Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ribs It Is

It's been at least 20 years since I barbecued ribs. Hard to believe. Back when we lived in Columbus, I used to do baby back's from time to time, but was never satisfied with the results. When we lived in Chicago, one of the world's great rib joints, Robinson's #1 Ribs, was just around the corner and it was simply easier to go there, or to our fall-back joint, Russell's, and grab a rack.

My daddy used to do ribs all the time on his pit and in all likelihood, ribs were the first bbq I ever had. But over the years I've grown partial to pulled pork, brisket and chicken, so I simply never had the urge to do my own ribs.

Until last Friday. Not sure what it was. Maybe I needed the challenge. I've been on the grill a lot this summer, but mostly for quick hits on burgers, sausages, dogs and chicken. But something was telling me it was time to test my grillmanship and burn a rack.

Off to the store on Saturday morning where I picked up a nice slab of spareribs. After trimming, I poured a couple of cups of apple cider vinegar and the juice of one lemon over them and stuck them in the fridge for a couple of hours while I prepared a rub and a sauce.

Here's the basic rub I threw together:

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup paprika
3 1/2 Tbl coarse salt
3 Tbl black pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp cayenne

After makinig the rub, it was onto the sauce. Again, just a basic, ketchup-based sweet sauce:

2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbl molasses
2 Tbl mustard
1 Tbl hot sauce
1 Tbl of the rub
2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp black pepper

Over a medium heat, bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

I also decided to make a cauliflower salad as a side. It's basically potato salad recipe using cauliflower instead of the potatoes to cut down on the carbs.

1 head of cauliflower
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 red chili pepper, chopped

Cut the cauliflower into florets and steam until soft (but not squishy). Let them cool to room temperature. Once cooled, chop the florets into bite-sized pieces and add to a bowl with the other ingredients.

Make a dressing of:
1 cup mayo
2 Tbl vinegar
2 tsp dry mustard

Mix the dressing in with the veggies and sprinkle some paprika on top. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put in the fridge for a couple of hours. It's not a dead ringer for potato salad, but is very tasty.

It was finally time to set up the grill for indirect heating. I placed an aluminum drip pan in the center, and when the coals were hot, placed an equal amount on either side of the pan and a cup of soaked hickory chips on each side.

I pulled the ribs from the fridge, rubbed 'em up real good and put them in the center of the grill, over the drip pan.

My first check came about 30 minutes in. I sprayed the ribs with some of the marinade to keep them moist, and I also put some foil under the tips because it appeared they were getting a little burned.

After an hour, I added a few more coals and chips to each side, plus gave the ribs another squirt from the sprayer.

I repeated the routine every 30 minutes while the ribs were on the grill.

After about an hour and 45 minutes, the meat was pulled back from the tips of the ribs. I gave the top a good brushing with the sauce and put the lid back on the grill for a final 20 minutes of cooking.

The shot at the top of the page was taken just before the ribs came in the house. There was more than enough to share with the other meat eaters who were home at the time. And even the cauliflower salad got solid reviews.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Earli Jimi on Night Train

Growing up in Madisonville, Kentucky in the 1960s, we were at the mercy of whichever TV signals could swim upstream far enough to reach our antennas. We received all the stations from Evansville, Indiana, which was 50 miles due north. And we received all the Nashville stations from 100 miles south. The Nashville stations I remember better because they produced a healthy slate of local programming.

No surprise that much of the local programming coming out of Nashville was music related. There were country music shows, gospel shows and there was the R&B showcase, Night Train from WLAC, Channel 5. I remember Night Train aired on Saturday nights, hosted by Nobel Blackwell. I was a pre-teen when I first saw the show, introduced to it by Brother Dave. We used to watch in particular whenever Ironing Board Sam was on. I was likely more attracted to the name than the music at the time.

A little while back I went on YouTube to try to find some clips of Ironing Board Sam. There are some clips, but what also turned up was the nugget above from Night Train. It features a duo named Buddy & Stacy performing a faithful version of Junior Walker's "Shotgun." But the highlight of the clip is a young Jimi Hendrix, in the background on the left, playing guitar.

This is reportedly Jimi's first recorded TV appearance. He had been stationed in the Army at Fort Campbell, Kentucky and after his discharge, he played in a number of bands in nearby Nashville. He left the area and played in New York, but returned to Nashville and, playing as "Maurice James" was a member of The Royal Company this night in 1965 when the show was recorded. He would have been 22 or 23 at the time.