mytopleft

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day food porn, duh

I received inquiries as to whether there would be food porn for Memorial Day. Duh. The beauty here, of course, is that I can put most of this up for July 4th and Labor Day, as well. Talk about economies of scale.

 Anyway, Memorial Day, along with the far more serious reasons for the holiday, marks the beginning of the summer season. Pools open, people bust out the Slip 'n' Slide, the Super Soakers come out and, best of all, folks dust off the outdoor grill to do some serious backyard cooking. People who are really serious dust off two backyard grills -- one gas, one charcoal. Naturally, Chez Wolves is a two-grill backyard.

Why two grills, you might ask? Only if you are among the uninitiated, of course, but you are legion. The answer is simple: some shit can't be cooked properly on a gas grill. Having established that, on to the food porn. This is going to be a non-linear food porn post, because we are preparing several different dishes at the same time. Work with me. We start with the ribs.

Get a rack or two of pork short ribs. Cut them into manageable sections, generally of the size you would serve to people. Say, two to four ribs per section. Bring a big pot of water to a boil, toss those ribs in and boil them for about 20 minutes. They will look like this when you take them out:


Technically speaking, these ribs are now cooked and are safe to eat. Only a barbarian would eat them at this point, because they will be so much better later.

OK. Go down to your patio, your deck or wherever you keep your charcoal grill, and for God's sake, don't use charcoal today. Get hickory chunks, follow the directions (more or less the same as for charcoal, with some variations) and start a hickory fire in your grill. Throw the boiled ribs on the grill when it is ready.


After they have cooked some (and been turned), put the lid on so that hickory smoke flavor will permeate the porky goodness that is getting more tender by the moment on your grill.

You're gonna need a sauce. If you put Kraft on these ribs, do the world a favor and shoot yourself. There are commercial sauces available that are OK, but I won't use them. King's Barbecue in Petersburg, Va., makes magnificent sauce. You can get some at www.kingsfamousbarbecue.com. You really should. It will make you a better person. It will also make you better ribs.



So once the sauce is on the ribs (put it on one side, grill a while, then turn and put it on the other side) move the ribs out of the way of the direct heat, like so:


Then put the lid on, and let the ribs get tender. Don't let them burn or dry out -- you might want to reapply sauce -- but let them cook for a while. When they have reached the point of tender perfection -- eating one is the best way to tell, in more ways than one --  yank those suckers off the grill and there they are:



OK, so that's the ribs. I told you this was non-linear, right? Kind of like "Pulp Fiction." Anyway, back in time to the potato salad. So you start with white potatoes. Use as many as you see fit given the number of people attending and how much you want left over the next day.

You will also need to hard-boil some eggs. Same considerations apply:


While the eggs are boiling, peel the potatoes, and chop them into potato-salad sized cubes. You know what I'm talking about.
 The eggs probably are off the heat by this point and you have peeled them. You also put the cubed potatoes into a pot to boil until tender. You will drain them and let them cool a bit, because it is a pain to work with really hot potato cubes. Just sayin'.
 Put your now-cooled potato cubes in a big bowl, and get some mustard, pickle relish, mayonnaise and the eggs you boiled and peeled earlier.
Sliced and dice the eggs and put them in with the potatoes. Then add relish, mustard and mayonnaise, basically to taste, to the mixture. Start small and adjust how much you put in to your personal preference. Stir it all up and refrigerate. We're working ahead, remember? Nonlinear.

OK, baked beans. I usually make my own from scratch, but that is a serious pain and takes a lot of planning, since you have to start about two days ahead of time to do it right. So today I used Bush's Best Original Baked Beans.

Naturally, you can't leave well enough alone, so feel free to add more bacon or such. I chop up an onion and toss that in.

Personally, I sautee my onions a bit before putting them in. Up to you. Mix that all up in a casserole dish and set it aside. When the time comes, you will bake it covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. But not now.

Now, grab a few ears of corn -- again, how much depends on how many people are coming -- shuck those suckers and toss them into a pot of water. You won't cook them until everything else is almost ready. For corn, start from zero, put the heat on high. As soon as it is boiling, turn the heat off. Serve when you are ready.

We're nearly there. Get your hot dogs and hamburgers -- naturally, you made your hamburgers by hand, roughly four to the pound -- and toss those suckers on the gas grill, because your charcoal grill is busy with the ribs:

If your hot dogs aren't a little black when they're ready, you're doing something wrong


Grill the burgers however you like --rare, burn 'em, I don't care -- and serve 'em up. Catsup, mustard, pickles, cheese, whatevs. Go for it. Your plate should look something like this:


Perhaps come July 4th I'll show you how to make your own baked beans. In the meantime, bon appetit.

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