Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pico De Gallo

I've got a simple entry today, simple but delicious.  The Mexican condiment known as Pico De Gallo.  A few fresh ingredients is all you'll need.  The possibilities for Pico are endless, for this particular application, I made them for burritos and the extra for chips..... But there are plenty more options for which to use Pico.  To make it we need:

2 Large Tomatoes
1/2 Red Onion
1 Jalapeno (you can either use the seeds or not depending on how spicy you want it)
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 Large Lime
1 Cup of Cilantro (more if you really like cilantro, like I do)

Start with the tomatoes.  First quarter them then run your knife along the the inside so you cut out all the guts and seeds.  So you should just have the skins left.  Once you have done this to all the tomatoes, dice them and throw into a large non-reactive bowl. 

Next dice the onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  Again with the jalapeno, all the heat is in the seeds, so you can make the Pico De Gallo as spicy as you want with how much of the seeds go in.  Next add in the juice of 1 lime. A tip is to pop the lime in the microwave for about 5 seconds, it will yield more juice that way.  Then finely chop up the cilantro, throw it in the bowl and toss all the ingredients until well combined. Simple!

Again possibilities are endless, tacos, burritos, nachos, or just with tortilla chips and a corona. It is an extremely versatile condiment that tastes great and is extremely easy to make.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Smoked spare ribs

I just recently returned from a trip to memphis.  While there, i certainly ate my fill of bbq, B.B's, Rendezvous, Germantown Commissary, interstate, and central bbq (the best!!) just to name a few.  So with the taste of Memphis ribs still fresh in my mind, I wanted to make my own version to see how they compared.  Here's how they turned out:

First I started out with a simple sweet brine of:
1 gallon water
1 cup salt (pickling)
1 cup sugar

I brined three slabs of spare ribs for about 1 to 1 and a half hours.  Since ribs have much more surface area compared to other meats, shouler, turkey, etc, they do not need to brine as long.  So about 1 to 2 hours should be enough.  After brining, I put on my usual texas rub, same as in the shoulder and brisket.

Then put them onto a 230 degree smoker.  I usually use apple wood for ribs, but I was already smoking a brisket and use oak for that so this time the ribs were oak smoked, but given the choice I would prefer apple.  The ribs take about 5 hours depending on the rib.  The key thing is to look at the bones.  When the meat begins to pull away from the bone then they are done.  It isn't as exact as with brisket or shoulder that should be cooked to 195, it more touchy feely.

After the ribs are cooked to tenderness, you can either serve them as is, apply a dry rub on them (memphis style) or my personal favorite, glaze them with a sauce to caramelize the outsides.  This time I opted for the dry rub, since coming back from memphis I wanted to get the whole experience of dry ribs (referring, of course, to the seasoning not the juicy delicious insides of the ribs themselves) So I just added the same texas rub to the cooked ribs and served.  Simple.