Welcome to the July 4th Foodie Friday, where great food is always on the menu.
Bandwidth and I are enthusiastic, year-round "smokers." We've smoked our way through pork, beef, fish, vegetables, and even fruit (peaches--sublime, exotic, hearty).
So when Schiffer Publishing Ltd asked us to review one of their hot new releases, Home Smoking Basics by Maria Sartor, we couldn't wait to get started.
In Chapter 1, you'll learn the basics--equipment, types of wood, and different ways to smoke (how about a wok?).
A peek inside our much-used Weber smoker.
We use a remote temperature probe (see below). It allows you to read the temperature from the comfort of your house, and it has an alarm that alerts you when the temp has deviated from the cooking range.
We've prepared two entrees today--one beef, one pork.
Smoked Short Ribs
If the angels have a smoker in heaven, they surely eat short ribs every chance they get.
There's nothing "short" about these ribs--they are meaty, moist, and fork-tender. When you add smoke, you end up with steak-on-a-stick (er, a bone). You can be proper and use a knife and fork to eat smoked short ribs, but you'll have to resist the impulse to dig in with your fingers.
Cooking Time: 5 to 5 1/2 hours
Serving: 1 rib per person (super filling)
What You Need:
2 slabs of whole ribs
oak wood chunks
1 part kosher salt
1/2 part ground black pepper
1/4 part chili powder
1/4 part onion powder
1/4 part dark brown sugar
Prepare smoker. Use a charcoal chimney starter and ignite the lump charcoal. 15 minutes later, add to smoker, along with your choice of hardwood. Meanwhile, mix dry ingredients and rub onto the ribs. Place ribs in the smoker on the top rack.
Maintain a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees F. in your smoker.
During the last hour of smoking, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil.
Remove from the smoker and let the meat rest.
Our second dish is...
Smoked Pork Chops with a Fresh Pineapple Compote
What You Need:
Smoker and oak wood chunks
charcoal chimney (starter)
1 can pineapple slices (Note: we used fresh--and they take a good bit longer to cook, so I'm not sure we gained much, flavor or time-wise.)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup water
3 tablespoons grainy mustard
4 (1 1/2" thick) pork chops
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 jar of fruit mustard.
Cut the pineapple into small pieces and bring to a boil in their juice, along with sugar and half of the water. Skim the foam. Simmer for an hour. Pour the pineapple compote into a bowl and cool. Add mustard. Cover and refrigerate (for up to 3 days).
Prepare the smoker. Smoke the pork chops for 3 hours. Remove from the heat. Brush compote juices on each chop. Serve with the pineapple compote.
Super easy and delicious!
How to describe another food that the angels surely eat?
Tender and succulent, with a just-right balance of sweet and sour.
A Note from Bandwidth (the biochemist) about the
Chemistry ("Chem Is Try") Of the Cook:
"When grilling or smoking, the actual chemical reaction of burning is oxidation. The most abundant compound in wood is cellulose (C6 H12 06).
"Sugar + Oxygen + Heat ---> Carbon Dioxide and Water
"But smoke contains well over 100 different compounds, one of which is nitrogen. N combines with air to firm NO2. Nitorgen dioxide is readily absorbed into the surface area of meats. This NO2 absorbs and creates HN)3 (nitric acid) or NO3, which in turn creates sodium nitrite. This final product creates the ever so desirable smoke ring."
Inside the book, you'll find a comprehensive guide to smoking, including some of the best tips we've seen.
Tips for adding flavor.
Thanks to Schiffer Books for providing a copy of the book. (All opinions are my own.)
The Cook's Resources:
*Note: Rattlebridge is not affiliated with any links.
I hope everyone has a fabulous July 4th!
Before let you go, I wanted to share a gorgeous Independence Day tree that my friend Judy Cox made for her office.
So creative and festive. I've got to have a July 4th tree next year!
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Every Friday, we are joined at this big, virtual table--thank you for stopping by today. I'm grateful to all of you who spend your days cooking. I'm grateful to old and new friends who contribute recipes every week. I'm grateful to friends who leave a comment. I'm grateful for the silent folks, because you are brought here by your love of all things culinary.
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Have a Safe, Food-Filled July 4th Weekend!