rap music video. Or the time I decided to go to Mexico and compete in the Baja 1000 offroad race in a 1978 Volkswagen Beetle.....That last one actually hasn't happened yet, but I've got my eyes on summer 2012 (Love you Babe!)
I now know that she tells me these types of things when we're watching cooking shows so that I will go out and replicate the recipes for her to eat. At least, that happened this weekend.
Primal Grill is a show on PBS starring Stephen Raichlen. He walks you through all kinds of grilling, smoking and outdoor cooking with a focus on Barbeque from around the world. Now, like most cooking shows, there are usually many barriers between what you see him do on screen and what is practical for the Average Joe to do at home. There is some specialty piece of equipment that is critical to the process and costs three hundred dollars, or there is some key ingredient you could never find that is only available at midnight on a full moon in a village on an uninhabited island in the middle of Lake Michigan. It just seems to me that for all the food we see cooked on tv, hardly any of it ever actually shows up on the menu at any of our houses.
Well ladies and gentlemen, we here at the Jacked Up Grill are all about smashing through barriers. It was my goal when I started this site to show that untrained, average people (my face is next to the definition of the word "untrained" in the dictionary....because dictionaries have pictures....) could make food at home that is as good or better than you would get in a restaurant. So actually making a recipe we saw on tv was right up our alley. Turns out it just takes a few ingredients we didn't have, and a little determination.
The one that spoke to us yesterday was Raichlen's Shanghai Short Ribs. Short Ribs are all the rage these days in really fancy restaurants, and on high end cooking competitions like Top Chef and Iron Chef. Basically, short ribs are 4-5 inch long sections of flat rib bone with a cube of meat, fat and gristle laying flat on top. Like flank steak, which you see grilled often, it is a pretty poor cut of meat. However, they have lots of flavor, and with a little love, can be a real gourmet winner.
The meat needs to be cooked for a long time at a low temperature to break down the connective tissue so it can be tender, so Raichlen put his in the smoker. I just happen to have a smoker, so I did the same. If you don't have a dedicated smoker, these can be prepared on a charcoal or gas grill using indirect grilling. This means placing the meat over a drip pan beside the coals or burners instead of directly over them. If you don't grill, this can also be done in the oven for the same time at the same temperature. Here's how it goes.
To put the Shanghai in our Shanghai ribs, we prepared an Asian spice rub. The key ingredient was one barrier to cooking tv food. Chinese Five Spice is a mixture of clove, cinammon, white pepper, fennel and star anise. It basically smells like Christmas. How many of you have this in your spice rack? I didnt think so. Right there, this can be a reason to quit and eat Lean Cuisine instead. BUT I SAY NAY! Do like I did and go to Whole Foods (......I am in full blown stalker love with that place), and get a scoop out of their spice section. You can buy as little as you need (mine cost $ .50). I also picked up some additionaly white pepper which the recipe calls for ($.75).
1 tbsp Chinese 5 Spice
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp ground white pepper
Rub the ribs liberally, then put them in the smoker at 250 degrees for 2.5 hours until the meat has pulled back from the bone on the edges.
With about 15 minutes of cooking left, it's time to apply the Shanghai Barbeque Sauce.
Raichlen's recipe for this is a standard lesson in Asian flavors. But again, there is a reason to be intimidated and quit, but YOU MUST NOT QUIT! Hoisin sauce is a dark paste made from fermented soy beans. Mmmmmmmm sounds good right? Trust me, you've had it before in some Chinese dish or another and wondered what kind of crack they put in the dish to make it so addictive. Hoisin is that crack. Plus, it's cheap. Mine cost about three dollars for a whole jar. BUY IT.
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbsps rice vinegar (don't freak out, it's dirt cheap too. Any white vinegar will work though)
1 large clove garlic minced
1 tbsp ginger peeled and minced (if you're a wuss, just get dry ginger from the spice aisle)
2 green onions or scallions, minced
Mix all ingredients and let simmer for ten minutes on a burner.
Brush on the sauce with 15 minutes to go, and then serve the remainder at the table.
We dressed the ribs with chopped green onions and added some stir fried vegetables, and they were phenomenal. I think Pregatron felt connected to her primal inner cave woman while she was gnawing on those dinosaur sized bones, and I have a feeling I'll be getting more compliments on how uninhibited and determined I am the next time we see something that looks good to eat on Food Network.