bbq, grilling, perfect ribs, smoking at home, smoking meats

Up in Smoke–Just the Photos

There was to be a long post and grand celebration of the Missus buying a grill. Four of the past seven days have produced meals grilled outside. Just this week I’ve grilled more times than I’ve had the chance to in the past 10 years.

I’m in love with cooking outside, being able to use the fruit wood chips that I purchased for Charcutepalooza’s smoking adventure(even though I’ve basically ditched the May project for a few reasons) and learning a completely different skill set for this cooking medium. I’m smitten and smokey.

And I can thank the “Barbeque Whisperer” for the recipe for these 6 hour smoked ribs.

bbq, homemade tacos, korean bbq tacos, pickled onions, pineapple salsa, pork belly tacos

Korean BBQ Tacos

It all started with a chile pepper. This chile, in fact. The pasilla chile. It met with left over pork belly, one of the beneficial things of doing Charcutepalooza is the fact that you have a few cuts of pork on hand on any given day. Combined with watching too many food shows on the Food Truck craze, it made for an aching desire for unconventional tacos. That desire–and Google–lead me to the Steamy Kitchen and her recipe for Korean BBQ Tacos .

The recipe was modified and ended up being something like this:

For the Kogi BBQ Sauce

2 tablespoons Korean fermented hot pepper paste (gochujang) **I used one dried pasilla chile, pureed with 4 cloves of garlic instead

3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil

**I also added two tblspn of minced lemon grass and two tblspn of ketchup.

Whisk all ingredients together until sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth. You can make this a few days in advance and store tightly covered in the refrigerator.

I pickled some red onion

1 pound cooked pulled pork, cooked shredded chicken **I used my favorite pork belly recipe, adding a garlic, oregano seasoned salt to it.

**I made a pineapple salsa with grilled pineapple, red onion, cilantro, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt.

**I crumbled Ricotta Salata cheese on top, in place of Cotija.

A little on the acidic side but very, very satisfying. The true highlight was the bbq sauce, which I think I’ll be slathering on some wings the next time I make them.

bbq, food ignorance, skinny cart bbq

Curb Side Cart Style BBQ

I am going to claim ignorance here: I know not a good plate of BBQ.

Growing up in NY, Dinosaur BBQ in Rochester, was the best known in the area and sat a few hours west. What we had was OK. There may have been a red sauce slathered on top of chicken or ribs but it was not the BBQ that will cause fist fights across state lines in the south. What I grew up with, and what many still call BBQ, was grilling. Because I never enjoyed the sickeningly sweet bottled sauces my family bought or that our neighbor made, I never really got into liking ‘BBQ’.

Since moving to Maine, I’ve been to two places over time: Buck’s Naked in Freeport and Norm’s East End Grill on Middle Street. Both were nice, though Buck’s was preferred because of the option of adding sauce to my liking. However, I walked away none the better versed on things from the world of char.

So, when Kate and I decided to grab lunch at Ron’s Skinny Cart BBQ I had no preconceived notions or expectations. And, when you visit the barely-hanging-on-shack

you leave it all at the window. Ron is an animated man, a nice wink and a smile with every word that flows from his mouth as he quickly heats, slathers, stuffs, wraps and hands over your sandwich. The bottles of water and cans of soda hang out in brightly colored buckets dangling under the day’s menu and hours.

Luckily, just behind the parking lot next to Skinny Cart, there sits a log that nicely subs for a bench. And you’ll probably need to sit to eat this because it’s not an easy sandwich to dig into.

You have two options:
Attack it quickly and with generous napkins
Eat is slowly and wear it broadly on your clothing.

Lightly charred, but gorgeously pink, beef is more than generously doused with a homemade sauce, added bacon and caramelized onions. While the meat and onions were great, the sauce reminded me a bit too much of that dreaded childhood BBQ. A hint too sweet and a bit too heavy with the black pepper, I would have liked about half of the sauce that was there. After having the sandwich that I brought home for her, which included a horseradish mayo that I would have loved to have tried, the Mrs. echoed the issues with the pepper of the sauce. But, for the both of us, this doesn’t dismiss the fact that it was a damn good sandwich, especially for the price.

Cart side dining on Washington Ave.

Skinny BBQ Cart on Urbanspoon