Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner

Last weekend we went to Vermont to escape the heat and do some serious relaxing. We brought up a bunch of stuff from the garden and some meat from the freezer so we were well provisioned, though that did not stop us from hitting the Saturday market and getting more food. That evening I went to town on all the bounty, and this meal was the result.

I had some slabs of lamb ribs that I was going to make into bacon, but then the idea of barbecuing them like pork ribs took hold so of course I had to do that instead. I made a sauce with tomato paste, maple syrup, vinegars, hot sauces, and some other random stuff (hoisin sauce, etc.) and let it reduce to a ribstickular viscosity.

I rubbed the meat with some dry spices: coffee, garlic, cumin, coriander, and pepper and popped them in a low oven wrapped in foil for an hour or so to soften up and flavorize. Then they went on the grill with lavish lashings of sauce. I also added chard stems and sauced them too.

The stems cooked quickly, getting a nice char on them. I made a funny about charred chard on the Twitter and nobody laughed.

I forgot the camera at home, so all these pictures were taken with my phone. They’re actually better than I expected; we’ve come a long way from the grainy shite of a few years ago. (Which makes me all the more amazed that people use Instagram shots on their blogs; why would you deliberately fuck up your pictures by adding all those awful eye-bleeding filters)?

These are chanterelles foraged by our neighbor. It had been quite dry, so our walks in the woods were pretty fungi-free, at least as far as edible varieties are concerned. I sautéed these with garlic and parsley, adding a glug of stock to add body and sheen to them once they were cooked. I also sautéed some eggplant, cooked yellow beets in lamb pho, and made a green mash with frisée, garlic, and mustard as a condiment. I sliced some red and purple radishes for a garnish. There were lots of flavors on the plate, but they all worked together. Unconventional, no doubt, but an admirable plate of summer grilling. The bones are going to make some serious stock in the near future.

8 comments to Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner

  • My lamb usually comes from a friend and over the years I have found them to be too fatty with little meat. I’m curious as to the meat/fat ratio in the ribs you made. I notice that you did the oven foil-wrap thing which I also do. But your grilled ribs look meatier than mine. They also look absolutely delicious. I like your sauce and dry rub combos. Thanks for an interesting post.

    • Peter

      Linda: They were pretty fatty, but also pretty meaty. Lamb fat doesn’t soften to the same exalted texture as pork fat, so it’s more noticeable.

  • Mem

    I love lamb riblets…your dinner looks great. HaHaHa for charred chard! :)

  • I’m in awe of your ability to write cute titles.

  • Chardy Char Char…

  • Everything looks delicious. Hope you found some cooler weather. One question, on the dry spices, you note coffee. Did you use instant, regular grounds or ? I made a tri-tip with coffee (the liquid), orange juice and a few other things and it was quite good. I’d like to try this. Charred chard… :) The chanterelles look wonderful.

    • Peter

      I used ground espresso, since that’s what I drink. I think instant might be awful. Liquid coffee is good in braises and sauces.

  • Thanks! Yes, I though instant would be rather vile. Think the only thing it’s good for is “antiquing” paper, lace or fabric :)

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I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

Rage Against The Vitrine

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