Monday, November 19, 2012

Joe's Award Winning BBQ Rub

This is the best rub recipe that I have used. It comes from one of my dad's best friends who got it from an ex-girlfriend who got it from some crazy BBQ pit master down in Texas. He apparently won many a BBQ competition with this rub recipe. I have used it on chicken, beef, and pork, and it works great. I have two ways of using it that work best.

The first one is to use it on a pan-roasted ribeye. Bring a ribeye (preferably bone-in) out and let it come to room temperature. Generously rub the steak on both sides and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before cooking it in a cast iron skillet and then finishing it off by roasting in a very hot oven.

The second application is on a pork tenderloin. Rub the whole tenderloin and then BBQ it on a charcoal grill and serve with mango salsa on the side. AWESOME!


1 Cup Kosher salt
1 Cup Cave white sugar
1/3 Cup paprika
1/3 Cup chili powder
1/3 Cup black pepper
3 Tablespoons garlic powder

Mix all ingredients well and place in a sealed jar. Keep in your pantry. I like using a glass canning jar.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Filipino Ribs with Ginger-Plum BBQ Sauce

Sunday I had my parents over for dinner and decided on some baby back ribs that I had down in the freezer. Elaine was able to pick up three racks of ribs for over 50% off the price. At that point, you have to buy them. I do like ribs but I am not a "rib junkie" like some other people out there. I wanted to try a recipe that was different but good. So I decided on this one, which is out of "The BBQ Bible" by Steven Raichlen. If you have not heard of "The BBQ Bible", seriously check it out next time you are in a book store. It is probably my favorite cookbook because it has so many different recipes from around the world and I have yet to try a recipe that has been bad in the book.
I have made the ginger-plum BBQ sauce before, and it is to die for. Especially on pork and chicken. The ribs have two preparation methods: marinating the ribs, then applying a rub before cooking on the grill. First, remove the tough skin membrane on the back of the ribs with a sharp knife and the handle of a wooden spoon. Slide the wooden spoon through a cut and lift the membrane up. Then tear the membrane off. You may also want to try a pair of pliers to remove the membrane; the pliers offer better grip. After you remove the membrane, make the marinade:

This recipe is for two racks of ribs.


  • 1/2 Cup soy sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 2 inch piece of ginger, minced
Combine all ingredients in a Cuisinart or blender and blend until mixed and almost past-like. Find a large pan that will fit the ribs and marinade. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in a refer for at least 8 hours. I used a hotel pan I acquired...

Once the meat is in marinating, prepare the rub.


  • 2 Tbl spoons mustard seeds
  • 2 Tbl spoons coriander seeds
  • 1 Tbl spoon cumin seed
  • 1 Tbl spoon fennel seed
  • 1 Thai hot chili
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbl spoon Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 Tbl spoons brown sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small grinder and process into a powder. I use a coffee bean grinder that I have just for grinding spices and it works great - plus, they're cheap. Once you have the rub made, put it in a bowl and set aside until the meat is done marinating.

Now that the rub is prepared and the meat is marinating, you need to make the BBQ sauce.


  • 5 ripe plums, pitted and cut up
  • 2 Tbl spoons minced ginger
  • 2 Tbl spoons minced garlic
  • 1 stick lemongrass (if you can find it)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Combine all BBQ sauce ingredients in a pot and cook for 30 minutes. Once the plums have cooked, put them in a Cuisinart and blend to puree the sauce. The sauce is now ready.

Once the ribs have marinated for long enough (8 hours or so), take them out of the marinade and rinse the marinade off of them and pat the ribs dry. Take the rub and coat the ribs, rubbing the rub down into the meat with your fingers. Once the rub is applied, set the ribs aside to come to room temperature while you prepare the grill. The grill should be set up for indirect grilling, with charcoal on the sides and a drip pan in the middle of the grill like this:

The ribs will need to cook for about 2 hours or so and should be almost falling off the bone. You could also cook these ribs in the oven, covered at 300 for about 2 hours but the taste will not be the same as the grilled version.

Here are the ribs, resting before they are slowly devoured and digested...

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Sorry for the long delay in between posts!

Over the past two years, I have been hearing more and more about the cut of meat called the Tri-Tip. Come to find out, it's popular on the west coast, predominately in California where there is the "Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip". It is also a difficult to find the cut on the east coast. The Tri-Tip is the bottom area of the sirloin, which is near the hindquarters (I love that word) of the animal. So when I was at my neighborhood grocery store and saw one of these babies in the beef section and on sale, I had to pull the trigger. Now how do you cook this triangle-shaped cut of meat with a large, beautiful fat section on one side? I immediately went to the old stand-by: the cast iron skillet. This skillet in particular hails from the town of Chewelah and was my great grandmother's. My grandmama used it and now it has come to me, which I think is really cool. Especially because the seasoning on it is incredible!!!
I decided that I would do a southwestern-style Tri-Tip, meaning that I would put on a dry rub and let the steak sit for a good 4 - 6 hours at room temperature. The rub that I used was "Joe's Rub", which will be posted after I receive his permission...I don't want to get rubbed out over someones secret rub recipe. So, I applied the rub and brought the steak to room temperature and let it sit...

I also had another bridge to cross: since this meat is being roasted in a cast iron skillet, there are going to be great pan drippings for a sauce! Since the rub was Southwestern, I decided on a chipotle-shallot sauce.


  • 2 chipotle chilies in Adobo
  • 2 Tblspn. butter
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 1 - 2 Tblspn. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 stock
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • salt and pepper

Now that the steak has sat for a few hours with the rub and you have everything prepared, it is time for the moment of truth: Browning the steak and then into a very hot oven to roast. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, oil the cast iron skillet, and turn up the heat and heat skillet until the pan is almost smoking. Put the steak in, fat-side down into the skillet and let it brown for about 4 minutes. Watch it though because you do not want it to burn. Turn the steak over with tongs and brown the other side. When the steak has been browned on both sides, roughly 4 minutes per side, take the pan and put it in the oven with the rack in the middle. Set the timer and roast for about 20 minutes or until internal temperature has reached 120 degrees for medium rare (I cook EVERYTHING on the rare side).

Once the time is up or it has come up to temperature, take it out of the oven, remove the steak from the pan and put it on a platter. Cover it tightly with foil and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Now you can make the chipotle-shallot sauce. Put the same skillet over medium-high heat and add the butter and let it melt. Add shallot and garlic and cook 2 - 3 minutes. Coarsely chop the pepper and get a little sauce from the can as well and add it to the pan with the shallot and garlic and continue to cook. Dust the garlic, shallot, and chipotle with the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook this for another 2 minutes or so. Add the stock and continue to cook until about 1/2 the stock has reduced, then add the cream and reduce that as well, by about half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The gravy should taste a little spicy and rich  and should look something like this:

Un-tent the the Trip Tip and place it on a cutting board.

Cut the Tri-Tip into thin slices and serve with the sauce drizzled over top of it.

Something good to go with the Tri-Tip is a poblano chili gratin that I made up. I layered Yukon Gold potatoes, roasted pablano chilies, and Jack cheese, added salt and pepper, and then poured about 3/4 cup of cream over it and baked it in the same 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. This is what it came out like:

Unfortunately, I do not have a final picture because it was so damn good that we ate it all!! I made this one up in my head and I have to say that is was one of my personal top three of all time. My wife agreed. Try a Tri-Tip and you won't be disappointed!!!