Monday, February 27, 2017

Smoking Habit

Wes has taken up smoking lately, and it doesn't look like he's gonna quit.  It's sort of become an addiction, this whole barbecue thing.  I think I've eaten more barbecue in these few months than I've ever eaten in my life - it wasn't really something that I grew up with.  Going out for barbecue was pretty much limited to Pat & Oscar's, and my entire family of five would share a rack of ribs with pizza and bread sticks on the side.  The world of barbecue is a big one, and I'm only now learning to appreciate it all.  All of the effort that Wes puts into smoking his meats only makes me appreciate it more when we buy it, whether it's at a truck in Altadena or at Yelp's #1 restaurant in America in Inyo County, California.

One of the first things Wes smoked was a large filet of trout, drizzled with honey from the Dominican Republic, which Margaret brought back to us after her trip there.  The honey was locally made and repacked in reused glassware from the island.  It was so fragrant, with the infusion of pecan wood and caramelized honey, that Wes licked it when it came out.  We ended up making smoked trout dip out of it and ate it with Icelandic style rye crackers!

At the same time as the trout, Wes stuck baby back ribs on the second shelf of the smoker.  It took a bit longer than the trout, and when it was ready, we brushed it generously with a special cacao-based barbecue sauce from my summer 2016 trip to Ecuador.  Mindo is a rural part of Ecuador with a Bohemian vibe that is known for its cloud forests and its cacao plants.  I really enjoyed a cacao-infused meal after hopping into waterfalls and hiking there, and when I decided to bring home a jar of their cacao barbecue sauce, I hadn't seen Wes's whole barbecuing addiction coming.  In fact, he bought this smoker not long after I came back from that trip, so this jar of sauce was the perfect souvenir!  It went great with the ribs he smoked.

Wes also made two big ole beef ribs.  My mom always told me that food that was charred to the point of looking black was cancer-causing and no bueno.  But Wes is telling me now that it's really the correct way for barbecue beef ribs to look.  They need that "bark," apparently.  I think he was happy with how these turned out, I mean  he was babying them like crazy.

Recipe: Equal parts paprika,  garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Used Texas Pete hot sauce to adhere the ribs.  Used a mixture of hickory and pecan wood.  Smoked at 250F for 4 hours.  Took ribs out and wrapped them upside down (bone side up) in foil.  Cooked for an additional 2 hours wrapped.

He even made a beautiful rainbow carrot salad to go with the ribs, because he knew that I'd want something fresh to offset the heavy carcinogen-laden meat (jk).  So he shaved carrots lengthwise with a mandolin, tossed them in olive oil and Italian seasoning, and baked them at 350 for 15 minutes.  Then, we added radish and mizuna greens that we had from the farmers' market over the weekend.

Who knew that this random little smoker that somebody didn't want (Wes bought it brand new for cheap on Craig's List) would bring so much joy into our lives?

No comments:

Post a Comment