Ever since the Texas BBQ ”Extravaganza”, Brandan has desperately wanted to make ribs for his turn in the kitchen. Can’t say I blame him. Having the opportunity to play with fire and enjoy a tasty, carnivorous barbecued meal? Sounds like a great time to me!
However, when he made this decision, I forgot to ask him what he wanted to prepare to accompany the ribs. So this week, I called him on the phone to discuss it.
Me: Brandan, what would you like to serve with your ribs?
Brandan: Ummm…..shrimp! No, grilled catfish! Noo….shrimp.
Me: Sweetie, let’s choose something that’s not meat or fish. We need some sort of vegetable…
Brandan: Corn. Grilled corn.
Me: Okay, sounds good. What about something like potatoes, or rice, or potato salad, or beans…
Brandan: What about that egg dish? You know, the one with the creamy stuff and kinda sour. Like we had at the BBQ.
Me: Do you mean potato salad? Your Grandma Chambers made a potato salad with mayonnaise and mustard and lots of hard-boiled eggs…
Brandan: Yeah. Why can’t we have shrimp too?
As you can see, the boy likes his protein. While we didn’t have shrimp (trying to keep costs down), we did have quite an enjoyable meal. Trying to improve upon my pork ribs from the Texas BBQ, we opted to put a rub on them an hour before smoking, rather than the previous night, and wrapped them in foil for the final two hours of smoking. Both changes were in an attempt to make the ribs even more moist and tender. In fact, they were. My favorite aspect of their flavor, however, was the smokiness. A beautiful layer of pink penetrated the exterior of the rib meat, providing that smoky, succulent flavor I was after. Delicious.
We also prepared a version of my mother’s potato salad. Creamy, with just enough mustardy tang, it’s a delicious, comforting, simple accompaniment to any barbecue. (I had two helpings.) The corn was simple as well - we shucked the ears and broke each in half. Placed each ear onto a piece of aluminum foil, along with a pat of butter and a bit of salt and pepper. We then wrapped each half-ear in the foil and grilled for a few minutes.
The verdict? Over dinner, the kids were having a discussion, trying to rank each component of the meal, from most to least favorite. Since everyone had seconds, (and there were a few thirds!) I figure we can consider this a win for Brandan.
For the ribs:
5 lbs pork spare ribs
approximately 1/4 c barbecue rub
About an hour before smoking, sprinkle rub on ribs and press into meat. Set up smoker for indirect heat with water pan. Smoke ribs for 3 hours, keeping the temperature of the smoker at around 250 degrees. Pull ribs from smoker and cover with aluminum foil. Place ribs back in smoker, and smoke for another 2 hours. Remove from heat and tent with foil for 5 minutes. Cut ribs apart and serve with your favorite barbecue sauce, or ancho barbecue sauce. Serves 6-8, depending on the meatiness of your ribs.
For the potato salad:
5 medium red potatoes
5 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 c mayonnaise
2 T yellow mustard
1/2 red onion, diced
2 T dill relish
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of paprika
Boil potatoes until tender, about 20-25 minutes. Drain water and allow potatoes to cool. Peel and cut potatoes into 1-inch dice. Add potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, onion, and dill relish. Gently mix until incorporated. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika, and mix until incorporated. Serves 6.