Fire up those grills. The weather is fine, and the grilling is an easy way to cook meals.
It's just a great time for grilling whether the meal is a traditional meat, chicken or pork barbecue or grilled pizza or vegetables, such as asparagus, which is inexpensive right now at local markets. Remember, buying in-season produce is easier on the wallet, too.
Keith Solomon shares his rib sauce and rib rub for those baby back or spare rib lovers. Remember, baby back ribs are more tender but smaller. They come from the loin of the pig and because they are smaller, take less time to cook.
Spare ribs are much larger and tougher. They come from the belly of the pig from which bacon comes. These take longer to cook, but are worth it. As they cook, the fat breaks down resulting in fall-off-the-bone tender ribs.
"These are my go-to recipes for sauce and rub," Solomon said. "They're both good on anything, but they're fantastic on smoked ribs."
KEITH'S RIB SAUCE
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
3 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
Juice from 1/2 fresh lemon
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
3/8 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper
In a small saucepan, add the ketchup and the molasses, then using the same measuring cup add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and Tabasco, mixing it all around to make
sure all ingredients end up in the saucepan and are not left in the bottom of the cup.
Add the dark brown sugar and the cayenne to taste. Note: the cayenne will strengthen in flavor as the sauce cools, so it is wise to add a little less than you think is enough. Add the coarse black pepper and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to combine the flavors. Makes about a pint and a half of sauce that is excellent on beef, pork and poultry.
-- Submitted by Keith Solomon
KEITH'S RIB RUB
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup paprika
2- 1/2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
1- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1- 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
1- 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
In a large shallow dish, measure out the dark brown sugar and the paprika. At this stage, it is necessary to make sure all lumps are worked out and that the paprika is mixed evenly with the brown sugar. Note: Run ingredients through a blender or use a manual flour sifter to remove brown sugar lumps and produce a smooth mixture.
Once the mixture is smooth in texture continue to add 1 dry ingredient at a time mixing well and removing the lumps each time either with a fork. A pair of clean hands works well also. Note: It is imperative that you use the coarse ground black pepper and the coarse grain kosher salt to obtain the right texture (I like to put the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag and work out any remaining lumps once all ingredients are added together). Makes enough rub to coat 2 slabs of spare ribs. This rub also is excellent on beef and poultry.
-- Submitted by Keith Solomon
Brad Barrett of GrillGrate, a new grill surface company, shares how to make grilled pizza. GrillGrates are panels that are placed on top of any grill to form a new grill surface and are available throughout the United States.
Partially baked or fresh or frozen pizzas can be used on the grill. Pizza crusts in supermarket deli sections work well, too.
Barrett says to go easy on the heat.
"Pizza ovens may cook at 800 degrees, but you can't and shouldn't. Pizza over an open flame will burn and blacken well before the toppings are melted. Keep your grill surface below 400 degrees," he said. "At that temperature, you can grill for 15-20 minutes. So pile on the toppings and grill your perfect pizza. New grill surfaces make it even easier to grill pizza crispy brown while protecting the crust from burning."
Using indirect grill heat further protects the crust from burning and allows time to thoroughly cook the toppings, Barrett says. For gas grills, turn off a burner or two. For charcoal ones, he suggests building the coals to one side or around the edge.
What kind of toppings go on the pizza? Barrett says his family does everything from breakfast pizzas to dessert pizzas. It's all up to the griller's imagination.
Wanted: Mustard/vinegar barbecue sauce
"I'm hoping you or your readers might have a recipe for a mustard/vinegar-based barbecue sauce like the ones used in the Georgia-North Carolina region," said Bonnie Lingel. "On a day-lily garden tour, it was served in squirt bottles to use on pulled pork. There was no tomato in it, and it was delicious."
OK, readers, do you have a recipe for this barbecue sauce? If so, please send it to me.
A chocolate treat
I couldn't think of a better recipe than this death by chocolate tart from Pat Kerstetter of Gautier, Miss. She shared this recipe in a column several years ago. This is for all the chocolate and coffee lovers.
DEATH BY CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TART WITH ESPRESSO SAUCE
1- 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
6 tablespoons sweet butter
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick sweet butter -- cut into bits and softened
2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 to 1- 1/2 teaspoon(s) finely ground espresso coffee
Crush or grind fine chocolate wafers in food processor. Melt butter and blend into crumbs. Pat into tart or pie pan. Chill until firm before filling or bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes, cool and fill.
In a large saucepan, combine the chocolate, cream, butter and coffee-flavored liqueur; and heat the mixture over moderately low heat, stirring until it is smooth. Remove from heat; allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Pour into cooled tart shell and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
In a saucepan, combine cream, sugar and butter. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture boils. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in espresso grounds. To serve, spoon a moderate amount of warm sauce on a rimmed plate. Top with a wedge of tart. Yield: 8 servings.
-- Submitted by Pat Kersteter
Seafood stew recipe
"Could you please help locate a recipe for the seafood stew that was served at the Grand Casino in Gulfport, Miss.?" asked Gwenn and Joan Voights. "We can't remember the exact name of the restaurant, but it was delicious -- New Orleans style!"
The stew that the Voights want was a pan roast served at the Grand's New Orleans Bistro, and it was delicious. There are shrimp, crawfish, seafood and oyster pan roasts. Readers, if you have a good pan roast recipe, please send it to me.
Andrea Yeager, a freelance writer, can be reached at email@example.com. Send contributions to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535.