My apologies for only posting twice this week. As it happens, ‘real’ work became a priority and dang nabbit I had to write, write, write all week long. If you’d like to see a snapshot of what I do outside of the southbyse.com blog, I invite you to pop over to the Hilton Head Island Bluffton V&CB blog site, where I make the big bucks (ha-ha) as their foodie vibe blogger.
Since I feel bad about shorting the posts this week I am going to double-down with both a story-post and a recipe. Here in the states it is Father’s Day on Sunday and I would be remiss if I did not honor the Dads in my life. First there is my husband, who not only is a patient and kind father to our 4–year-old girly girl, but never complains when he gets put in time-out (again!) during ‘class’ ruled over with iron crayons, by said daughter. Cheers go out to my father-in-law Mike, who shares my love of strong coffee and red wine and actually listens to my sometimes forthright opinions on politics, world affairs, and cooking. To my older brother-in-law Lee I say, good job on raising smart, open-minded kids with the wherewithal to appreciate both creamy, slow-cooked grits and foie gras. To my newest brother-in-law, Evan, being your first father’s day and with certainly many more to come, remember to never let a day go by without hugging both your child and your wife and telling them, “I you love”. Sure they know it, but it’s always best to show it!
Since my own dad passed away almost 9 years ago, father’s day has been a little sad for me. But knowing my Daddy, this would not set right with him and I can imagine him say saying, “Sugar, now don’t be sad! I’m up here watching out for you, don’t you know. Go on and have yourself a big piece of that (insert: cobbler, pie, cake, fried chicken) and you’ll feel right as rain. I’ll see you again someday – not too soon, but someday”. Ah, my Daddy. He was a strong Christian and of the Baptist faith, which fit him perfectly since he was as tall, boisterous and friendly but exceedingly kind and modest, as any country preacher-man.
My Daddy was a friend to both neighbor and stranger, and truly aimed to live by the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.” It’s a little saying that has a huge impact and to this day I try to live by the same. My father was also a tinker, a thinker, a fisherman, a gentleman farmer and a lover of nature. All traits I admire, and some of which luckily rubbed off on me. Thanks Daddy!
There’s so much more good stuff to know about my dad, I could write a book. But I’ll stop here and state that above all my Dad loved his wife (my Mom), his 5 kids and our extended family. We were always his number one, second only to God and placed well above himself.
One thing my Daddy did love was to eat good food. He had a pretty strong sweet tooth and never passed up a dessert, especially my Mother’s cakes or pies. And, as I’ve mentioned before my Dad was a barbeque expert, commonly referred to as a pitmaster. He would laugh at that title, I think. But he did rule the ‘pit’ as his specialty was roasting a whole hog in a traditional method, known as Williamsburg County style. Of late, this method has garnered some fame mostly through Rodney Scott of Scott’s Bar-b-que in Hemingway, SC . TV host and foodie Andrew Zimmern called Scott’s barbeque “the best he’s ever had”. And Rodney cooked up some fine ‘Q’ at the last year’s Music to your Mouth festival at toney Palmetto Bluff. Not surprising to me at all.
This method of cooking the pork is very basic, allowing the flavor of the pork and the wood smoke to shine, so as long as you don’t use overly hot coals, or otherwise overcook the meat, you’re good. The recipe I’m presenting today is NOT great barbeque on line with Scott’s or my Daddy’s. But it is pretty darn good and since I am currently at a lack for a pig pit or whole hog for that matter, I improvise my barbeque technique.
We love pork ribs in my family so I make these racks whenever we have a hankering for barbeque. The method is the key – cook them low and slow, i.e. low temperature for a long time. I make my own rub with whatever I have available but it always includes salt, sugar, and several kinds of pepper. The cheat’in part is to make up for the lack of smoke – hard to come by without a real wood fire! And of course better quality pork makes better tasting pork ribs.
Succulent Cheat’in Ribs
- 1 rack good quality pork ribs, baby backs or St. Loius preferred
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (or Demera)
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle pepper or red pepper
- 2 tsp. adobo seasoning
- 1 tsp. smoked sweet praprika
- 1 tsp. liquid smoke (this is the cheat’in part!)
- 1 1/2 cups liquid – fruit juice such as apple or wine or beer or a combination
- barbeque sauce (your favorite!)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Wash and dry the ribs. Prepare a roasting pan with rack. Mix together all other ingredients except the liquid smoke and liquid/juice to make the rub. Sprinkle this mixture over and rub onto both sides of the ribs. Place ribs on the rack. Pour the liquid or juice into the bottom of the roasting pan and add the liquid smoke. Cover roasting pan with foil, making sure it is sealed well. Roast in the oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until ribs are cooked and tender but not literally falling off the bone. Depending on what type of grill you have prepare it while the ribs are roasting.
When hot, place cooked rib on grill and brown or sear on each side. After one side is browned slather on the barbeque sauce and continue to grill until ribs are to your liking. Serve immediately with extra sauce.
* If you are using a charcoal grill and have a smoker box feel free to use it when you are grilling off the meat, even it’s just to lessen the “cheat’in” aspect of his recipe!