One of my most enduring food memories is grubbing on skewer after skewer of Filipino Barbecue, but it wasn’t until my friend asked me to cook for her son’s 2nd birthday yesterday that I even thought of making it myself.
Filipino Barbecue is usually made with pork or chicken. and the marinade is a combination of salty, sweet and citrus components. Many recipes call for 7-Up or Sprite, which works as a sweetener and tenderizer. I found a recipe that I liked and made some adjustments and additions to come up with this marinade. I’ll probably tweak this a bit more when I make it again, but here’s what I used yesterday.
Filipino Barbecue Marinade
1 cup soy sauce
1 head garlic, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of kalamansi juice or lemon juice
1 cup of lemon-lime soda
2 cups of tanglad (lemon grass) for whole chicken
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
3 tablespoons of brown or white sugar
This marinade works best with a 2-3 pounds of chicken or pork cut into cubes. If you use chicken, my preference is for thighs, but breast meat should work fine if you don’t like dark meat. It’s best to marinate the meat for only a couple hours instead of overnight, and then skewer the meat and grill it until it’s done.
My Lazy Barbecue posts (beef ribs and tri-tip) were an easy and convenient way to make barbecue in an oven, but it also stoked my dormant curiosity about smoking meats…with real smoke. We’re technically not allowed to grill or barbecue where we live, so I started looking for ways to build a smoker that didn’t look so conspicuous. Google eventually led me to an old episode of Alton Brown’s Good Eats where he made a smoker out of a terra cotta flower pot and bowl and an electric hot plate. I’ll write more about the smoker in another post since i want this one to focus on this:
(I’ll talk about the ribs some other time…let’s just discuss the pulled pork.)
Making pulled pork is pretty simple. For this attempt, I coated the entire pork butt with yellow mustard and then sprinkled the meat with a barbecue spice rub and let sit in the refrigerator uncovered for 18 hours. Generally, pork butt is smoked for more than 12 hours at a fairly low temperature (usu. between 225-250F) until the meat reaches a temperature of 195F.
From what I’ve read, the meat stops “absorbing” smoke at around the 3–4 hour mark and any time after that just adds to the smokey bark that accumulates on the meat. Since I was using an electric hot plate and didn’t want to leave it on overnight, I smoked the meat for around 4 hours at an average temp of 240F and then double wrapped it in heavy duty foil and put it in a 225F oven to finish.
The total cooking time was around 16 hours, and after I took it out of the oven, I put it in an empty ice chest where it rested until I was ready to pull the pork and serve it. Here’s what it looked like after removing it from the foil. The “gap” in the meat is where the shoulder bone used to be.
This installment of Lazy Barbecue is all about beef ribs. Now, I love a good rack of baby back ribs, and it’s no secret that I love me some beef short ribs (see here, here, here, here, and here). I’ve even written about making Cook’s Illustrated’s Texas-Style BBQ Beef Ribs, but this version is a little easier.
I did these ribs two different ways. One batch was kept in slab form and cooked for around six hours. The end result was fall-off-the-bone ribs, which tasted great, but I wanted ribs with a firmer texture. The ribs were so tender that it was actually a challenge to keep the slab intact for this picture.
The second batch of ribs I tried were cut into individual pieces and cooked for only three hours. These ribs were great because they were the exact texture that I wanted, and it allowed me to pick up the rib and eat it right off the bone.
The constants with both batches of ribs were applying Texas Best Barbecue Spice Rub to the ribs before curing them overnight in the refrigerator, the cooking temperature (225F), and basting them with Texas Best Barbecue Sauce about 30 min before taking them out of the oven. You can use any rub and sauce you want, but if you can get your hands on the Texas Best rub or sauce, it’ll feel a little more “real” won’t it?
No marinades. No drowning meat in sauces. Just meat, a good spice rub, and the oven. This is about as easy as good food gets.
We’re not allowed to grill or barbecue where I live, so this technique is perfect for us. It’s also great for lazy cooks since you can use a digital probe thermometer to tell you when the meat reaches the right temperature.
Your favorite spice rub
1 beef tri tip (any size)
Sprinkle rub on all sides of the tri tip and let stand at room temperature for at least an hour. I suppose you could do this overnight, as well, but make sure tri tip is at room temperature before you start cooking.
Preheat oven to 400 F
Sear both sides of the tri tip, fat side first, approximately 5 minutes per side
After searing, place meat fat side up on a rack set on a foil-lined cookie sheet.
Place in oven and cook until the internal temperature is 125 degrees. (I had my digital probe thermometer in the tri tip, so I didn’t really keep track of time, but it was somewhere between 20-30 minutes.)
When meat reaches temperature, remove from oven and wrap in foil, resting for 10 minutes before slicing. The meat will continue to cook and you should end up with a medium rare/medium tri tip.
To serve, slice tri tip against the grain into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Serve with your favorite BBQ sauce.
I used a BBQ Spice Rub and BBQ Sauce from Texas Best. Texas Best BBQ Sauce was top rated by Cook’s Illustrated magazine a few years ago, but it was impossible to find because they had ceased operations. A couple months ago, Texas Best resurrected itself is now back in business. Check them out at www.texasbestbarbequesauce.com.
You know you’re eating well when you’re at a Korean BBQ joint feasting on beef brisket, pork belly and some beautifully marbled prime kalbi. In fact, I think you can judge the quality of the meat by whether or not you’re tempted to start eating the raw meat right when it’s brought to the table, which almost happened at Cham Sut Gol when that platter of beautifully marbled prime kalbi arrived.
The kalbi was great and served in its most pure state—no marinades or sauces needed—just a little butter on the grill and the marbly meat would take care of the rest. I’d never had Korean style brisket and it was excellent, and I especially liked the sauce that came with it. The sliced pork belly was also pretty amazing and was accompanied by a strong but perfect salt/pepper oil that really enhanced its inherent porkiness.
But aside from the meat, a perfectly fried mackeral was another highlight, but I didn’t eat much of it because I was busy cooking and eating the meat while my wife and some friends tore that fish apart.
Ban chan selection was good, and the service was attentive. Parking might look like an issue, but they do have valet when it’s busy, and we didn’t have any issues finding street parking.
Cham Sut Gol
3700 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90019 map
323.734.9292 Web site
Do you ever get excited when you look at raw beef? Does the anticipation build up inside of you when you think about how good it’s going to taste after it’s grilled perfectly and you take your first bite? That’s exactly how I felt when the tray of kalbi arrived at our table at Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant in Oakland. And the feelings only grew as the server trimmed the meat from the bone, leaving behind beautiful thick ribbons of marbled marinated rib meat that we couldn’t wait to throw on the grill.
I’m more accustomed to the cross-cut, LA style of kalbi, so Ohgane’s presentation was a change of pace for me and it’s a much more satisfying way to enjoy kalbi. I think you get much larger pieces of meat, and if you like to eat the gristle off the bones, you can throw those on the grill, too, and gnaw on them after all the meat is gone.
I’m perfectly content ordering just the kalbi here, but there’s a lot of other good meat choices on the menu, including daeji bulgogi (spicy marinated pork), special BBQ sam gyup sal gu e (pork belly), Juk suck seng go gi dol pan gu e (beef cubes cooked on a hot stone).
I got my first taste of soon dae (blood sausage with vermicelli noodle) at Ohgane, and it’s become a regular order when we can find it. The pajun (seafood pancake) is one of the best I’ve had because there’s just the right ratio of batter and filling. Banchan selection is is pretty extensive, too.
In general, the quality of the meat at Ohgane is good, but it really pales in comparison to what you can get down in L.A.’s Koreatown. My Korean friends tend to lament the lack of really good Korean food up in the SF Bay Area, and I should really check out more of the spots in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara since the South Bay seems to reign for good Korean. In the East Bay, Ohgane is definitely one of the shining stars.
Ohgane Korean BBQ Restaurant
Oakland, California 94611 map
510.594.8300 Web site
My wife took all the meats, chopped them finely and then fried them in a little vegetable oil to heat through. In addition to the plain white rice that was in the fridge for a couple days, some leftover rice from the Mi Lindo Peru leftovers helped gave the fried rice another subtle flavor. She added the rice to the wok, with some salt and pepper and some chopped green onion. The ribs had some Stubb’s Original Barbecue sauce on them, which added another dimension to the fried rice. Here’s the final product:
I added some more Stubb’s to the fried rice and mixed it around, and it was perfect. The bits of crispy fried chicken with the smoky ribs was an awesome combination. It’s one of the best versions of fried rice my wife has ever made.
Is it possible to make smokey, flavorful baby back ribs in your oven? You bet!
Use lapsang souchong tea to impart a smokey flavor to the ribs. Steven Raichlen’s basic barbecue rub recipe and Stubb’s Original Barbecue Sauce helped finish these ribs. We served these ribs with Ad Hoc Fried Chicken for our friend’s daughter’s birthday dinner.
1 slab of baby back ribs
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup finely ground lapsang souchong tea
Steven Raichlen’s Basic Barbecue Rub
3 tablespoons sweet paprika
3 tablespoons brown sugar (light or dark)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Place all ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to mix them together. Use your fingers to break up any lumps in the rub. You can store this rub in an airtight jar for at least 6 months.
Coat both sides of the ribs liberally with the Raichlen’s rub, then wrap ribs in plastic and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
Adjust one oven rack to lowest position and second rack to upper-middle position (at least 5 inches below broiler). Place pizza stone on lower rack.
When you’re ready to cook the ribs, preheat oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone on the lower rack of the oven. then transfer ribs from refrigerator to freezer for 45 minutes.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with at least two layers of aluminum foil
Use a spice grinder to grind the lapsang souchong tea. Spread the ground tea evenly on the bottom of the baking sheet.
Place a wire rack or roasting rack above the ground tea so that ribs are elevated above baking sheet
Remove ribs from freezer and place on wire rack meat side up.
Cover ribs with foil so that they are completely sealed. See smoker setup diagram at right.
Place ribs in oven directly on the rack or a pre-heated pizza stone.
(Image from Cook’s Illustrated).
Cook ribs for 30 minutes at 500 degrees.
Reduce heat to 250 degrees. Leave oven open for a minute to cool it down. While oven is open, carefully open one corner of foil and pour apple juice into bottom of baking sheet and reseal foil.
Cook ribs for about 90 minutes (check them after an hour). When the meat is done, it will have shrunk, exposing about 1/2 to 1 inch of bone.
Remove foil and carefully flip racks bone side up; place baking sheet on upper-middle oven rack. Turn on broiler; cook ribs until well browned and crispy in spots, 5 to 10 minutes. Flip ribs meat side up and cook until well browned and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes more.
Glaze meat with barbecue sauce and return to oven for a 2-3 more minutes.
Cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into individual ribs. Serve with barbecue sauce, if desired.
The next stop on our second anniversary dinner tour was an impromptu booking at Ad Hoc in Yountville. We were just in Yountville two days before eating at Bouchon, but our actual anniversary was on Monday, Sept. 17, and we hadn’t made formal plans for that evening yet. I told my wife that if the Ad Hoc menu was compelling enough, then I would get us a reservation, and we would drive back up to Yountville for our “real” anniversary dinner.
Now, we’ve been to Ad Hoc a lot the last three months (five including our anniversary visit), and well, it’s starting to look like an obsession isn’t it? But I wonder…how many times in three months do you go to your favorite restaurant? Would it make a difference if it was 75 miles away?
I called Ad Hoc a little after midnight the night before so I could hear the menu, and it was compelling, to say the least. Let’s just say the word “Wagyu” jumped out at me.
Brentwood Pole Bean Salad
yellow wax and romano beans, haricots verts
toybox tomatoes, red radishes
and walnut vinaigrette
Texas Style Barbecue
snake river farms wagyu beef brisket, pork spare ribs
andouille sausage, creamed corn and baked russet potatoes
Chocolate Ice Cream S’Mores
house marshmallow, caramel sauce
Salad is almost a throwaway course in a prix fixe setting, but at Ad Hoc, sometimes the salad can upstage the main course, especially when bacon lardons are involved. The bean salad was great despite the lack of lardons, but I will say that Ad Hoc is the one place where I actually love to eat my vegetables.
Even though everything’s family style and the menu is prix fixe, there’s still usually a bit of a wait between courses, and I actually enjoy and usually need these gaps. It not only helps my body process the previous course so that it’s ready to accept more food, it allows you time to have a conversation, maybe drink a little wine or beer, and most of all relax. This concept can be confounding if you’re used to eating at restaurants where turning over tables is a priority and the food is served as fast as possible, but I’ve never felt rushed eating at Ad Hoc, and the slower pace is nice because it prevents you from gorging yourself.
The main course was a trifecta of amazing meats—Wagyu beef brisket, spare ribs, andouille sausage—served with creamed corn and baked russet potatoes (bacon makes its lone appearance here as super salty and crunchy bacon bits). The brisket, from Snake River Farms, was cold smoked for 14 hours and finished with a nice, peppery crust, and well…they had me at first bite. The extra marbling of the Wagyu beef helps give this brisket a little more fatty flavor to enhance its inherent beefiness and set this apart from any other brisket I’ve tried. I really need to go to Texas for some traditional barbecued beef brisket to have a proper reference point so I can compare it to Ad Hoc’s ridiculously good version of it.
The spare ribs were prepared sous vide in duck fat for 20 hours or so and then lightly glazed and finished on the grill. Now, I’m not fan of spare ribs because most of the time, they’re not trimmed properly and I find them difficult to eat. These spare ribs were awesome. The meat had a nice bite but was still easily removed from the bone, and the rich flavor was a mystery until I found out about the duck fat. The andouille sausage was good, too, but since the focal point for me was the brisket, it was sort of relegated to stepchild status. The meal was served with a nice house barbecue sauce that was sort of sweet with a subtle kick to it. It was really nice because it complemented the meat without overpowering any other flavors, but I didn’t really use much because the meat was so good that it didn’t need it.
The cheese course was my least favorite of all the cheese courses I’ve had at Ad Hoc. (The best included some charcuterie and cryovacked cantaloupe). I didn’t mind though as I was still coming down from the meat high I got from the brisket and started looking forward to dessert.
The Chocolate Ice Cream S’mores were a refined take on an American campground classic. A housemade graham cracker serves as a foundation for a delicious marshmallow “brulee” with chocolate ice cream taking the place of the traditional Hershey’s squares. The staff at Ad Hoc was nice enough to put candles in our desserts and wish us a Happy Anniversary. If you go to any restaurant enough, they’re going to remember you, especially if you give them glowing reviews at places like Yelp.com. Ad Hoc is no exception; they’re really good at taking care of their customers and remembering the ones that return.
Thanks, Ad Hoc, for a wonderful anniversary dinner, and I’ll see you again on another Monday in October for my birthday and fried chicken night!
6476 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599 map
This is an easy, no-hassle way to make great baby back ribs at home.
1 rack of baby back ribs
your favorite spice rub
your favorite BBQ sauce (for glazing the ribs)
Sprinkle rack of ribs with your favorite spice rub.
Place meat on a rack with meat facing outward and fatty end of the rib at the top. You’ll probably have to “curl” the meat so it fits in the pot, or if you have an oval slow cooker, you can cut the slab in half and stand them up like a teepee with the fatter end of the ribs at the top.
You don’t really need any liquid for this recipe, but if you want you could add a few drops of liquid smoke to the pot.
Cook on low for 8-10 hours. It’s done when the rib meat shrinks from the bottom of the rib about 1/4 inch or you can pull on the rib bone and it loosens from the meat.
Before you take out the ribs, baste it with your favorite sauce and cook for 10 more minutes.