Smokin’ Spare Ribs 🍖 (3·2·1 Style)


So, recently I got a smoker attachment for my Char-Griller grill as a gift for Father’s Day. I tried it out today and the results we fantastic. I hit up the Google machine and some non-BBQ-ing Facebook groups for advice, tips, & tricks. (I imagine that they are as intense as guitar groups and I am just not ready yet.) I kept getting advice on the 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs. There are many variations of that technique. I think it went well. I tracked my progress with the #AiXeLsyDBBQ hashtag. Maybe I’ll do some more next time.

The quick and dirty of this method is…

  1. Get your coals to 225°-ish. (I used a chimney to avoid lighter fluid and it was awesome.) I added some wood chunks in the chimney, and on top once I spread on the coals. I did not soak the wood, but I may next time. Control the temp with your vents. Open a bit warms it up, closed cools it off… all because of airflow.
  2. Remove the silverskin, and put a nice rub on the ribs. I used one from the section of Walmart by all the grilling stuff.
  3. Put the ribs in the grill part if you have an attachment, or not on the heat for 3 hours.
  4. Pull the ribs out, wrap in heavy duty grilling foil, add some apple cider, apple juice, vinegar, pop, or whatever. I added some Straub. Unfortunately I made 2 racks and used the whole bottle, so I drank one myself.
  5. Put them in for 2 hours, smoking really isn’t necessary at this point if your wanna save your chunks or chips.
  6. Pull them out and unwrap them. I should have saved the drippings for the barbecue sauce on the side, but I did not. Shame on me. Do that.
  7. Sauce those ribs up. Liberally. Like, and obscene amount.
  8. Put them back on for 1 hour. (3-2-1… get it? Guys! They said the thing!)
  9. Always check with a thermometer for done-ness. They should be pretty damn done at this point, arguably overdone.
  10. EAT.

I know fall-off-the-bone isn’t competition style. A bone did pull right out of one rack, but the meat was in tact, not falling completely apart. I know the foil wrapping bit is then steaming not smoking… but, rules are made to be broken and a healthy dose of anarchy warms my little punk rock heart.

I would definitely do the ribs like this again. I may try a homemade sauce. This was pretty basic store-brand stuff from Shop ‘n Save with some dry mustard, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper, and Straub American Amber Lager. I may try different chips, or a smoker box, or to soak the wood. I even read some people eschew charcoal in favor of all wood once the fire is going.

I also threw on some baked potatoes, turkey legs, grilled veggies, and sauce on the attached burner.

Can’t wait to try out a turkey, pork loin, brisket, and whatever else I haven’t thought of. Mac n’ cheese? Jalapeño poppers? Meatloaf? Bacon?

What do you do in the smoker? What are your go to foods? Got any tips & tricks worth sharing? Do you click the tongs twice or three times? Before, during, or after?

Any excuse to drink beer and play with fire all day is a good excuse to me. Plus, the family was awed by my hereto unknown skills with smoked meats.

What music are you playing while you’re grilling or smoking?

This is the full adventure as told via Instagram:

Chili (AiXeLsyD13 Style) 🌶


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. round steak, cut into cubes
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ package of bacon pieces
  • 1 10.75 oz. can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes with sweet onions
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 15 5 oz. can kidney beans
  • 1 15.5 oz. can black beans
  • 1 fresh jalapeño, diced
  • 1 fresh orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 fresh sweet banana pepper, diced
  • 1 12 oz. bottle of Straub Amber
  • 1 pack of chili spice mix
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, steak seasoning, seasoned-salt, cumin, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, white pepper

I wanted to try 2 things, the Ninja Foodi pressure-cooker function & steak in the chili. The steak was successful, the pressure-cooking was not so much.

I cut up the steak and sautéed with a tiny bit of EVOO in a pan on the stove on high then medium-high, added about half of each chopped up fresh pepper, the ground beef, and about a tablespoon of minced garlic. This is where I added all of the dry spices at the end. I don’t measure. I also used some Straub to deglaze the pan. This mix was delicious.

I added the rest of the ingredients into the Foodi after draining & rinsing both cans of beans… including the unused peppers, garlic, and beer.

It got up to pressure then insisted I “ADD WTR.” I reluctantly added a cup of water and a beef bullion cube. I like chili thick enough to eat with a fork.

It got up to pressure again and insisted “ADD WTR.”

Googling solutions seemed to lean to the fact that it could be overheating, stuff could be burning on the pan, or a few other suggestions. A real life friend confirmed the burning thing via Facebook. It eventually got to a boiling point after the second pressure-up, but again demanded “ADD WTR.” No, Foodi. I like thick chili! NO ADD WTR! NO ADD WTR! I put it on the saute setting and let it boil down for a bit.

I think the stove top would have been the same amount of time. The flavors were great. Would they had been enhanced with proper pressurized cooking? Will the Foodi learn to say “STR SHT” when that’s what it really means?

Next time I will put the liquid on the bottom maybe? Also, no water/bullion cube… and I may eliminate the small can of tomato paste & sauce. The meat & pepper mix itself before other stuff was delicious. I could add the tomatoes, & soup, & beans right there and have a fine meal to be seved with rice or mashed potatoes.

Maybe I will go back to the slow-cooker. You can’t deny how awesome that is. My recipe is always changing.

One of these days I’m gonna try cocoa powder. I have seen stuff calling for brown sugar (which I love in spaghetti sauce), but no thanks in chili. I have also had cinnamon in chili, an that’s totally not my thing, but I get it if you dig it.

I had mine with some tortilla strips, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and a dollop of sour cream. We had some pretzel breadsticks on the side too. They serves soft pretzels with chili at my elementary school, so they will always belong together for me. This would have also been great over mashed potatoes or on a baked potato, rice, or even pasta.

IG CHILI

How do you do chili (or chili con carne)? Beans? No beans? Over pasta? Over potatoes or rice? Any musts for the side like peanut butter, corn bread, sweet corn cake, rolls, cinnamon rolls, tortilla chips or strips, etc.?

Do you use cheese or sour cream? Do you like it hot? Do you cut the heat with anything?

Do you have a preferred cooking method?

Any tips on pressure-cooker (or Ninja Foodi) chili?

Teh Facebooks on Chili

Ham N’ Bean Soup.


I was really hungry for ham n’ bean soup after the Christmas ham.  Usually I make a Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup with ham leftovers, but this time I wanted something different.  Plus, I made a sweet glaze for this ham which may not have played well with that soup.  I have made ham n’ bean soup before with the dried beans that I had to soak overnight, but I remember my last batch being way too salty.

This one turned out a lot better.  I used canned beans.  While we generally do most of out shopping at Aldi (& via Instacart), there are some things that Aldi doesn’t sell so I made the trip to Giant Eagle to get all the beans.  I think it turned out well.  This is more of a method than a recipe.  Here’s what I posted on Instagram (edited for terrible typing and a clear blatant lack of proofreading/editing);

AiXeLsyD13's Ham n' Bean Soup

Ham n’ Bean Soup | @AiXeLsyD13

Finally made the ham n’ bean soup.

Started with some carrots cut up, half of a Spanish onion minced, and 3 each red & yellow mini sweet bell peppers chopped very fine, sautéed them in a bit of butter, added spices

Next I added a @yuenglingbeer traditional lager, some vegetable broth, and some water & a bit of ham bullion/paste stuff.from a jar.

Then I added some leftover gravy from the Christmas ham which included ham drippings and my glaze that dropped down (beer, yellow mustard, Herlocher’s, honey, brown sugar, garlic, water, & corn starch). Then I cubed up some leftover ham from Christmas, popped it in the mix, then added some canned great northern beans, pinto beans, cannelloni beans, red beans, white kidney beans, and canned diced new potatoes.

Finally I added some bisquick mix to make some dumplings after the beans cooked a bit.

I have to say it hit the spot. @bcarroll_13 liked it, and Molly did eat a bit, Ian said he liked it but didn’t eat any. Molly REALLY liked the dumplings.

I bought peas to add, but wasn’t feeling then in this mix so I kept them out.

I may try the “bags of gold” cheese-filled dumplings soup that grandma used to make next.

I forgot to mention that one can of great northern beans I mashed before putting it in because I like a thick soup.  The dumplings were my mom’s idea, which is funny if you know her & that she hates biscuits & dumplings.  I also used a few drops of liquid smoke for the first time ever at the advice of a good friend!  I also sometimes like to cook with Straub American Amber instead of Yuengling Traditional Lager.  I thought about adding garbanzo beans, but I didn’t.  I bet they would have gone well in here too.

Do you make your ham n’ bean soup?  This is something I probably make slightly different every time.  Share your secrets, tips, & tricks in the comments!

Ham n’ Bean n’ Tater Stew


This is one of my favorites.  My grandma made it a lot when I was growing up.  I have my own variation.

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup on a Spoon

Ham, Green Bean, & Potato Soup

 

Mine includes beer. Grandma made it every once in a while with cabbage. I suppose you could add carrots and/or onions. Maybe garbanzi beans too?  Becky the awesome cook at camp makes it with noodle-style dumplings (I did try it that way once too), and some people make it wholly and horribly incorrectly with a creamy soup base.  I have no idea why you would do that to this meal.

I don’t know what to call this.  We always just called it “ham, beans, and potatoes” which is somewhat cumbersome… and could be about 4,000,000,000 other soups.  In fact, I don’t even know if this is a soup or a stew.  Both?  Neither?  What is the difference, anyway?

A lot of the time this would be made with leftover ham from Christmas, Easter, or whenever.  When the hankering strikes now, I go to ham steaks with the little bone in.  I don’t have a strict recipe, it’s more of a method.

This time, I put some Ham broth base (which can be a pain in the rear to find in the store sometimes) made slightly weaker than the directions, one cube each of chicken & beef bullion, a bottle of Yuengling Traditional Lager (I have used Straub American Amber for this too), and water in the pot and started it to boil on high.  (Perhaps obviously if I had a leftover ham, I would start by boiling the bone and make the broth from that, add bullion if/as needed.)  I also popped in some minched garlic, onion powder, and season-all, salt, and black pepper.

Then I cubed up 2 ham steaks, added them to the mix,.

Then I washed n’ cut up a not quite a 5 lb. bag of russet potatoes, and added that to the mix.  (I have used Yukon Gold before and they’re delicious, but they seem to break down to starch easier.)

Then, I cheated and popped open 2 bags of microwave/steam ready fresh green beans, rinsed, then snapped/chopped, and added them to the mix.  When i came to a boil, I popped it down to 8 on the burner dial, and let it boil for 20 minutes.

Then, I let it simmer on 2 for another 20 minutes, then I put it on low until dinner time.

Ham n' Bean n; Tater Stew

Ham n’ Bean n; Tater Stew

We served it with fresh baked buttered bread form the local grocery store.  The kids seemed to actually eat dinner this evening too, and they’re rather picky lately.  Sometimes I make it the night before, this is the kind of stuff that’s always better the next day.  I’m not sure if it’s Irish, German, American, or all of the above.

Do you make something like this?  Post your variation(s) in the comments below.

 

 

LIES ABOUT POTATO CHIPS


Today, I checked out a link on the Yahoo! site because it was simply titled “The Best Potato Chips“.  Well, I like potato chips… so I had to see what was up.  Well, the first annoying thing was that it said that there’s a list of 21 chips… but there are only 7 listen on the page… then the “Continue Reading…” link takes you to a slide show.  I hate slide show lists.  I want to see it all, right there in front of me, right away.  This isn’t a meeting, I don’t need a power point presentation.  These aren’t your vacation photos, I don’t need a slide show.

Turner Dairy | Chip DipThey did manage to recognize the awesome that is plain old ordinary Ruffles.  When I want to eat Turner’s chip dip, this is the chip that I must have.  Just ask anyone who works at the Rite Aid by my house.  I’m always there buying ruffles & Turner’s dip.  Really.  Just ask them…  “Is there a weird guy in here with crazy sideburns buying Turner’s Dip and Ruffles all the time?”  They’ll totally, be like “Yeah!”  I’m telling you.

As for the rest of this list though, it’s a lie.  Don’t believe it.  If the list had any credibility beyond being able to recognize the top of the line “ordinary” chip, it would have included Beer Chips or Snyder (of Berlin) Honey BBQ Chips.  There is just no excuse for these glaring omissions.  Shame on you, Shine From Yahoo!.  Shame on you.

BEER CHIPSI’ve written of Beer Chips before, here in my blog and at PittsburghBeat.com.  Why?  Because they’re awesome.  They’re next to impossible to put down.  I’m sure I could eat an entire bag without thinking about it, and probably have.  If we break them out when people are over, the bag disappears.  Kudos to the Beer Chips people on distribution, as I’ve seen them in places from Giant Eagle and Market District to Aldi.  You may have guessed that Beer Chips are chips somehow cooked with beer.  If you haven’t guessed this, then just stop reading, as all of this will be most likely lost on you anyway.  They’re sweet, they’re salty, and they do have a hint of a beer taste… but it’s ever so slight.  Of course, they also go great with a nice bottle of Yuengling, Straub, or Penn Pilsner in my experience.  Just writing this, I may have to stop at the store to get these next time I’m out.  They are that powerful.  I mean, I have beer in the ‘fridge, but how can I enjoy it now without Beer Chips?  I can’t.  That’s how.

Snyder of Berlin | Honey BBQ ChipsOn to the Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q Potato Chips.  First off, I love honey BBQ in general.  Gooski’s Honey BBQ wings are one of my favorite foods ever.  You just  generally can’t go wrong with Honey BBQ.  I think my first experience with these was at camp.  They were out as a snack one night and I think I ate most of the bag.  I couldn’t stop.  Again, these have that incredible sweet/salty combination that is a win every time.  I know you can generally get them at most Sheetz locations, but it’s hit or miss if they’re there in Giant Eagle or wherever I happen to be grocery shopping.  If I see them, I just unconsciously grab them and only realize they’re in my hand or the grocery cart when I go to check out.  Now, one must beware of the Herr’s and Wise imitations.  Well, I don’t know who was really first… but for my own personal tastes, Snyder of Berlin is the standard Honey BBQ chip to which all others ought to be measured.  Actually, the Herr’s is an acceptable substitute if necessary, but the Wise ones are just inferior chips altogether.

Speaking of imitations, one of these days I need to get down to the Snyder of Berlin vs. Snyder’s of Hanover thing.  (There’s even a creepy Facebook group about the rift…) They each have that ominous and almost vindictive disclaimer on their packaging that they’re not associated with the other. Too weird.

Herr's | Ketchup ChipsThere are, of course, a few others worth mentioning…  Herr’s makes some bad-ass Ketchup flavored chips, some Salt & Pepper ones, and a bunch of other cool/weird flavors.  Utz makes a bunch of flavors and are quite decent chips.  (Is it “uhtz” or “ootz”?) Although, I see a “crab” flavor, and that scares me a little.  I may have to write to them about that.  Snyder of Berlin also has a ton of interesting varieties, another of my favorites being the kettle-cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper chips.

You may thank me that you’re now more informed on the subject of the best potato chips than the average Shine From Yahoo! reader.  I’d be interested to see if you agree with me or if you’re just wrong.  Please feel free to talk about your favorites in the comments section!

This tiny sign made my day…


It’s simple, really.  It’s a small, simple act that’s a symbolic gesture, and may be complete and total BS in all practicality or reality… but it made me feel comfortable today.  I have discussed my shellfish issues before, and have been ridiculed for suggesting that the food service industry take any more action on allergy issues, awareness, and cross-contamination than they already are.  I can’t explain why or how, but this one little sign put me at ease.  Why?  Because it was simply acknowledgment, I guess.  Maybe that’s all I want or need.  At any rate, kudos to you, Market District Cafe in Robinson!  What am I making such a big fuss about?  Not much really, just this…

Photobucket

That’s all.  No biggie.  But, to me, it means so much.  I did happen to ask the guy behind the counter about what all was cooked on the grill that I can see, and he was happy to inform me that there is indeed no shellfish that touches said grill surface.  It’s not a big deal to you most likely, but it is to me.  So I blogged about it.

In a related note…  The Market District in Robinson is ridiculously awesome… the grocery store and the restaurant side.  I popped up a review on UrbanSpoon.com, here it is…

photo prime

“It’s like a food amusement park…” by ERiC AiXeLsyD (100 reviews)

January 16, 2010 – Really likes it – I really never thought I’d be this excited about a grocery store. The team at Giant Eagle/Market District that put this place together are geniuses. It’s not the first time I’ve been to the store, but today was the first time eating in their cafe. Floor layout plan and traffic flow not withstanding, this is a great place to eat! It’s almost a cross between a food court and hospital cafeteria… with really really good food. You can choose form a bunch of little islands or counters of food… Pizza, Crepes, Rosti, Salad Bars, Hot Bar, Grill/Rotisserie station, and more that I haven’t really looked into yet.

My wife went for a really nice-looking Italian panini with the thickest slice of mozzarella, I’ve ever seen and a nice little side salad with assorted greens, and dropped it off with a Market District brand peach oolong iced tea. She really thought the sandwich was fresh and filling, and is looking forward to trying of the other options. (They had some nice-looking reubens there too!)

I went right to the rotisserie/grill/BBQ area (of course) and my eyes were drawn to the brisket. I got a combo which included the brisket & side… I chose the grilled vegetables… normally for $6, but I got $1 off with my Giant Eagle advantage card. I also snagged a roll (gotta get those carbs!) and a Boylan’s Birch Beer. I chose a St. Louis Style BBQ sauce with the brisket that was a perfect compliment t the juicy beef, and the grilled veggies were perfect. They were just vegetables, the taset wasn’t hidden with a sauce or too many spices. We got an excellent meal IMHO for just over $14.

The thing that impressed me the most was when I was asking the chef/cook behind the counter about what all was cooked on the grill due to my shellfish allergies, he was very patient, kind, and even double-checked with another employee. Then, when I got to the edge of the counter, I spied a sign noting possible cross-contamination listing all the major allergens, and how one should be sure to ask the staff about any cross-contamination. It’s an odd and very small gesture, but it means the world to someone like me who’s generally in a constantly worrisome state when dining out. I applaud their taking note, and to me it says a lot about the company & the people.

Photos of the sign & both our meals have been uploaded to the photo section.

And oh yeah… they have BEER! In a Grocery Store! in PENNSYLVANIA! Genius. I didn’t get any this time, but I saw 6-packs of Straub Special Dark for $6.97 and the wife was eying up the extra large bottles of Raspberry Lambic for only $12.99. We will be back to get some beer!

We’ll definitely be back when we’re in the area!

1 person likes this review Recommend

And, here are the photos I mentioned…

Giant Eagle Market District Restaurant

Giant Eagle Market District Restaurant