Dry-rubbed smoked spareribs with Kentucky-style black BBQ sauce
Smoked corn on the cob with chile lime butter
Yam and Yukon Gold potato salad with bacon and mustard greens
Skillet cornbread with grilled peaches, buttermilk ice cream, and smoked honey caramel
If anyone can throw down on ribs, it’s Jackson Rouse. As the chef at Smoq, Rouse routinely serves 270 pounds of St. Louis–style ribs and 200 pounds of baby back ribs on Saturday nights alone. There are as many styles of ribs as there are states in the nation, but the one ingredient they all have in common is patience. Succulent, love-me-tender ribs require low-and-slow cooking; anything else results in little more than charred meatsicles. Pre-boiling them is practically a sin in the church of authentic barbecue, and drowning them in sauce is another. Mopping means basting, and it’s better to do that later in the cooking process rather than earlier, when the sugar in the sauce will burn. Get yourself a beer or two, put on some smokin’ soul music, and seek some barbecue salvation.
Dry-Rubbed Smoked Spareribs
6 pounds pork spareribs (removing membrane is recommended)
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons ancho chili powder
1 Tablespoon paprika
1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons garlic powder
2 Tablespoons lemon pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 Tablespoons honey powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon espresso powder (such as Medaglia D’oro)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Rub mixture generously onto spareribs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or better yet, overnight.
Kentucky-Style Black BBQ Mop Sauce
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
Heat vegetable oil over moderate heat. Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and light golden brown. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes (sauce will thicken slightly).
Prepare outdoor grill for indirect heat, or preheat smoker to 225 degrees. When coals are gray and ashed over, place 2 handfuls of soaked woodchips directly on them. Place ribs on grate, bone side down. Cover and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, periodically adding more coals as needed. Baste with mop sauce, and throw handfuls of soaked woodchips onto coals every hour. Keep temperature from going below 225 degrees. Ribs are done when the rub has created a wonderful, crispy, blackened “bark,” and the meat has pulled away from the bone.
Smoked Corn on the Cob with Chile Lime Butter
6 ears of corn in the husk
1/2 cup serrano chile lime butter (recipe follows)
1/8 teaspoon ancho chile, or to taste
3/4 cup shredded cotija cheese
6 lime wedges
Chile lime butter
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1 Tablespoon finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lime zest
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced fresh Thai or serrano chile (preferably red), including seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
Stir all ingredients together in a bowl.
Prepare smoker to 225 degrees. Soak corn in husks in cold water for 10 minutes. Drain and smoke on a rack until husks are charred, about 20 minutes. Shuck corn and grill until kernels are browned in spots, about 7 minutes. While corn is grilling, grate cotija cheese on small teardrop-shaped holes on a four-sided box grater. Brush softened butter mixture onto hot corn and sprinkle with cotija and ancho chile. Serve with lime wedges.
Yam and Yukon Gold Potato Salad with Bacon, Mustard Greens, and Cider Vinaigrette
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 Tablespoons Creole mustard
1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
9 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
1 pound yams (red-skinned sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into half-inch cubes
6 slices bacon, fried, drained, and crumbled
10 large mustard green leaves, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
Salt and pepper
Whisk first 4 ingredients in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Steam potatoes until tender, about 8 minutes. Transfer to large bowl; toss with 1 Tablespoon dressing. Steam yams until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon dressing. Add yams, bacon, and mustard greens to potatoes. Toss salad with enough dressing to coat. Season with salt and pepper
Skillet Cornbread with Grilled Peaches, Buttermilk Ice Cream, and Smoked Honey Caramel
For those not inclined to make your own ice cream, Rouse recommends purchasing a pint of good quality vanilla bean ice cream, adding half a cup of buttermilk, and whisking with a wire whisk. Refreeze for one day.
Buttermilk Ice Cream
6 large egg yolks
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup chilled buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chill a medium-size metal bowl in freezer until cold, about 1 hour. Whisk yolks in another medium metal bowl, set aside. Combine cream, sugar, and salt in large saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Gradually whisk half of hot cream into egg yolks to temper; return mixture to saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until custard thickens and coats back of spoon, 2 to 3 minutes (do not boil). Remove from heat. Pour cold buttermilk into reserved chilled bowl. Strain custard into buttermilk; whisk. Whisk in vanilla. Chill mixture uncovered until cold, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours. Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer ice cream to freezer container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Smoked Honey Caramel
3 cups raw local honey
Prepare smoker at 220 degrees. Smoke honey for 4 hours until thickened.
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal (preferably stone-ground)
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups well-shaken buttermilk (do not use powdered)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
Equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet
Preheat oven to 425 degrees with rack in middle. Heat skillet in oven 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together dry ingredients in small bowl. Whisk together eggs and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Remove hot skillet from oven (handle will be very hot) and add butter, swirling skillet to coat bottom and side (butter may brown). Whisk hot butter into buttermilk mixture and return skillet to oven. Stir cornmeal mixture into buttermilk mixture just until evenly moistened but still lumpy. Scrape batter into hot skillet and bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
6 medium-size ripe but firm peaches, halved and pitted
Prepare grill to medium heat. Melt butter with brown sugar in small skillet over medium heat. Remove skillet from heat. Brush peach halves all over with melted butter mixture. Grill until tender, about 8 minutes, turning occasionally.
To assemble: Cool the corn bread in the cast iron skillet. Top with warm grilled peaches, then buttermilk ice cream. Drizzle with smoked honey caramel. Have spoons ready to serve family style!
A portion of this menu created by Jackson Rouse appeared in the July 2012 issue.
Photograph by Chris Smith
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