Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em

With the warmer weather (leaving aside the inconvenient truth that it snowed today) comes the urge to light fires and char large pieces of animal on them, or at least let said slabs of flesh languish in hot proximity to the fire, bathing in the fragrant smoke until tender and orgiastically satisfying.

So on a lovely, sunny (if chilly) yesterday I got the smoker going and mixed up a batch of the magic espresso rub for a side of ribs. They went in the chamber for about three and a half hours, getting regular moppage with the even more magical tamarind-cider-tomato-maple-wine-soy-etc. barbecue sauce for which I am justifiably known in these here parts. To accompany, I made a couple of most healthy dishes: kale slow-cooked with leeks in bacon phở and whey (you know, like Grandma used to make) and black radishes cooked in beer with tamari. Both of these methods are highly recommended; whey especially is an underutilized cooking medium. The reason I have whey on hand will be the subject of a future post.

At the appointed hour (three being the very minimum required to get ribs tender) the picture above had been transformed by the magic of smoke, rub, and sauce into this Flintstonian masterpiece:

I cut them apart and put them on plates with the vegetables and the little bit of extra sauce left in the pot.

They were every bit as stroketacular as they appear. It had been an age since we had ribs, and absence made the heart very fond. These were actually made by request for the boy and the excitement was palpable:

I found a bottle of 2003 Beaux Frères Pinot, which was actually a decent match for this food. It’s not wine I like at all by itself (and don’t even get me started on its part-owner) but in this instance the fat, jammy, high-alcohol caricature of real Pinot Noir had what was needed to compete even a little with the insanely greasy and spicy ribs (some killer Japanese hot sauce went in this batch, too). Beer of course would be the logical choice, but if you have any luridly overblown Cali reds that need drinking, grab some pork, fire up the smoker and hit that spice rack like it deserves it.

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  1. March 21

    Oh my, so amazing. One of these days I’ll get around to posting how my yesterday went…nothing like yours. I LOVE the last picture, made me laugh! You have a super cute kid.

    How does your son handle the spice?

  2. March 22

    Alley Oop would be proud.

  3. March 22

    I think I would feel the same way as the boy. Ribs are always a beautiful thing.

    Bummer about the weather though. These would be quite a comfort though since spring has been such a disappointment so far and they’re telling us more snow is coming tomorrow!

  4. March 22

    It is officially time for me to make my smoker happen. I will consider this the proverbial foot up the ass.

  5. Peter
    March 23

    Mo: He is super cute. And he loves ribs; I’ve been gently easing the heat up in a variety of dishes and he’s been fine with it.

    Zoomie: They’re very primal. Gnawing on bones is highly satisfying.

    Rachel: Don’t get me started on the weather.

    Blanche: You would take it that way.

  6. March 24

    That’s such a cute picture! And ya, whey! It rules. You know, I would love to see your smoker set up one day, if I may be so bold. There’s some jelly in it for the boy.

  7. Peter
    March 24

    Sure, any time. I can send you a picture if that’s easier.

  8. March 28

    Do you have one on your blog? A picture would be good. I’ve got to read more before I barrage people with questions.

  9. Peter
    March 30

    Julia: I do, but I’ll have to find it.

    Sofya: Thank you.

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