TAHOE/TRUCKEE — With Paula Deen now ousted from The Food Network, I decided to really pull out all stops and reveal a couple of my best-kept secret recipes in hopes the executives at that fine station may read this column and consider me a contender for her former time slot.
Also worthy of note: I am working on my tan and the only bad word I use as a chef is “Nuke it.” Actually, that’s two words, and comes in very handy at times.
The rib marinade here is courtesy of Rick Rucker, good friend and manager of The Hampton Inn and Suites Truckee-Tahoe. In fact, I thought about calling it “Rucker’s Ribs.” Then, given the kick of the Maker’s Mark bourbon, I thought about calling it “Boozy Ribs.”
Seriously, do not eat one of these ribs and try to get past a DUI check point. Actually, as we all know, the alcohol burns off — as long as it really makes it into the sauce and not into the cook.
In the end, I have decided to call them what they really and truly are — “The Best Ribs Ever.” Doesn’t your family deserve the best this Fourth of July? Of course they do. And if not, there is always the leftover Maker’s Mark.
The Best Ribs Ever
2 racks of. baby back ribs or 4 lbs. country style pork ribs
8 tbls. chili powder
4 tbls. paprika
10 tbls. golden brown sugar
4 tbls. kosher salt
4 tsp. ground back pepper
4 tsp. smoked paprika
4 tsp. ground cumin
8 tbls. Marker’s Mark bourbon
2 cups canola oil
For the marinade, combine chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, bourbon and oil. Place meat in large baking dish or roasting pan and cover thoroughly with marinade. Let sit for 4 to 8 hours in refrigerator, turning ribs over once.
When cooking, set the grill for indirect grilling and place a large drip pan in the center. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to medium. Arrange the ribs on the hot grate, baste with marinade, cover/close the grill and cook for one hour, basting periodically. When the ribs have cooked for one hour, uncover/open the grill, baste again, and continue cooking; 30 minutes for baby backs and a little longer for spareribs.
Ribs are done when the meat is very tender (duh!) and the meat has shrunk back from the ends of the bone.
• You can find wasabe paste in your local grocer in the Asian aisle, or go directly to the sushi counter in the deli section and ask them for a small take-out serving.
4 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 shredded carrots
2 / 3 cups mayonnaise
1 cup rice vinegar
1 / 2 tsp. celery salt
1 tbls. wasabe paste
salt to taste
Optional: For a sweeter slaw use a little sugar to taste or, better yet, a pack of sugar substitute.
Toss cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
Pour the mixture over the cabbage and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly. Refrigerate until serving.
BBQ’d Butter Onions
3 large, round purple onions
1 stick butter
salt and pepper
Cut off root end of un-peeled onions, leaving a cone-type hole for the butter. Salt and pepper the onion hole and pack with butter. Double wrap in foil and bury, butter hole facing up, in hot coals.
Cook for 30 minutes, remove foil and serve hot. The outer skin will be black, so just peel it off and enjoy the rest.
Watermelon Basil and Feta Salad
1 small, personal size seedless watermelon, cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks
1 bunch basil, stems removed and finely chopped
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
Gently mix all together in large bowl, refrigerate about an hour before serving.
Corn in Husk, On the Grill
To cook your corn on the cob on the grill, simply soak the un-husked corn in water for a few minutes (I use the kitchen sink) then place directly on hot grill and cook for fifteen minutes, turning a few times while it is grilling.