Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's on the Grill #246: Baby Back Ribs with Wasabi Balsamic Glaze

I love Canada.  This beautiful amazing country to our north is home to my favorite rock band, Rush.  My favorite Starfleet Captain, William Shatner, and my favorite griller, Ted Reader.  Speaking of Ted, let me tell you.  Ted is a machine.  His recipes are long, detailed and delicious.  Not only does he know his way around the grill, he knows it around the bar too.  In my book, that's double points.  However, if you are looking for a simple midweek, unplanned meal, look away.  Ted's grill creations take time and planning.  To me this is no problem.  I'll make the time for fabulous.

Ribs w/Bowl...again

As I flipped through Ted's King of the Q's Blue Plate BBQ, I happened upon a recipe I had not seen before.  I was immediately drawn to it.  I had to make it.  Although I did have to deviate from his blueprint, the awesome essence that is his Ribs with Wasabi Balsamic Glaze shown through.  I don't need ribs dripped in BBQ sauce and when I taste something sweet, hot and wonderfully good as these, I know why.  Up for some rib experimentation?  Then please dear reader, read on.

Baby Back Ribs with Wasabi Balsamic Glaze
Somewhat based on Ted Reader's Bison Ribs with Wasabi Balsamic Glaze 

1 rack baby back pork ribs
4 T red curry paste

1 t kosher salt
1 t cracked black pepper
1 t cracked white pepper
1 t mustard seeds
1 t coriander
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t dill seeds

1 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 T softened butter
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup apple jelly
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 T soy sauce
1 T prepared horseradish
3 t wasabi paste
1 t cracked pepper

Prep your grill for indirect medium heat.


In a medium sized pan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar to a boil.  Once there, allow to boil for several minutes then turn the heat down and simmer unit reduced by half.  (For the record, I have no idea what a 3/4 cup of hot balsamic vinegar looks like, so I keep a Pyrex measuring cup handy and pour the vinegar back and forth until it is level with the 3/4 cup line.  That, I can read.)  Once reduced, remove from the heat and set aside.

In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Then, add the onion and garlic.  Sauté until tender, approximately 2-3 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Add the salt to taste.

Add the reduced vinegar and bring the mixture back to a boil.  Stir constantly.  Once the sauce is think enough to coat the back of a spoon, remove from the heat and cool.



With a sharp knife, remove the membrane from the ribs.  Next, rub the ribs with curry paste.  Yes, you read right.  Curry paste.  How does Ted think of this stuff…I love it.

Curry Paste

 Next, sprinkle all sides with the rub.

Rubbing Ribs

Be sure to work the rub into the meat so it sticks.  I like my rub on the meat, not left over in the pan.

Move the ribs to the grill and grill indirect.  Plan on about a 3 hour cook.  

Horizontal Ribs

A good signal of "done" is when the meat begins to pull back from the bone.  


During the last 20 minutes, baste the ribs repeatedly with the wasabi balsamic glaze.

Glazed Ribs

For a side, I went with the never fail vegetable grill basket.  There really is nothing better.  Although it probably deserves a post of its own, the cliff notes version is to jam pack sweet potato, parsnip, carrot, rutabaga, rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a grill basket.  Put it on direct low for about 90 minutes with the occasional stir and voila, an instant grill kissed side of veg.  Lovely.

Grill Basket

For a beer, nothing else goes with BBQ better than something with big bold flavor.  In this case, "big bold flavor" is Stone Brewing Company's Smoked Porter with Chipotle Peppers.  

Stone Smoked Porter w/Chipotle Peppers

The spicy smokey finish is truly amazing.  If you can grab this at your local purveyor, I highly, highly recommend it.  It's one of my favorites.

So, with the ribs glazed, the vegetables grilled and the beer poured, dinner is served.

Ribs w/Veg

I could on about Ted's glaze all day, but hopefully you can find out for yourself.  It's brilliant.  It is also one more reason why ribs can be so much more than smoke and sauce.  They are a canvas for almost any idea, especially ones from the Great White North.  I wonder what Neil Peart would grill….

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

Cold asparagus…hot stone.

Asparagus on Stone

Bluefin tuna is back at my fishmonger…I love it just kissed with heat.

Grilled Bluefin Tuna

Sunday, June 24, 2012

4 Must Have Grilling Books…and more

Awhile back, a reader asked me for recommendations on good grilling cookbooks.  He was especially concerned with techniques.   This is a smart move, as with an understanding of grilling techniques, just about anything can be adapted to outdoor cooking, whether the cookbook is for the grill or not.  Here are some books, my thoughts and more:


The Barbecue! Bible

When I first started "really" grilling in the late nineties, Steven Raichlen's The Barbecue! Bible was just that, a bible.  I spent hours reading the book, flipping from this page to that marking recipes and ideas along the way.  Raichlen inspired me to take grilling to another level.  Although my copy is stained and dog eared, it is still a wonderful reference.  The only downside?  No photographs.  However, for this tome of knowledge, it is something easily forgiven.

How to Grill

Although I bemoaned the lack of photographs in the Bible, How to Grill made up for it in spades.  Even though the title sounds if though the content is basic and rudimentary, the material presented is anything but.  In great detail, Raichlen covers a myriad of gas and charcoal grilling techniques.  Documented with detailed steps and photographs, How to Grill presents dozens of recipes from beginning to end.  I bought this book for several people who recently bought new grills.  It's that important.  If you don't have it.  Get it.

Weber's Big Book of Grilling aka The Red Book

It's no secret.  I love Weber grills.  It is also no secret I love their cookbooks.  With the great work of Jamie Purviance, Weber's Big Book of Grilling was a book I really worked over.  Great recipes, mouth watering photographs and tons of instructional pieces.  It is still a book I go to.  The busted spine and sauce covered pages prove it.  I might add, later Weber books have continued to score.  Purviance, along with the wonderfully creative folks at Rabble + Rouser have done some pretty exquisite work.  

Ratio / Charcuterie

I'm not drawn to Michael Ruhlman because he's a fellow Ohioan.  Well, maybe partly.  Thruthfully, I'm intrigued by his wife's beautiful photography and his straight forward approach to food writing.  Yes, I've listed two separate books, but I can't go to one without the other.  Charcuterie is everything meat and I love it.  My love of curing and smoking bacon is planted firmly on Ruhlman's shoulders.  

Ratio was one of my first ebooks and for that matter, food iOS apps too.  Ruhlman breaks down the basics of sauces, marinades and brines to just that: ratios.  A quick vinaigrette for some grilled tuna?  Tweak the ratio.  Brining chicken?  Think of the ratio.  Almost everything is based on a ratio and Ruhlman highlights it all.  

As I mentioned, Ratio was my first ebook.  Although I love traditional cookbooks, I love my e-cookbooks even more.  Anymore, unless I cannot get a cookbook in electronic format, or if I happen to have a personal connection to the book, I get it on my Kindle app.  I love the portability, scalability and price.  There has been a lot of talk lately about this move.  My friend Mike at Dad Cooks Dinner  devoted an entire post on the subject.  I have to say, I agree with his findings.

It is no surprise Mike also published his first cookbook as an ebook.  If you have a rotisserie on your grill, I highly recommend picking up a copy.  His Rotisserie Grilling book is excellent.

Tech Grilling

Another reason I think ebooks are the way to go?  Evernote.  When it comes to bookmarking a recipe, making notes, planning posts or capturing the latest great beer I've tried, Evernote's multi platform application is the way to go.  For recording all of those moments in life, around the grill and beyond, I highly recommend it.

Finally, as I alluded to before, I like to go digital, but when the book has sentimental value, I will always go traditional.  Two great examples of this are recent cookbooks put out by "Internet" friends of mine.

Cynthia Nelson of Tastes like Home has been a frequent commenter here at Another Pint Please.  Although we've never met, and I completely missed her US book tour, I know for a fact she is an absolute sweetheart.  

Tastes Like Home

Hailing from Guyana, Cynthia's Caribbean Cookbook is simply exhilarating.  Packed full of wonderfully photographed dishes and recipes, it is a wonderful trip through a way of cooking mostly unknown to me.  I love it.

In the same category of recognition is Marissa McClellan's Food in Jars.  Hailing from the blog of the same name, I first "met" Marissa several years ago when she was at Slashfood.  She was incredibly kind to feature several of my pictures through her weekly "Feast Your Eyes" posts and to this day, I remain incredibly humbled by her recognition.

food in jars

Needless to say, I watched Marissa leave Slashfood with a heavy heart only to watch her simply take over the canning world with her new blog and most recently, first cookbook.  I've marveled at Marissa's canning exploits for some time.  If you have any desire to can, preserve or pickle, please pick up a copy.  Her photographs and recipes are simply superb.  

So, where was I? Oh yes, grilling cookbooks.  Well, those are at the top of the post and they are great.  If you've made it to the bottom, I hope you take up my friends to broaden your horizons.  Everything here is highly recommended and incredibly good.  Promise.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

What was originally a plan free weekend turned into a weekend jammed pack with friends, great cheer, fabulous group sourced dinners and perhaps…just perhaps, a little beer.  It was excellent all the way around.

Group Sourced Steaks

Two boneless ribeyes, two t-bones, one bone-in strip and one bone-in ribeye.  All different, because everyone brought their own.  That's part of the way spontaneity happens.  That, and launching little ones into space.


Finally, what would RWW be but without a beer shot.  Happy Wednesday, everybody!

Stone Glass, Cap, Bottle & Phone

Thursday, June 07, 2012

What's on the Grill #245: Fillets with Mushroom & Whiskey Sauce

While we were in England, I spent some time in a bookstore perusing but what else, cookbooks.  As my eyes worked their way across the shelves, I immediately zeroed in on a book title containing two words that strike within me a Pavlovian response: grill and pub.  

Those words were not the only thing that caught my eye and stimulated drool.  As I flipped through the pages, I found photo after photo of dark rustic food settings.  The imagery was amazing.  I loved it.  Then came the recipes.  It's pub food, but not pub food.  Straightforward, but different….at least to me.  It goes without saying, I snagged a copy.

The book was Grillhouse, Gastropub at Home by Ross Dobson.  I had one hand on the book and one hand on my wallet as I charged the cashier.  Sold.

As I walked out of the bookstore, I was fairly giddy.  Obviously.  However, one question alluded me.  Just who was Ross Dobson?  Surprisingly enough, Ross is from Australia.  England and Australia are inextricably linked.  For that matter, so is APP to New Zealand, thanks to the Crafternoon crew.  Long story short, although in England, the fact Ross is an Aussie didn't throw me.  It enthralled me.  Australia & New Zealand are simply amazing.  Case in point, checkout Helen's great blog, Grab Your Fork and follow any of the Crafternoon guys on Twitter or Instagram.

Ross has two restaurants and a handful of books under his belt.  I can guarantee after flipping through the pages of Grillhouse, I will soon be buying his barbecue book, Fired Up, too.

So, after all of this undulation…what do I grill.  Steak, of course.

Fillet Steaks with Mushroom & Whiskey Sauce (Or as Zoë says, the best sauce she has ever had)
Rather adapted from Ross Dobson's Grillhouse

sea salt
ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1 t dijon mustard
2 T butter
1 T olive oil

Mushroom & Whiskey Sauce

3 1/2 T butter
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 beef bullion cube
1 1/4 oz whiskey
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 t lemon juice
1 T flat leaf parsley

Season the steak with salt and pepper and let stand at room temperature for up to an hour.


For the mushroom and whiskey sauce, heat a medium size frying pan and melt the butter. 

Add the shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened.  Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.  Break up the bullion cube and sprinkle over the pan.  Stir.  Add the whiskey and cook for a minute, then add 1/2 cup of water and boil for another minute.  Stir in the cream, lemon juice and parsley and bring to a boil.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened.  Add a little salt and pepper to season and then set aside.

Now, Ross calls for grilling up a bread slice to add to the steak.  I totally omitted his step, even though I loved it.  Instead, I added the garlic mustard butter mixture as a baste to the steak.

To do so, place the garlic, mustard and butter in a small sauce pan. Cook over low heat until the butter melts.  Turn the heat down to low.

Preheat the grill to direct high.  

Oil the grates, then add the fillets to the grill.

Fire Below

Grill about 3-4 minutes and baste with the garlic butter mixture.  Flip.

Baste some more and grill another 3-4 minutes, or until the internal temperature registers about 125 degrees.  Remove and let rest for approximately 5 minutes.

Plate the steaks and top with the mushroom & whiskey sauce.  Serve.

Filet with Whiskey Mushroom Sauce

As I mentioned before, wow.  Simple, straightforward and as Zoë said, simply the best.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

IPA Hop-ology

IPA Hop-ology

Alright, hop-heads, rejoice.  Samuel Adams has released a limited edition variety 12 pack dubbed IPA Hop-ology.  As the name suggests, Hop-ology contains 6 different IPAs: Third Voyage, Dark Depths, Tasman Red, Latitude 48 IPA, Whitewater IPA and a new release: Grumpy Monk.

IPA x 6

Indeed, IPAs are one of my favorite styles.  Last year's Deconstructed 48 was a real treat and all of the latest Single Batch series (Third Voyage, Tasman Red & Dark Depths) have been stellar.

The latest edition, Grumpy Monk, is a belgian ale reinterpreted as an IPA.  

Grumpy Monk

As Belgians do, Grumpy Monk poured with a thick head.  On the nose I could smell dough and clove.  As I took my first taste, I immediately thought "Belgian" - sweet malt, a little more clove - than as it continued, the IPA took over and a piney, spicy, citrusy finish wrapped things up.  I would call the reinterpretation a success.

I checked Kroger today to see if I could land some more, but alas, nothing.  I'll have to go to Plan B tomorrow.

NB: After being gone on a long holiday, the mail is one of the last things I want to check.  Bills don't exactly wrap their arms around you and say, "Welcome home, friend.  We've missed you."  Wait, I take that back.  Bills do wrap their arms around you, albeit it's your neck.  So, when I found my good friends at Boston Beer provided me with this IPA Hop-ology pack to try out, I couldn't have been more pleased.  It was nice to have an unexpected friend in the mail.  It made returning home that much…"hop-ier".