Tag Archives: BBQ

Smoked Ribs, a Tribute to the Zü

Christian and I don’t eat a lot of meat these days. We’re not vegetarians, but we are recovering graduate students and meat lightens our pockets more quickly than vegetables do. During my senior year of college, I lived in a vegetarian COOP called “the Zü.”  Initially, I was non-too-pleased about the idea of eating meat just once a week. (I’m from the Midwest, where the main food groups are meat and potatoes and sweet corn is considered a “vegetable.”) However, I am forever grateful to my “crunchy granola” housemates for teaching me that vegetarian food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard and leave you severely malnourished. They helped me re-imagine my dinner plate. Vegetables went from being “side dishes” flanking over-portioned hunks of animal protein, to center plate all-stars laced with flavor and accented by lesser-known proteins, like lentils, peanuts, black beans, chickpeas, yogurt, eggs, and quinoa.

Look at all us hippies!

On the rare occasion that we cooked meat at the Zü – about once a month – the meal took on ritualistic proportions. We savored every moment of the process, from prep to first bite. Meatlovers would come out of the woodwork, following the wafting scents into the kitchen.

Peeling crawfish in the Zü kitchen

In loving memory of those nights in the Zü kitchen with barbeque slow-cooking in the oven, I decided to smoke some ribs…

St. Louis-style ribs from WFM

Christian and I bought these ribs from Whole Foods Market. It was an impulse buy; we were cruising past the meat counter, and these babies caught our eye. One look at each other and there was a mutual understanding that this meat needed to be in our bellies and not behind a glass counter.

Rubbed ribs

A nice trick learned from Tyler Florence (TFlo)…Mix lime juice, water, and white vinegar, add to BBQ rub of choice to form a paste that will adhere to the ribs and create a thick, savory crust when cooked. Caution: be sure your BBQ rub isn’t overly salty. We learned that the hard way.

Cedar planks courtsey of Betty Hahn

First, I placed the ribs over soaked cedar planks to protect them from the hot coals. They cooked this way for about 30 minutes.

Smokin'

When the ribs were nearly cooked through, I threw the wet planks on top of the coals and placed the ribs on the hot grate.

We bought this grill for $25 off some grad students

I covered the grill and let the ribs smoke for another 10 minutes or so. Then I took the lid off and fed the fire, which created a good charred crust on the meat.

Deliciousness.

Isn’t that beautiful???

My first ribs

Helloooooo ribs!!!

Man eats rib.

Satisfied husband = Mission accomplished

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Filed under Dinner, Food, Nostalgia

Meat Candy

Yesterday we hiked the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve – a natural preserve East of Hwy 360, South of Westlake Dr, and North of Bee Caves Rd. To put it mildly, the preserve was spectacular! The trails, though short, were well maintained, and the grounds were well mapped and marked. The overlooks provided gorgeous views of the surrounding Westlake area, with only minimal interruptions from neighboring McMansions.

There was even a “waterfall” and some very challenging uphill climbs. Sarah was reminded of the “Notch” hike in Western Massachusetts that she and her Amherst classmates used to climb on sunny days and starry nights. According to the Wild Basin website, the preserve was established thanks to the efforts of  seven “little old ladies in tennis shoes.” Thank you L.O.L.’s!

A man who's about to mess up some brisket

And how better to follow up a morning hike than with a gut-bomb BBQ lunch? Initially, we tried to eat at JR’s Texas-style BBQ on Rosewood and Chicon, but the sign listed “sold out” at noon. Either their BBQ was THAT good, or “sold out” was simply a euphemism for “We didn’t feel like working today.” So, we moseyed on down the road to Franklin BBQ at East 11th St. It must have been the hand of God that steered us in the right direction that day, because both of us agreed that Franklin BBQ was hands down the BEST barbecue we’ve ever tasted. And this is coming from a die hard brisket critic (Christian) and a not-so-big-of-a-fan-of-Texas-BBQ (Sarah). We split the brisket and sausage plates.

Meat. Candy.

Sausage = 8.1 out of 10 (not too salty, good texture, nice “pop” feel when we bit into it, good smokey, spicy flavor). Brisket = 10 out of 10 (MEAT. CANDY.). That’s right folks…you read that correctly, MEAT. CANDY. The best darn crust on a brisket we’ve ever tasted. No sauce necessary. Tender and super moist. Delish. As one customer standing in line behind us put it… “I’ve never seen white boys make barbecue like this before. What planet are y’all from?”

Another satisfied customer!

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Filed under Austin, Food, Hiking, Review