meat sticks)

Now I think the success to Linda’s mushrooms is, well, following the instructions HAHA. That and that delicious caramelized BBQ Sauce she brushed on the bacon. I did not put BBQ sauce on these as I couldn’t imagine BBQ sauce going with the ingredients I picked. Well, all my cheese cooked right out. All of it. Not a drop left. So here is a pic of the done product with the cheese completely coming out.

Not bad looking in my opinion. Smelled okay. I ate one. Pretty good, portabellas are just yummy, but I was bummed all the cheese had left the building. I gave one to the wife. She wasn’t too impressed either. No cheese. But again, not a bad appetizer.

So I topped one with a thin slice of manchego cheese.

Now we are talking. I liked it. Then it dawned on me. In me making the Smoked Cherry Sauce (LINK) I used a stick of Manchego cheese for my tasting stick. Pic from that recipe below.

So why not put some of that sauce on it?

Here they are dusted with Parmesan, which I didn’t like. BUT as usual, the sauce helps pick the product up. I like it. It’s the damn sauce. LOL By itself, that sauce doesn’t do much talking, but add it to something and it sings. My wife gives the final product 3.5 out of 5 stars, I’d agree, 3.5 out of 5. Linda’s basic white mushrooms with cheese sauce and good ole BBQ sauce was a solid 4 out of 5. It was the crispy BBQ. You just can’t go wrong with bacon and some crispy BBQ sauce. Sorry for the phone pics, the life of frankenspammers, rush home and start cooking, I ain’t got time for a camera.

All my cooking for the next week or two will be me detoxing all this pork fat out of my veins.

Smoked spam. Yes, you read that right.

Started the day off with throwing in some mustard rubbed ribs in the electric smoker at 225*. Lots of chores for today so no charcoal smoking for me, electric only. You have to babysit those charcoal cooks a little more. At two hours I wrapped these in foil and let them go for another two hours. After the 4 hour marked, turned them down to 100*. They were passed the point of tournament ribs by the time I went to sauce them and put them on the grill. Fall off the bone stuff.  haha A little dry in the thick spots, but good in a lot of other spots. I used the Smoked Cherry Sauce I made on one half rack and used a Pig (Mop) Sauce on another from a good friend who likes to cook as well. That Cherry sauce is better every time I use it. That mop sauce was strong but you can tell, it would shine with pulled pork.

I also made a chili. First of the season. I love experimenting (wrecking) chili’s about as much as I like experimenting with sauces. I usually avoid tomato based chilis, but this time I wanted to make a tomato based chili. Turned out a little too “tomato’y” for our likes and a touch of too much chili powder. All in all okay. I just tried it again after it has sat all day. OH yeh, like any good chili, it is getting better with time.

Hmmm, what else can we cook today?
DISCLAIMER: frankenspam has no affiliation with the product SPAM or its owners in anyway.

Let’s smoke some Spam! Oh Glorious Spam. But first, these words from our forefathers of Frakenspam.

Anyhoot, ALL joking aside, I put the spam in the charcoal grill with some hickory wood. Shhhh! Joking aside! This is serious stuff! Smoked it up pretty good with indirect heat and hickory wood for about 20-25 minutes then put it on the direct heat to begin the process of making crunchy spam goodness.

Then set it on the cutting board and stared at it in all of its glory. Okay okay, one little bite.

Put some of that Smoked Cherry Sauce on it and…

I am not going to lie, if someone was robbing my house while I was eating this, I might hold the door for them, but that’s about it. Smoked Spam and Smoked Cherry Sauce…uhm, yeh, what are you waiting for? DOIT!

Took a stab at French Onion Soup, but with beer!

Why is it called French Onion Soup anyway? French Fries, soup, is there anything of deliciousness they haven’t stuck their name in front of? Wikipedia says French Onion Soup is an onion based soup made from beef broth or beef stock. That’s interesting. So I have never made it from scratch and thought I’d give it a try Saturday. Or was it Friday. No it was Saturday. No, wait, I was…well dang it, eh, who cares. So I figured I’d try it, with beer and well, no freaking recipes. What could go wrong? haha

Throw some butter in the pan.

Get some onions cut up. I’ve heard they must be yellow onions. I didn’t have any. But I had Vidalias! I used 3 huge ones. What could go wrong?

Meanwhile, in a pot on medium heat, throw in 4 cups of Flying Dog Pale Ale. Not quite 2 cups per beer so I had to open a third beer and only use a little of it. Hey, there’s only a couple of reasons why you are allowed to drink in the morning and I figured this had to be one of them.

Throw a cup of water, one cup of Vegetable broth, 1 of those Knorr beef concentrated thingies in as well. Don’t forget to check on your onions.

Oh hell, let’s throw in a cup of red wine as well. Frederick Cellars isn’t open any longer, so this better be good soup. I wanted some garlic in this too so I cut up a couple…okay okay a few cloves and put them in the onions. Onions are about done so garlic went in a little late.

Oooh, let’s throw some honey in there too. haha

When onions are cooked down, throw about 2 cups of this crazy broth into them and get all the crispy goodness off the pan. Just like making a gravy. All the good stuff is stuck to the pan.

Now put everything into your crock pot and put on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8 hours. Stir occasionally.

Toast some french bread slices under the broiler. Put soup in a bowl, put your large homemade crouton on the soup and swiss cheese as a cheese topper.

It wasn’t bad. We didn’t have any good cheese or french bread so we used mozzarella and little french baguettes. I think I know what to do next time I make this. Wrecking recipes are all about learning what to do next time right? It was good enough I froze the rest after me and the wifey ate some. This is definitely a food item I will try to adjust again. Tons of potential on this one.