May, 2012 Newsletter — The Memorial Day Issue
A short stint over a hot fire caramelizes the Onion Marmalade Barbecue sauce on our beef ribs.
Memorial Day is our favorite holiday here at Kalamazoo because it marks the official beginning of the grilling season. People all over America gather around the grill to enjoy good food and good company. We offer you a menu worthy of the holiday: Crisp Wedge Salad, Barbecue Beef Ribs with Onion Marmalade Barbecue Sauce, and Spiced Sweet Potato Fries.
Crisp Wedge Salad
The Wedge Salad is a popular staple at steak houses, but it rarely makes an appearance at home. That makes it all the more special when served at your barbecue. Crisp and cold iceberg wedges are joined by creamy blue cheese, fresh tomatoes and a slice of grilled bread. Dressing it all is a sweet and creamy vinaigrette. If you like, add crumbled bacon for a BLT Wedge Salad.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for grilling the bread
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 6 thin slices country bread
- Fine sea salt
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, cold
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced
- 3 to 4 ounces good quality blue cheese, crumbled (I use Maytag)
Prepare the grill for direct grilling over a medium-hot fire.
Whisk together the first three ingredients until the mixture emulsifies and the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate until use.
Brush the bread slices with olive oil on one side. Season with sea salt. Grill the oiled side of the bread until nicely marked but still soft, about 2 minutes per side.
Slice the head of lettuce into six wedges. Rinse clean and pat dry. Remove the core from the base of each wedge.
Plate each salad by first laying down a slice of grilled bread. Add a wedge on top. Sprinkle with tomato slices and blue cheese. Re-whisk the dressing and drizzle it over the top. Serve immediately while still cold.
Barbecue Beef Ribs
Beef back ribs are a nice change of pace from the more typical pork ribs. They can be prepared in nearly identical fashion, but our beef ribs are first hit with our flavorful Not So Basic Barbecue Rub and then glazed with our Onion Marmalade Barbecue Sauce. The result is sweet and aromatic with a little spice and a great texture from the “bark” on the outside of the ribs.
About 200 cubic inches wood chips (small bags of wood chips are sold by volume rather than weight)
6 pounds beef back ribs, silver skin removed
1/2 cup Not So Basic Barbecue Rub
If using smoking envelopes (learn more about smoking techniques), soak half of the wood chips for at least 1 hour. Prepare 4 smoking envelopes.
Brush the meaty side of the rib racks with olive oil and then sprinkle liberally with Not So Basic Barbecue Rub on the one side only. Use your fingers to rub the seasoning into the meat. Let rest at room temperature while you prepare the grill.
Prepare the grill for indirect grilling at 250ºF with wood smoke. (On a Kalamazoo K750H Hybrid Fire Grill, you will use one main burner set to medium or low to achieve this temperature and wet wood chips in the drawer above to create the smoke.)
Start the wood chips smoking in the hottest part of the grill. Place the beef rib racks on the grill surface away from the heat source with the seasoned side up. Close the grill hood and cook at 250ºF for 3 1/2 hours. Do not open the grill hood more than you need to. Add fresh wood chips once every hour to maintain the smoke.
By this time, the meat should be pulling away from the bones. The ribs should be fully-cooked and tender. Brush the seasoned side of the ribs with Onion Marmalade Barbecue Sauce. Close the hood and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes. Brush a little more sauce onto the ribs and then transfer them onto the hottest part of the grill with the sauce side down. (Turn the burner to high if cooking on a gas grill). Quickly caramelize the sauce for 2 or 3 minutes depending on the grill’s temperature. A couple of small burnt areas of sugar will add character to the ribs.
Spiced Sweet Potato Fries
Roasted sweet potato wedges are healthier and much more flavorful than your average fry. Ours are crispy on the outside and kicked up with a little Asian five spice, cayenne and sugar. The spiced ketchup is perfect for dipping.
4 large garnet yams
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon Sriracha (Thai chili hot sauce)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon Asian Five Spice blend
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Place the yams in a large pot with enough salted cold water to cover them. Put the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the yams are tender enough all the way through that they pierce easily with a fork. Total time from cold to cooked should be about 45 minutes, but this will vary based on your pot and your burner. Drain the hot water and refill the pot with cold water to halt the cooking. Reserve the potatoes until time to grill.
Stir together the ketchup and Sriracha. Reserve.
Combine the sugar, cayenne, five spice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slice the yams lengthwise into 6 wedges each. Lay out on a baking sheet and toss them with olive oil. Sprinkle the spice blend all over and then toss again for an even coating.
Place the seasoned wedges in the direct grilling zone. Cook each side until nicely marked, slightly caramelized and the wedges are heated through, about 8 minutes total.