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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ribs Using Dry Rub

Kitchen Update: We are slightly behind our estimated completion of the kitchen tiling for this coming Tuesday. The tiling itself will be completed and grouted but the grout has to cure for three days before we can re-connect the stove and hook-up the sink.

I decided to do ribs on the gas grill Thursday. Ribs can be barbequed using a dry rub or sauce (wet) or a combination of rub and sauce. My preferred method is with sauce. The important thing with ribs is they should be cooked long and slow (low temperature). This keeps the meat tender and juicy. The second thing to remember is too not add the sauce too soon. Most sauces contain sugar that will burn if the heat is too high. Add the sauce about a half hour before the ribs are finished. This allows the sauce to caramelize without burning.

Rib Rub

Rubs are easy to make using herbs and spices. You can tweak and be creative combining your own or use a tried and true recipe. Pre-mixed, commercially prepared dry rubs but by far the best pre-mixed rubs you will find are available from the ribbers at ribfests. Be sure to read the label as some dry rubs contain sugar. I used Blazin BBQ Rib Rub bought from the Blazin BBQ ribbers at the Burlington Rotary Ribfest (2007). Ingredients in the rub are salt, white sugar, paprika, black pepper, lemon pepper, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and parsley. Note that this rub has sugar in it so temperature must be low.

Method: Place the rack of ribs on a sided baking sheet. Pour a generous amount of rub onto the ribs then rub in. Turn the ribs and repeat. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours. Heat the grill on low. If cooking on wood or charcoal, it will take 35 to 45 minutes to reach the proper grilling temperature. You should be able to hold your hand palm side down at cooking height over the coals for 5 seconds for low heat*. Add wood or charcoal and spread coals as needed to maintain the temperature. Place the ribs on the grill. Allow to cook until browning then turn and allow to continue cooking. Grilling time should be about 4 hours. A half hour before the ribs are finished top with a wet sauce or glazing sauce if desired.

* 4 seconds - medium, 3 seconds - medium high, 2 seconds - high

The Storm

The ultimate factor in outdoor grilling is the weather. From experience you need to have an alternative plan just in case. Such was the case Thursday as you can see from the wall of rain heading across the water. It took less than a minute from taking this picture when it hit. We have had a series of vicious storms going through the area but Thursday morning the skies gave no hint of storms. The ribs were ready to go on the grill but another storm blew in. It came in with a real furry complete with pelting rain, half inch hail stones and high winds. I thought it would blow over but it didn't. As Zeus and Thor fought out their battle once again I went onto plan B, thankful that the electricity was holding.

Cooking in Countertop Roaster

Since my stove is not hooked up I decided to do the ribs in the countertop roaster set at 200ºF. This appliance cooks a bit faster than either an oven or grill but the results can be just as good. I put ½ c of water on the bottom to prevent sticking. I let the ribs cook for 2½ then added about ½ cup of Diana's Gourmet Sauce (Western Smokehouse) on top of the ribs to add a bit of smokey flavour. Then I added red skin potatoes and continued cooking on low until the potatoes were cooked through. Red potatoes work nicely for this application because they stay firm enough to hold their shape well. Although this was a practical way for me to cook the potatoes the end result was delightful with the potatoes picking up just a hint of the herbs, spices and sauce.

Rib Dinner

The meaty ribs came out tender and juicy with just a little sauce. The rub added a nice nip bordering on spicy so the paprika was hot not sweet. The rub was just a bit saltier than I would have liked so I'm going to be working with the ingredient list to come up with a rub that is not quite so salty and a bit less heat as my husband doesn't like spicy foods with too much bite. The flavour was quite tasty with just a hint of smokiness from the sauce. The same effect could be achieved by adding a drop or two of liquid smoke to the water added to the roaster.

As any cook does when cooking, I had to taste. The reason for this is tasting along the way ensures you don't end up with an unbalanced food that is too salty, sweet, sour or spicy. This is very important when the food will be consumed by those who don't like a lot of heat in their food. Realizing the heat of the ribs was just borderline for my husband, I made a creamy cucumber salad to help tone down the heat. The key to this salad is the yogurt.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

1 whole cucumber
1 c plain yogurt
1 tsp Windermere garlic & onion herb mix

Peel the cucumber and slice. Place in small mixing bowl. Mix the herb mix into the yogurt. Pour over the cucumber slices. Mix well. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.

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