Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Recipe: How to Make Smoked Barbecue Beef Short Ribs

By Dru Chai

There is no shortage of options when it comes to selecting meat for a barbecue -- the grade, the cut, the source, the list goes on. I usually pay a visit to Costco or Restaurant Depot when I need to purchase meat in bulk to save on costs. For a more personal experience and wider selection of quality meats, I head over to The Butchery in Costa Mesa.

Needless to say, the Butchery is a carnivore's dream and a vegetarian's nightmare. They have just about every type of meat imaginable -- and they source most from quality, premier beef ranches such as Double R, 1855, and Snake River Farms. I had my eye on the dry aged steaks and the American Waygu ribeye, but it was the certified angus beef (CAB) bone-in short ribs that piqued my interest.

Typically, short ribs are cut in pieces so that it can be easily braised in a stew or grilled as "galbi" for Korean BBQ. This is sold at almost all grocery stores. I had never seen and uncut plate of short ribs, with three to five bones intact together. During my past visits to Texas, I was always in awe at the massive dinosaur sized short ribs at legendary spots like La Barbecue or Louis Mueller.

So I asked the butcher if they had an entire uncut plate of the short ribs, which I don't normally see at my local Costco or grocery store down the street. He disappeared in the back and came out with what I wanted! That is the best thing about going to a butchery -- you can ask for a specific cut (or uncut, in my case), and chances are that the butcher will oblige.

When I unwrapped the plate of ribs, I was in awe at the amount of marbling running through it. I honestly didn't think there would be this much fat. I decided to try to replicate the Texas style bone-in short ribs by applying a simple dry rub of pepper and kosher salt. I also used The Butchery house made smokehouse mesquite BBQ seasoning for an extra layer of flavor. I applied the rub liberally on each side, wrapped it up in foil, and let the ribs marinade overnight in the fridge.

The next morning, I loaded up my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker with chunks of hickory wood and stabilized the temperature at around 225 degrees F. I placed the plate of the ribs bone side down on the top rack, closed the lid, and went about my day as visions of juicy and succulent short rib danced in my head for the entire day.

Eight hours later, I checked the internal temperature at 195 degrees F and decided to take out the short ribs to rest and let the juices redistribute. Then the moment of truth -- I cut through one of the ribs and was in awe at what I saw, a beautiful cross-section of peppery bark, red smoke ring, pink smoked meat, and a massive layer of rendered fat running through the rib.

I took one bite and already put on my BBQ Certified Judging hat! The smoky flavor was subtle on the bark, but didn't quite seem to penetrate enough into the meat. It needed a pinch of sea salt to really bring out the beef flavor. The fat content for these particular set of short ribs was just too much. Everyone knows fat equals flavor, but only to a certain extent.

Smoked Barbecue Beef Short Ribs Recipe:

1. Buy a plate of uncut of short ribs from your local butcher (inspect, not too much fat)
2. Apply your favorite rub.
3. Marinate overnight in fridge.
4. Bring smoker temperature up to 225-250 degrees F.
5. Use wood that complements beef -- hickory, pecan, or oak.
6. Smoke ribs until internal temperature of 200 degrees F.
7. Take out ribs to rest and let juices redistribute.
8. Cut, eat, enjoy!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Product Review: Silverton Foods Apple Rum BBQ Sauce

By Dru Chai

Although most of the country is still dealing with Mother Nature's cold weather spells of rain, snow (even hail in Southern California!), it's never too early to start thinking about the start of BBQ season. Officially, it's always been Memorial Day weekend -- but who's keeping track anyway?

I've been whipping up new recipes, trying new products, and figuring out which BBQ competitions to judge. Recently I had a chance to try a few BBQ sauces from Silverton Foods. With unique flavors like Cherry Habanero, Apple Rum, and Orange Vodka -- I wanted to dig right in and figure out which meat to pair these sauces with.

Out of the three flavors, the Apple Rum sauce was my favorite because of the balanced combination of sweet, tangy, and juuuuust the right amount of spice. Because the sauce is more on the sweet side, it is the perfect complement with meats like chicken and pork. It would be great on a grilled chicken sandwich, a dipping sauce for chicken tenders or nuggets, wings, pork chop, and of course on spare or baby back ribs.

The same line of thinking can be applied with the other sauces too. They all lean on the sweet side, so I don't see any of the sauces as a good pairing with beef -- unless it's a lean beef cut that doesn't have that much fat and could use more flavor from a sauce. Think beef tenderloin. Pairing fruits with alcohol isn't a novel idea, but proper execution is essential. Silverton Foods does it well.

Dirty Smoke rating: 4/5 stars
Apple Rum sauce: Highly recommended
Check out the Silverton Foods website