Rum and Coke Ribs

Ingredients

The Meat:

  • 2 large racks of pork ribs

The Marinade:

  • 1 generous cup of rum
  • 2 cans coca cola
  • 10 oz tomato ketchup
  • 1-2 Squirts of tabasco Sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbls hoisin sauce (find this at your local asian supermarket)

Directions

1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl, then place the ribs in a plastic or glass dish and cover with the marinade.

2. Refrigerate overnight.

3. Set up your BBQ for indirect cooking. You are looking for a medium-low heat here, so be careful not to overcook it.

Tip:
If you are using a charcoal grill, it is recommended to leave at least half of the fire bed free of coals.
If using a gas grill with a lid, turn for example your left burner on and cook towards the right hand side.

4. Place the ribs in a heavy roasting pan and place on the cool part of the grill.

5. Close the lid, and cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes. Baste the ribs every 20 minutes with your marinade.

6. Add more coals to the fire or turn up the burner so the grill is medium hot.

7. Remove the ribs from the pan and place directly on the grill grate.

8. Cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until caramelized and lightly charred.

9. While the ribs are cooking, place some of the marinade in a saucepan on the grill, bring to a boil and reduce by half to serve as sauce with the ribs.

10. Enjoy, with your favorite beverage!

Tangy, Zesty BBQ Lemon Chicken

 

 

This recipe is not a breaded lemon chicken recipe that you might expect from your local chinese restaurant. It is a fantastic zesty marinade. Low calorie too, if you’re into that type of thing. The calories come from only the chicken breast itself and the olive oil to marinade it in.

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice, preferably freshly squeezed.
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, preferably light olive oil as it has the highest smoke point, avoid extra virgin which has the lowest smoke point.
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken in a bowl. Set aside about 1/3 cup of the marinade that you will use to baste the chicken while it cooks. Add chicken to the bowl, and place in the fridge for 30 mins.

Start up your BBQ, and preheat on high until it is nice and roasty. Discard marinade, and place chicken breasts directly on the grill. Cook for 6 or 7 minutes on each side, until fully cooked. Baste occasionally with the marinade you reserved. The internal temperature should be about 165 degrees or the juices run clear. Chicken breast can easily dry out, so be careful not to leave it on too long. Enjoy!

Spicy Blackened Catfish

This recipe is spicy and delectable. Catfish is the perfect choice because of it’s firmness and general all round good taste. Make sure to get the freshest fish you can, to avoid that “fishy” smell that some people find offensive. This fish recipe comes from the guys at Slap Ya Mama Spices and Seasonings, and has been a fantastic way to use their seasonings. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS:
  • 6 Catfish Fillets
  • 1 Stick of butter (8 Tbsp.)
  • ¼ Cup White Wine
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun Seasoning to Taste
  • “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun Pepper Sauce to Taste

DIRECTIONS: Wash your fillets in cool water and set aside. Butter Mixture: Melt butter in a bowl and add the juice of one lemon and mix well. Dip your fillets in the butter mixture then generously “slap em’” with “Slap Ya Mama” Cajun seasoning on both sides.  Heat a black iron skillet or sauce pan until it’s very hot.  Place the fillets in the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes on each side while moving the fillets around to prevent sticking.  Remove fillets from skillet and remove the skillet from the burner.  While your skillet is still hot, pour the butter mixture and the white wine into the skillet and mix well.  Then pour the mixture over the fillets and serve. Source: Slap Ya Mama Recipes.

Grilled Avocados and Other Audacious Vegetables

We know that barbecuing and meat go hand and hand, while vegetables are kind of an afterthought. Thrown somewhere in between the quest for a bloody steak and a cold beer. That guilty feeling of neglect for my body has inspired me to test out a few barbecued vegetables.

 

 

1. Grilled Avocado

While avocado can be great on almost everything, grilling up halves of avocado was something I wouldn’t have expected to be so good. The smoky taste from the grill seems to match perfectly with avocado. Who would have thunk it? Highly recommended.

When ripe, an avocado has pale yellow to gold flesh and a delicate, sweet, nutty flavor. It should be just starting to soften. About as firm as the tip of your nose, rather than soft like your cheek.

How to cook: Slice avocados in half, remove the seed and brush each side with olive oil and lime juice. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes. If you like you can fill the hole with salsa or sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro.

 

 

2. Asparagus

While asparagus is quite often seen on a barbecue, I think it deserves a mention, purely because of how great it is. Asparagus must be purchased locally. Asparagus starts turning starchy straight after being cut.  It should be eaten as soon as possible, preferably the day it is cut.

How to cook: Break the bottom of the asparagus off to remove the woody part. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Place perpendicular to the grill so the spears don’t fall through the grill. Cook for roughly 3 or 4 minutes over a medium high heat. They should still have a bite to them.

 

3. Garlic

Rather than mixed in marinades or fried, roasting heads of garlic whole on the barbecue is fantastic. Simply cut off the root end and roast garlic indirectly for 30-60 minutes with the lid down, until the cloves are soft. To eat, squeeze the head of garlic onto bread, food, or just about anything.

4. Onions

Roasted onions are delicious and combine well with the garlic above. When they are quartered, they take about the same amount of time to cook as the garlic heads.

4 Ways to Out-Grill your Neighbor

Here are four ways to prepare your barbecued food. The tips are simple, but should be considered essential to properly grilling food. Once mastered, they will improve your ability to cook barbecued meat beyond mere mortals.

 

1. Salt your food properly

It is given top-spot in this list for a reason, and probably the most important tip for any form of cooking. Meat needs a lot of salt, probably a lot more than you normally use. Probably a whole lot more. Be generous and experiment. It makes an enormous difference to barbecued meat, and enhances seasonings and the charred flavor enjoyed by any grill lover.

 

2. Use freshly ground pepper

Like any spice, preground pepper loses it’s flavor, and particularly it’s aromatic properties, very quickly. I would recommend you try preground pepper and freshly cracked pepper side by side, the difference is huge. Be generous with pepper as well, you don’t need to be subtle when you barbecue.

3. Spice Rubs

Spice rubs add lots of flavor, you can really let out your creative beast. Same deal here, use whole spices and grind them as late as possible. Food should be spiced strongly and with much gusto to balance the grilled taste.

 

4. Glazes and Sauces

Glazes and sauces are great, and the sweetness does a lot for the charred meat. Just make sure not to make the Cardinal Sin of Glazes and Sauces – putting it on too early. Because of the sugar content it is very easy to burn the glaze and you end up with a sticky burnt mess. Glazes and sauces should only be put on the meat at the end of cooking, such as the last few minutes, or when the meat is taken off.

3 Quick ‘N Easy Quesadillas on the BBQ

 

Always a popular appetizer, don’t the fancy name put you off, quesadillas are just tortilla sandwiches. And as we all know, sandwiches are quick, easy, and versatile. Your choice of fillings is only limited by your imagination (and what your taste buds can handle).

The technique couldn’t be simpler: Fill the tortillas, grill for a few minutes to brown and melt the cheese, cut into wedges, and eat.

Here are three ways I like quesadillas. These combinations are delicious, but don’t hesitate to change them in any way you want. Experimenting is all part of the fun.

 

Combination 1 – Avocado, Bacon and Cheese Quesadillas

8 Flour tortillas
1 Cup shredded cheese
2 Tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 Avocados (make sure they are ripe!), sliced into thin wedges
8 Bacon slices, cooked and roughly chopped
2 Tablespoons toasted cumin seeds (seeds are ideal but you can use a couple of teaspoons of ground cumin instead)
16 Fresh cilantro sprigs
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combination 2 – Smoked Meat, with Pineapple, Jalapenos, and Green Onion Quesadillas

8 Flour tortillas
1 Cup cheese
4 Pineapple rings, thinly sliced
1/2 Pound smoked meat (duck, beef, pork, venison, chicken, etc)
2 Jalapenos, diced
1/4 Sliced green onions, green and white parts
1/4 Fresh oregano, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Combination 3 – Shrimp, Corn and Tomato Quesadillas

8 Flour tortillas
1 Cup cheese
1 Tomato, diced
1/2 Pound cooked shrimp, diced
1/4 Cup corn
2 Tablespoons Coriander seeds (seeds are ideal, but you could use a couple of teaspoons of coriander powder instead)
1/2 Cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the grill to medium to low temperature.

2. Lay four tortillas on a baking sheet and put the ingredients from the combination you are using on them, in the order listed. Top each of these with another tortilla and press down, so that it all stays together (it helps if the mixture is a little wet).

3. Carry the quesadillas to the grill using the baking sheet and carefully transfer them to the grill. Cook until the bottoms are crips and the cheese is melted. Approximately 3 minutes. Then turn them over (carefully!), cover and toast the other side.

4. Cut into quarters and serve on their own or with some tasty salsa

Grilling Fish: 4 Simple Rules

Four simple rules to keep fish from sticking to the grill

1. Clean

Make sure your grill is super clean. Any residue will cause the fish to stick.

2. Preheat

Preheat the grill until it is very hot before putting the fish on.

3. Coat

Coat the fish very thinly with oil before cooking.

4. Leave it

After you set the fish on the hot grill, leave it there! Don’t move it for at least a couple of minutes. This will give it time to sear and separate from the grill. When you do move it, wiggle it carefully and then roll it over.

Cooking Shish Kebabs the Right Way

Ah, Shish Kebabs. Many people’s memory of a shish kebab is an incongruous combination of uncooked vegetables and tough chewy overcooked meat. Whether it is a flaccid bit of zucchini or the escaping tomato, there are many ways do shish kebabs wrong, which is why they have a pretty bad rep. We were determined to find a way that is both pleasurable to eat, and doesn’t require a lot of fluffing around. I tried a number of different techniques from my disturbingly large collection of cookbooks as well as online, and we found a lot of recipes but none that really satisfied all our criteria.

The main problem with shish kebabs is that the meat cooks much faster than most vegetables. This makes your vegetable choices actually quite limited. We had the best results with bell peppers and onions. They cook at a similar rate to lamb and the combination suits perfectly. We tried using a rub on the kebab, but because the meat cooks too quickly, it leaves an unappetizing taste and texture. However, marinades work fantastically.

Basic Grilled Shish Kebab

  • 2 and 1/4 pounds of lamb (preferably leg of lamb – shank end), trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion (preferably red), cut into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 3 medium bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces

Step 1.
Combine lamb and your choice of marinade (see below) in a large bowl or plastic bag for as long as you can (minimum 2 hours or preferably overnight).

Step 2.
If using wood skewers, pre-soak at least 30 mins in advance so they don’t catch fire.

Step 3.
Start preheating the barbecue.

Step 4.
Thread each skewer in this order:

1 piece of meat
1 stack of onion (about 3 layers)
2 pieces of pepper

Repeat to fill your skewer – ending with a piece of meat.

Step 5.
Grill the kebabs uncovered until meat is browned all over. Cook for roughly 7 minutes for medium rare but this will vary depending on how hot your grill gets.

 

Shish Kebab Marinades

Both of these marinades simply need to be processed in your food processor until smooth. Enjoy.

Rosemary and Mint Marinade

10 large mint leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 tablespoons juice from a fresh lemon
4 garlic cloves
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper

Parsley Marinade with Ginger and Spices

1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1 jalapeño chile
2 tablespons fresh ginger, grated roughly
4 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper

4 Easy Steps to Fantastic Shrimp

BBQ Shrimp

1. Prepare Shrimp

Rinse the shrimp in some fresh water, and you’re done.

Leave shrimp intact, don’t peel them. The shell protects the meat from overcooking. Leaving the shrimp in their shells not only looks better, but retains the moisture in the meat. Shrimp are the ultimate finger food, which is why you need to rip them apart with your fingers as you eat them. It sounds barbaric, but well, you are eating cooked meat – why not enjoy it?

2. Brine

Brining shrimp takes about 20 minutes.

Pour 1 quart of cold water into a gallon size zip-lock bag. Add two tablespoons of salt. Stir.

Add about 2 lbs of shrimp into the bag, and leave to sit for 20 minutes.

Sometime soon might be a good time to turn your BBQ on to heat up. The barbecue should be on high.

After 20 minutes, drain and rinse the shrimp thoroughly. I recommend you devein your shrimp as it can often give the shrimp a disturbingly gritty texture. To devein while keeping the shell relatively intact, cut the along the back with scissors after brining, and pull out the vein.

3. Coat with a Marinade

Just a couple of tablespoons of olive oil are enough to cover the shrimp.

My current favorite marinade for shrimp:

  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Just combine in a bowl and mix with the shrimp

4. Cook

Cook the shrimp on high for about 4 to 6 minutes. Turning the shrimp once during the cooking process. This is going to depend a lot on how hot your grill is, and how big the shrimp are. The easiest way to tell if they are ready is when they are barely charred, and bright pink. Enjoy! It’s about time I went to the store to pick up some more shrimp.

Brining for the BBQ

Last time I wrote, I posted about Tips about BBQing Chicken. Number 2 on that list was about brining. I received some questions after that post about brining, and I thought it would be worthwhile elaborating on it. So here goes..

First things first, a brine is essentially a salt bath. It marinates the meat far more efficiently than a typical marinade.

In case you are still curious about the process of brining, Wikipedia says:

Brining makes cooked meat moister by hydrating the cells of its muscle tissue before cooking, via the process of osmosis, and by allowing the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked, via the process of denaturation.The brine surrounding the cells has a higher concentration of salt than the fluid within the cells, but the cell fluid has a higher concentration of other solutes. This leads salt ions to diffuse into the cell, whilst the solutes in the cells cannot diffuse through the cell membranes into the brine. The increased salinity of the cell fluid causes the cell to absorb water from the brine via osmosis. The salt introduced into the cell also denatures its proteins. The proteins coagulate, forming a matrix that traps water molecules and holds them during cooking. This prevents the meat from dehydrating.

Did you get all that? Basically brining allows you to quickly and efficiently add more moisture into your meat, and creates juicier, more delicious grilled meat.

Sounds great right? But too good to be true? Well no.. kind of. The only caveat is that you need to be really careful with cooking. Meat quickly overcooks, and I’ve found you really need to keep an eye on your thermometer for the first few times until you have more experience with the cooking. After a few times cooking brined meat though, you will quickly understand why brining has become one of my goto BBQ techniques. Really do give it a try.

Here is our basic brining recipe again:

Simple brine recipe:

  • 6 tablespoons of salt
  • 1 quart of cold water

Dissolve salt into water in a gallon zip-lock bag. Add chicken, remove air and seal.

Make sure to use a deep dish, as you want to make sure that the meat is completely submerged.

Typical Brining Times:

Food Brine Time
Shrimp 30 minutes
Whole Chicken (4 pounds) 8 to 12 hours
Chicken Parts 1 1/2 hours
Chicken Breasts 1 hour
Cornish Game Hens 2 hours
Whole Turkey 24 hours
Pork Chops 12 to 24 hours
Whole Pork Loins 2 to 4 days