Oh yes. And some awesome new wines! Chef Storm and his friend Chef John Mercer (see This Post) did a super, awesome job preparing these goodies. This was a special dinner put on by these two very talented Chefs. It will not be available at all times. Their Prime Rib, though, is just as good. Look at what we enjoyed today. (Left Click any of these photos to see them enlarged!)
A really good, substantial, down home meal at the Sandbar, Cafe with a Cause in Marsing, Idaho on the Snake River. Definitely worth the trip from Boise or Nampa or Caldwell. Here is the link to their website and menus – Sandbar, Cafe with a Cause located at 18 Sandbar Ave, Marsing, ID. (208) 896-4124. Here is what we had for brunch. They serve breakfast all day and if you have something special, you may get the Chef to make it for you. Just ask. Left-Click any of these photos to see them enlarged. We will be back to the Sandbar! Everything is cooked fresh and they use local products as much as possible.
And such a great party it was! 80 people plus attended and we felt quite honored to be included. Robin did help start the winery back in the early to mid 1970’s. From their web page, “On a fall day in 1976, as ravens taunted from tree branches above, Joel Peterson worked doggedly to bring in four tons of grapes before a looming thunderstorm hit. The fruit he crushed that night was used for one of two single-vineyard Sonoma County Zins – the first wines to bear Ravenswood’s signature ring of ravens. The fledgling winery got off to a great start when those wines came in #1 and #2 at a prestigious San Francisco tasting in 1979. With the critical thumbs-up, Joel was able to gather a few wine-loving investors to help get his winery off the ground. He still didn’t have enough money to buy property, so he looked around for more grapes.” Ravenswood Winery, web page.
But before we get there, we had to travel. Here are some of the places we stopped. Donner Summit is the high pass before we hit the Sacramento Valley.
And the night before the super Ravenswood birthday, we must eat dinner. Here’s what we had at the Sonoma Grille. Super patio eating, if you wish. Awesome meal!!
And now to Ravenswood Winery. Happy 40th Birthday!!
breakfast the next morning before departing at the Sunflower Caffe in Sonoma.
And now ………….. Back to Boise!!
I have been hearing a lot in the past several years about the 3-2-1 Method of grilling ribs. Here is the latest information that I could find. Not difficult at all and some of the pro grillers use this method. In his article, The Controversial 3-2-1 Method for Ribs, Steven Raichlen, Grilling Authority, http://www.barbecuebible.com, says that,
“Competition barbecuers sometimes call it the “Texas Crutch.” In a nutshell, you break cooking ribs into 3 time blocks:
3 hours of smoking unwrapped at 225º F, followed by
2 hours of cooking wrapped in foil (with a little liquid, such as apple cider), followed by
1 hour of cooking unwrapped at a higher temperature, with a generous basting of barbecue sauce
The process gives you meat so tender it virtually slides off the bone, with the multiple layers of flavor most of us associate with great barbecue. And within a predictable 6-hour time frame, too.
It’s relatively fail-proof, meaning that if you follow the directions, you are almost guaranteed you’ll avoid the dual pitfalls of ribs that are tough or dry. And if you serve ribs cooked by the 3-2-1 method, 95 percent of the people who taste them react with delight and will declare you a barbecue genius.” [http://www.huffingtonpost.com]
A couple of suggestions at this point may help. Some people use a spray to baste their ribs throughout the process. This is not really necessary, but it won’t hurt anything. If you use a mister, use apple cider in it. And the “white skin”, that membrane located on the “boneside” of the ribs. “It is nice to remove it but it’s not worth a lot of frustration so try to do the best you can and leave it at that. It’s hard to get a picture of this being removed but you simply lay the ribs with the boney side up. You will notice a thick plastic like skin covering the meat. Slip a knife or other sharp object under it and try to get enough pulled up so you can grab it. Grasp it with a paper towel for good grip and pull it clean off if you can. If it tears, no worries. Just make another go at it. You may have better luck with catfish skinning pliers.” [ Jeff Phillips, smoking-meat.com, Smoked 3-2-1 St. Louis Style Spare Ribs]
What about the “type” of ribs? Baby Back? St Louis style? From Major League Grilling, “Furthermore, loin backs ribs or St. Louis style ribs benefit most from the 3-2-1 method. Otherwise, cook times will have to be modified if cooking with baby back ribs or spare ribs. Also, do not use this technique on country ribs or beef ribs, it doesn’t work as well because the country ribs are too lean and the cook times along with the flavor profile is all wrong for beef.” They also give a little better instruction and definition of the 3-2-1 Method. “What is 3-2-1? This method is a way to smoke ribs from start to finish. 3-2-1 represents the amount of hours the rack of ribs cook at each stage. In other words, the
[unwrapped] ribs smoke for 3 hours [225º F]
wrap for 2 hours and
cooks without smoke for the last hour, [on a hot grill].
Total, the ribs will spend 6 hours on the cooker.”
What is our preference? Robin and I like/prefer the St Louis style ribs. They seem to be a little more meatier and flavorful. And we only use pork ribs. No beef ribs. That is a personal thing and has nothing whatsoever to do with the quality of the ribs. We just like the pork ribs better.
And lastly, the rub! Major-League Grilling haas this to say about rubs. “Once in a while, I make my own rubs, but my homemade rubs are not quite as good as the rubs on the market. For this reason, I find so many great BBQ rubs at the store that it’s hard for me to stick with one. Although, the one constant is Plowboys Yardbird rub, for several reasons this is my favorite. Many times I have used the Yardbird rub and combine it with another rub with excellent results. But just for the record, I got 1st place using Plowboys alone. Listed below are more of my favorites:
Dizzy Pig Pineapple
Penzey’s BBQ 3000
Penzey’s Galena Street
Smokin’ Guns Hot
McCormick’s Grillmates Sweet & Smoky
Notice that each one of these rubs have a high concentration of sugar in them. In particular, brown sugar is the main ingredient in many pork based rubs. It is because brown sugar compliments pork extremely well while at the same time, the low temperatures of the smoker or grill caramelizes the sugar and gives it an eye pleasing look and a delectable aroma.”
So. Take your pick of rubs. Choose the rib style you like and get grilling. It’s that time of year! Cheers!
Nothing better than a good, bone-in grilled pork chop! Or pork loin! Or pork shoulder! Or pork ribs! Or pork tenderloin! Ever grill hog jowl or pork cheeks? Do you really know and understand the cuts of pork, where they come from on the hog and what they are used for? Here is a great link for Pork Cuts Glossary, some really great information from The Nibble. Here is a start in understanding hog jowl or pig cheeks from Wikipedia.
Pork jowl (alternately called jowl bacon or, especially in the Southern United States, hog jowl) is cured and smoked cheeks of pork. Hog jowl is a staple of soul food, but is also used outside the United States; the Italian variant is called guanciale … Jowl bacon can be fried and eaten as a main course, similar to streaky bacon, such as in a traditional full English breakfast. Often, it is used as a seasoning for beans, black-eyed peas or with cooked with leafy green vegetables such as collard greens or turnip greens in a traditional Southeastern meal. A Southern US tradition of eating black-eyed peas and greens with either pork jowls or fatback on New Year’s Day to ensure prosperity throughout the new year goes back hundreds of years. Jowl meat may also be chopped and used as a garnish, similar to bacon bits, or served in sandwich form. Pork jowl can be used as a binding ingredient in pork liver sausages such as liverwurst and braunschweiger [and scrapple]. Because pork jowl is cured, like many other cuts of pork, it has been a traditional wintertime food as it is able to be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.
I have heard of guanciale, but what is it?
Guanciale (Italian pronunciation: [ɡwanˈtʃaːle]) is an Italian cured meat or salami product prepared from pork jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek. Guanciale is similar to the jowl bacon of the United States … Pork cheek is rubbed with salt, sugar, and spices (typically ground black pepper or red pepper and thyme or fennel and sometimes garlic) and cured for three weeks or until it loses approximately 30% of its original weight. Its flavor is stronger than other pork products, such as pancetta, and its texture is more delicate. Upon cooking, the fat typically melts away giving great depth of flavor to the dishes and sauces it is used in … Guanciale may be cut and eaten directly in small portions, but is often used as a pasta ingredient. It is used in dishes like spaghetti alla carbonara and sauces like sugo all’amatriciana … It is a specialty of central Italy, particularly Umbria and Lazio. Pancetta, a cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, is sometimes used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.
Pork jowl is also called Pork Chaps; Bajoues (French); Guanciale (Italian); Bochechas de porco (Portuguese). Interesting. If you would like to see a chart of the cuts of pork, check this link from Culinary Arts Cuts of Pork. Enjoy the info and have a great grilling season or smoking season. A great source for pork and other fresh meats in the Boise area is Homestead Natural Foods (they are also at the Boise Farmers Market in Boise at 10th and Grove each Saturaday). Thanks Ed, for the discussion on pork products this morning. It’s always great to chat with you. Cheers!