Friday, January 23, 2015

Bacon is meat candy, especially this bacon!

Alton Brown gets me.  His food is dreamy.

Lacquered Bacon

1 pound thick-cut bacon
1 tablespoon black pepper, coarsely ground
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, preferably muscovado or demerara
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you’re up to it)
1. Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.
2. Lay the bacon in a single layer so that there’s little or no space between the pieces on a cooling rack set in a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan.
3. Liberally sprinkle one side of the bacon slices with the black pepper, sugar and red pepper flakes.
4. Set the sheet pan in the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and use the back of a spoon, spread the dissolved sugar/pepper mixture evenly across the slices of bacon.
5. Flip the bacon over and liberally sprinkle the other side of the bacon with black pepper and remaining sugar.
5. Return the sheet pan to the oven and roast until desired doneness: 15 minutes for chewy, 18 minutes for crisp. Cool completely before devouring.

Monday, January 19, 2015

South Dakota Corncob-Smoked Ribs

South Dakota Corncob-Smoked Ribs
From Cook's Country | June/July 2012

Why this recipe works:

Corncobs may seem like an odd choice for smoking meat, but they impart a sweet, subtle smokiness that more assertive hardwood can’t offer. Cornmeal gives these ribs an initial blast of smoky flavor, while the fresh cobs offer long-lasting smoke and a nutty aroma. Starting with a bed of unlit coals and topping them with lit coals gives us a constant heat source without the hassle of reloading the grill.

Serves 4 to 6

A gas grill can't do these corncob ribs justice, so please use charcoal. The test kitchen's favorite ketchup is Heinz Organic.


  • cup ketchup
  • cup water
  • tablespoon pepper
  • tablespoon onion powder
  • tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • tablespoon light corn syrup
  • tablespoon granulated garlic
  • teaspoons celery seeds
  • teaspoon liquid smoke
  • tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon pepper
  • racks (2 1/2- to 3-pounds each) pork baby back ribs, trimmed and membrane removed
  • cup cornmeal
  • corncobs, kernels removed and reserved for another use


  1. 1. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk all ingredients together in medium bowl to combine; set aside.
    2. FOR THE RIBS: Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in bowl. Pat ribs dry with paper towels and rub with sugar mixture; set aside. Using large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, wrap cornmeal in foil packet and cut several vent holes in top.
    3. Open bottom vents of charcoal grill halfway. Place 13 by 9-inch disposable aluminum roasting pan on 1 side of grill and fill pan with 2 quarts water. Arrange 3 quarts unlit charcoal briquettes on opposite side of grill. Place cobs on top of unlit briquettes. Light large chimney starter filled halfway with charcoal briquettes (3 quarts). When top coals are covered with ash, pour over cobs and unlit coals. Place cornmeal packet on coals. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot and cornmeal is smoking, about 5 minutes.
    4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place ribs, meat side up, on cool part of grill opposite coals. Cover, positioning lid vent over ribs, and cook until ribs are deep red and tender, 3½ to 4 hours, rotating ribs and switching positions every hour. (Do not flip ribs.) During last 30 minutes of cooking, baste ribs every 10 minutes, rotating and switching ribs each time. Transfer ribs to carving board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Cut ribs in between bones and serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Layering the Fire

In South Dakota, they smoke their ribs on huge custom barbecue rigs using dried corncobs as the sole fuel. It makes sense—corn is what's around, after all. To adapt the method to a backyard kettle grill, we had to figure out how to configure the fire to get four hours of steady, corn-tinged smoke. Here's what we did:
1 cup of cornmeal in a foil packet
3 quarts lit charcoal
6 corncobs, husks and kernels removed
3 quarts unlit charcoal
Ribs on cool side of the grill
2 quarts water in a disposable aluminum pan

Failed Corncob Tests

In South Dakota, bushels of dried, stripped corncobs impart a special flavor to ribs. To replicate it, we left no kernel unturned. It was A for effort, but these attempts were a bust. 
SOOTY: Unhusked ears of corn.
SOOTY: Husked ears with the corn intact.
TOO MUCH WORK: Husked, stripped, and oven-dried. 
BURNT TASTE: Popped popcorn.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Perfect Scrambled Eggs ala Alton Brown


Whisk the eggs: Whisk 3 large eggs, 1 pinch of kosher salt, 1 grind of black pepper and 3 tablespoons whole milk together until light and foamy.

TIP: Odds are you're going to be serving these on a plate. If so, I strongly suggest you park an ovensafe one in a low oven or in hot water while you're cooking. Cold plates suck the heat right out of food.

Add to the pan: Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to a 10-to-12-inch nonstick skillet and put it over high heat. When the butter bubbles (after about a minute), pour the eggs straight into the middle of the pan, which will force the butter to the edges, where it's needed.

Scramble the eggs: Stir slowly with a rubber or silicone spatula. As soon as curds (big soft lumps) of eggs begin to form, drop the heat to low and shift from stirring to folding the curds over on themselves while gently shaking the pan with the other hand.

Let rest: As soon as no more liquidous egg is running around the pan, kill the heat and gently transfer the scramble to the warmed plate. Let the eggs rest for 1 minute to finish cooking before serving.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Carols: Advent Devotional - O Come, All Ye Faithful

Philippians 2:9-11
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

O Come, All Ye Faithful
Come and behold Him,
Born the King of Angels;
O come, let us adore Him

Adoration is a word that we love to use during the Christmas season thanks largely to the classic carol O Come, All Ye Faithful as we sing, “O come, let us adore Him.” So many of us during the Christmas season spend more time thinking about Christ and giving Him adoration than any other time of the year. Think about it for a moment. More people go to church during Christmas than any other time of the year. We also tend to find ourselves singing and listening to songs about Jesus more during the Christmas season than any other time of year. As a result, Christmas is a time when we love to praise Him, honor Him, and adore Him much in the way Philippians 2:9-11 describes.

While it’s great that Christ earns so much of our attention and adoration during Christmas, it’s important to remember that we should pay that same amount of attention to Him 12 months a year instead of just one. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit and spend more time thinking, singing, praying, and adoring Christ during December, but in order to have a true relationship with Christ we must adore and spend time with Him throughout the year. This year as you move out of the Christmas season and back into the normalcy of life, strive to find a way to capture that Christmas spirit that will enable you to adore Him and grow with Him every day of your life.

What things keep you from adoring and spending time with Christ on a daily basis?
What steps will you take to ensure that you spend time daily with Christ?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Carols: Advent Devotional - Silent Night

Jeremiah 23:5-6
5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

Silent Night
Glories stream from heaven afar. Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah!
Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born!

When I was a child, we were poor. We rarely bought anything other than necessities throughout the year. About two months before Christmas, my parents asked me to write a list of all the things I wanted. I would pour through catalogs, go to stores (this was before the internet and cyber-browsing), and dream about all the things I could possibly enjoy for the coming year. After my list was complete, I anxiously anticipated the gifts that would appear under the tree. The waiting felt like years, but it was worth it. Christmas morning was the best day! I spent the rest of the year enjoying my new toys!

God’s children, for hundreds of years, had anticipated the arrival of their Savior. Parents told their children of the coming King: the one who would save them all. Their kids told their kids. Everyone was anxiously awaiting the One they had heard about. The arrival of Jesus, their Savior, was a holy night. The heavens rejoiced. Angels sang. Shepherds quaked at the sight. At Christmas, we remember this day that heaven came to earth! The day God fulfilled His promise! The day God became man to redeem his children from a broken world. Your savior is here. He is present! You don’t have to anticipate something you already have. Celebrate. Enjoy the gift you have received!

In what areas of your life are you waiting and anticipating God’s presence?