Posts Tagged ‘barbecue’

Recipe For Oven Cooked Smoky Barbecued Ribs

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

We love spare ribs at home and have started eating them even more recently.  It’s the primaeval joy of chomping on your food while holding it in your fingers; something our kids truly adore.  In these straightened times, it is also great to use one of those cheap cuts of meat to create a delicious and fun meal, especially using a recipe that is really simple; food really must be fun rather than prim, proper and stuffy and that is why it always tastes better at home or in someone else’s house rather than a restaurant (or at least in my opinion).

Oven Barbecued Ribs

Oven Barbecued Ribs

And now that the nights are drawing in and you realise that there was no real summer this year, so you hardly barbecued a single thing, your mind can drift and dream of what might have been.  So over the summer, I came across this cheat way of making Barbecue-Style Ribs in your oven at home by Harald McGee via the Smitten Kitchen blog.  It makes far superior homemade ribs compared to recipes by the likes of Nigella Lawson.

The key to this cheat way of making smoky barbecued spare ribs is the slow cooking, which softens up the meat and breaks down the connective tissue in between the ribs.  Also, it is in the barbecue rub which is a good balance between sweetness and salty savouriness, plus through another cheat you can add back in the smokiness by using some smoked paprika from Murcia in Spain or smoked sea salt like Maldon Sea Salt, Anglesey Sea Salt or Steenbergs smoked salt from Denmark.  This gives the illusion of hours spent slaving over a hot fire.

Other than that, this is a really forgiving meal – you can pretty much play around with the seasonings as much as you want, and tweak the cooking times to suit your day.  For example, as long as you keep a long bake, you can turn up the heat to 110C/230F and cook it all in 4 hours rather than 6 hours without much of an impact, or you could change some or all of the paprika for chilli, even ground or flaked chile chiloptle to get in some more smokiness and intense bursts of chile heat.

How To Make Oven Barbecued Ribs

This recipe has been adapted from one in the New York Times by Harald McGee in two articles (29/6/2010 and 30/6/2010).

1kg /2.5lb spare ribs, cut into 2 equal sections
75g / 2¾ oz / ½ cup dark brown muscovado sugar
1tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt (you could use smoked salt here)
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground star anise, or China 5 spice
1 pinch ground black pepper
1 pinch ground coriander

Preheat the oven to 95C / 200F.

Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix together thoroughly.

Sugar And Spice For Spare Ribs

Sugar And Spice For Spare Ribs

Get two lengths of aluminium foil that are 3 times the length of the ribs as you are going to make this into 2 packets fully to enclose the spare ribs.  Place the ribs onto each piece of aluminium, centred horizontally but two-thirds of the way down vertically.

Cover the spare ribs throughly on all sides with the barbecue rub, rubbing in vigorously.

Ribs Rubbed With Spice Seasoning

Ribs Rubbed With Spice Seasoning

Now, make the aluminium foil into pouches: firstly, fold over vertically moving the ribs to ensure the ends meet, then fold the foil over a few times and flatten edges to give a good seal; secondly, fold the foil over lengthways once or twice (I like to do this twice as there always seems to be a small hole that gets into the foil, ruining the seal) and crimp the edges again to make a sealed pouch.  If you have got time, leave the ribs to marinade in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, otherwise move straight to the slow cooking part.

Ribs Wrapped In Aluminium Foil Pouch

Ribs Wrapped In Aluminium Foil Pouch

Place into preheated oven, then cook for 4 hours at 95C/200F, then turn down the temperature and cook for a further 2 hours at 80C/ 175F.

Remove from the oven, open the pouches, pour the sauce into a bowl.  Place the ribs onto a preheated serving plate and drizzle the sauce over the ribs and serve.

Barbecue Ribs Pouch Unwrapped

Barbecue Ribs Pouch Unwrapped

Recipe For Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

We have been asked for some time whether we could source a pomegranate molasses and I am nearly there on that.  One of our current suppliers, who is based in Beirut in the Lebanon, sent us a sample of Concentrated Pomegranate Juice which is the same thing as Pomegranate Molasses, or so I am told.  It has a lovely deep, licquorice colour and a sweet and sour, tangy sort of taste.  I thought that this would give a great flavour to barbecue sauce, being less acidic and tart than adding vinegar.

Here’s what I came up with, and it’s been tried and tested, and wolfed down, by two very appreciative children, who are the meanest and harshest food critics by far.  This is a less sweet sauce than the one I posted last month and I prefer it.


1½ tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
2tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp sunflower oil
2tbsp agave syrup*, honey or golden syrup/corn syrup
1tsp smooth mustard, ideally an English Mustard
1 garlic clove, chopped finely and crushed
¼tsp sea salt
¼tsp coarse ground black pepper
¼tsp paprika

8 chicken drumsticks

1.  Prepare all the barbecue ingredients and mix together thoroughly.

2.  Pour the Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce over the chicken drumsticks and leave to marinade for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Marinading Chicken In Axel's Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce

Marinading Chicken In Axel's Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce

3.  Put the oven on at 180oC / 350oF.

4.   Bake the chicken drumsticks marinaded in the Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce for about 30 minutes in the oven until crisp and cooked right through.  Enjoy immediately with potatoes and vegetables or a salad.

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

5.  If using to cook on a barbecue proper, mop the Pomegranate Barbecue Sauce over the meat in the last 30 minutes of the cooking time.  If you add it on any earlier, the flavours will be overpowered by the barbecue aromas and the tomato and sugars will go beyond caramelisation and burn to black cinders.

* I like agave syrup as I find it less sickly sweet than many other liquid sweeteners (even though technically it is sweeter than sugar), but you can use any of the other ones mentioned as they all give the same flavour profile to the sauce, plus caramelise decently while you are cooking the chicken legs.

Recipe – Sweet Barbecue Style Chicken Legs

Monday, June 21st, 2010

We are always looking for ways to liven up chicken to feed the kids – simple, tasty and quick & easy family food.  This recipe is something I devised for Sweet Barbecue Style Chicken Legs is so quick to make that our children both love to help to make it and then wolf it down when it has been made, making it into one of those really magic types of family food; and if you make extra, then you can take the remainder to work and eat as part of your packed lunch.  We actually just roast these in the oven, but you can barbecue them by part cooking them in the oven, then smoking them off for the last 10 minutes on the barbecue.

Flavour wise, this is honey sweet with a massive umami kick from the soy sauce, plus some savoury bite coming through from the Southern Fried Chicken Seasoning and grainy mustard.  I like to add beer or wine to the sauce to layer in an extra flavour to compound up the taste, but you could omit this should you wish. 

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks


10 chicken drumsticks (get the best quality you can afford as it really does make a difference)
2tbsp organic tomato ketchup
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2tbsp Fairtrade runny honey (this is quite sweet so you might want only 1tbsp)
2tbsp lager or white wine
1tbsp organic sunflower oil
1tsp Steenbergs organic onion granules (or quarter onion very finely chopped)
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced and crushed
1tsp Steenbergs organic Southern fried chicken seasoning
1tsp grainy mustard (I used a balsamic mustard from Edinburgh Preserves

1.  Put all the marinade ingredients together in mixing bowl and whisk together.

2.  Cut a couple of slices into each of the chicken drumsticks and place onto a roasting tin.  Drizzle the marinade over each of the chicken drumsticks and twist them through the barbecue marinade.  Cover and then put into the refrigerator for 1 hour to let the flavours infuse through the chicken drumsticks; if you remember, twist them through the barbecue marinade part way through the marinading time.

Chicken Drumsticks Marinading

Marinading Chicken Drumsticks In Barbecue Sauce

3.  Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF.  Roast for 30 minutes; try and twist the drumsticks after about 20 minutes.  If barbecuing, cook for 20 minutes in the oven then brown off over the barbecue.

4.  Serve immediately.  We ate ours with saffron boiled rice and boiled broccoli and runner beans.  You could leave to cool and then enjoy cold in a picnic or for packed lunches.

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Recipe – Barbecued Lamb, Rhubarb and Panna Cotta

Sunday, May 17th, 2009


Today I made one of my favourite meals, top bragging food.  It’s actually a really simple meal, but appears a virtuoso performance.  It does require a little bit of preparation and forethought, so is better at the weekend.  Typical for North Yorkshire, however, I was barbecuing outside in the drizzle while everyone else was dry and warm inside.


Barbecued leg of lamb


2kg       Leg of lamb – the highest quality you can find and on the bone

200ml   Olive oil

75ml     Lemon juice

Large bunch of fresh mint, chopped finely

Salt and pepper or Steenbergs Perfect Salt Seasoning


1.       The evening before the barbecue, mix the marinade and coat the leg of lamb with the marinade. Keep in a fridge overnight, basting before going to bed and several times during the following day.


2.       Prepare the barbecue. Take the marinaded lamb from the fridge, and place on a plate, leaving behind the marinade for basting later. Season the lamb with salt and pepper or Steenbergs Perfect Salt Seasoning and leave for a further 30 minutes.


3.       Barbecue the lamb for 1½ to 2 hours (depending on how cooked you want it), basting every 30 minutes with the marinade. Check that it is cooked to your desired level.


4.       Serve with yoghurt and mint sauce, new potatoes and a classic green salad.


Yoghurt and mint sauce


300ml   Plain Greek-style yoghurt

2          Garlic cloves, finely chopped and crushed

A good bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, or try Green Tea Salt


Mix all the ingredients together.  Play with the seasoning until it’s just right.


Stewed rhubarb and panna cotta


Stewed rhubarb


400g     Rhubarb

4tbsp    Granulated cane sugar

1tbsp    Dark muscovado sugar

1 glass Orange juice

2 glass  Red wine

1 glass Port

2          Cinnamon sticks

1tsp      Steenbergs vanilla extract


Chop up the rhubarb into small 2 – 3 cm lengths.  Put everything together into a heavy pan with the lid on.  Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 – 5 minutes and then leave to cool.


The panna cotta


400ml   Double cream

300ml   Milk (full fat)

8tbsp    Caster sugar

2          Steenbergs vanilla pods

4tsp      Powdered gelatine


1.       Split open the vanilla pods and scrape out the seeds.  Chop the split vanilla pods in half.  Normally, I suggest that you go for a Madagascan vanilla pod but today I used some delicious pods from the Congo on the border with Uganda – these had the classic rich, creaminess of vanilla with overtones of tobacco.


2.       Put the seeds and vanilla pods into a pan, together with the double cream and sugar.  Bring to the boil and gently simmer for 5 minutes.  Take out the vanilla beans and leave to cool.  While the vanilla-cream is simmering, add the cold water to a small pan and sprinkle the gelatine on top of the water and leave for 5 minutes.  While the vanilla-cream is cooling, warm the gelatine until clear.  Now mix the gelatine into the vanilla-cream.  Pour into ramekins, cover and chill for about 3 hours.


I made the stewed rhubarb and panna cotta the day before after I had started marinading the leg of lamb.

Wood-smoked food

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

We have just had a couple of really disappointing smoked meals.  We had been sent a couple of Smoker Bags, which are made by SAVU in Finland, to try. 

The concept is great: they are aluminium foil bags with a 3-ply system that supposedly keeps the smoke in the bag via a bottom layer in the bag that contains the hickory or alder wood chips.

Firstly, we tried the Smoker Bag for Poultry with hickory wood chips.  We seasoned some chicken thighs and legs with sunflower oil, some salt and pepper and put them into the bags.  We cooked them in the oven for 30 minutes and then took out the cooked chicken, eating them with some boiled new potatoes and steamed broccoli.  The chicken did not taste at all smoked and our house smelt as though someone had lit a bonfire in it, albeit using pleasantly flavoured sweet hickory wood.

Today, we tried the Smoker Bag for Fish which was used alder wood chips.  This time we cooked cod fillets.  I did not season them at all this time as I was slightly concerned that maybe the seasoning had interfered with the smoke flavouring of the chicken legs, but added a smidgeon of milk.  I cooked them in the oven for only 20 minutes.   We served the “smoked” cod fillets with mashed potatoes with steamed mange tout and baby corn.  While the house did not get smoked out, the end result was still a real disappointment with very little smokiness coming through into the end product.

Getting decently flavoured home-smoked food is really difficult.  We are often asked for organic smoked paprika but find it hard to come by; actually, it seems impossible.  The problem is the smoking process: you need to find an organically certified smokery that’s willing to have a crack at smoking the paprika; then you need to find someone who’s willing to take sufficient volume to make it commercially viable (around 500kg).  There are no willing takers for either!

Anyway, it’s given me an idea for a new spices blend that would bring together that smokiness without the need of a Smoker Bag or a barbecue.  I’ll use this as a way of explaining how we come up with new ideas (the good, the bad and the truly disgusting), but it may take a couple of weeks to finesse the blend itself.