Saturday, October 9, 2010

GG's outdoor odyssey

Now that I have an outdoor space and a garden to enjoy, I have started thinking about outdoor cooking. Having access to both a standard BBQ and a Weber gives a lot of options and I plan on doing quite a bit of entertaining as the weather warms up, centered around BBQ and grill style food. There is nothing more delicious than a freshly BBQ'd sausage on a roll as far as I'm concerned, but I'm looking forward to experimenting with taking things a bit further and going beyond your basic chops and sausages.

I am a huge fan of seafood cooked over coals and I think my up and coming food experiments will centre around different seafood dishes (watch this space) but last night I thought I would start my outdoor cooking odyssey with American style pork ribs. The ribs go through two cooking processes - first poached in a liquid flavoured with herbs and spices and then cooked over coals and basted with a delicious sticky BBQ glaze.

The glaze is flavoured primarily with by smoky paprika, garlic, chilli, fresh thyme and maple syrup. It is absolutely delicious and enhances the flavour of the pork beautifully. The pork ribs are great served with corn on the cob and jacket potatoes with sour cream and chives. The recipe below serves 2-4 people depending on how much you want to indulge. If you don't have a BBQ, I have included an alternative cooking method below. The glaze would also work well on chicken wings or skewered prawns, if you aren't a pork fan or if you want a meal that is a bit lighter.

So, here is last night's dinner - and my first attempt at cooking in the GGG (Gourmet Goddess garden) Hope you are inspired to give them a try.

 Twice Cooked Pork Ribs
With smoky chilli maple glaze

You will need: 1kg pork ribs

For the poaching liquid: 2 Bay leaves, 1 teaspoon whole white peppercorns, 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, 1 small peeled roughly chopped onion, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cloves garlic, water.

For the glaze: 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon smoky paprika, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dry chilli flakes, 2 teaspoons thyme leaves (I used fresh), a few dashes of Tabasco sauce (ok, I used a bit more than a few dashes because I like my chilli!), 2 tablespoons reserved liquid from the poaching process.

Method: First, place all of the ingredients for the poaching liquid in a large saucepan. Add the pork ribs and cover with water, Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the liquid (you will need this for the glaze).

Remove the pork ribs and allow them to drain and cool.

Combine all of the glaze ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Preheat your BBQ. Place the ribs on the rack/grill section of your BBQ (I used the Weber for this - cooking over coals really adds to the flavour) Cook the ribs for 5 minutes each side without applying any of the glaze.

Now baste the ribs with the glaze and cook for about another 15 minutes, turning and basting often. Watch that the ribs don't burn - move them to a slightly cooler spot on the BBQ if they seem to be darkening too quickly.

Let the ribs rest for 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle any remaining glaze over the ribs.

*Alternative cooking method: If you don't want to do the BBQ thing, the ribs will work well in the oven. After the initial poaching process, you can bake the ribs in a moderate to hot oven for 25 minutes, basting and turning regularly.


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