Sunday, 1 March 2009

Smoked Beef Ribs and Garlic Parmesan Smashed Potaotes

When you think about it, the smoker and pressure cooker are a good cooking match. The pressure cooker is great for quick weekday meals, and the smoker is good for weekends when you have more time to prepare a low and slow meal (even if you're busy during that time, you can pop out to tend to your smoker while doing other stuff).

Then there's in-between times which was today. We hadn't planned anything for dinner, but did make plans late this morning to have our neighbours over. We didn't know what we were going to make, but after hitting one of our favourite butcher shops came away with some fantastic looking beef short ribs. I still wasn't sure how I would prepare them as I had neither made them in a pressure cooker or a smoker previously. I flipped through some recipes and found one that could be prepared on the smoker within four hours - perfect!

In one of my earlier blogs I mentioned that garlic powder does have a place in the world, and this is where it is. Smoker cooking. The recipe I chose, Chili-Raspberry Beef Shortribs in Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food, had a first step where you simply sprinkle the ribs with garlic salt (I used powder) and ground pepper. Done!

Using a mix of alder and pecan pellets, I preheated the smoker on high for 15 minutes, put the seasoned ribs on, and turned it down to 250F. That was it for the smoker for 3 hours. (Pause here)

When dinner time got closer, I prepared the baste for the ribs. Given that this recipe is primarily ketchup, I have to say that the addition of the few other ingredients - raspberry vinegar in particular - turned it into a whole new entity. I'm not even a fan of ketchup, but in this form I was licking it off the spoon (avoiding to double dip of course).

While the ribs continued to cook, I prepared the smashed potatoes. The recipe was inspired by the March 2009 issue of
Gourmet magazine. They boiled nugget potatoes then smashed them slightly with a potato masher. I had leftover roasted nugget potatoes, so I smashed those instead. Then I used melted 1/3 cup butter with 3 clove of garlic to baste the potatoes. Wanting it to be a make-ahead dish I opted not to pan-fry them but bake them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400F. After removal I topped them with finely grated parmesan cheese. They smelled fantastic while cooking and tasted pretty darned good.

Cooked Nugget Potatoes - pre smashing

Above: Nugget Potatoes Post Smashing

During the last hour of smoking, the ribs were basted every 15 minutes with the chili raspberry sauce. The finished product was a tender, meaty beef falling off the bone that had the tasty sauce flavour, without being drowned.

Above: The ribs after 3 hours and before basting

Above: The final product - Chili Raspberry Smoked Beef Shortribs

Although I like to cook, I'm not much for making desserts. So when our friends asked what they could bring, I of course suggested dessert (plus I know they are particularly good dessert makers!). They brought a fabulous apple crisp. I don't have the recipe, but it was just as a crisp should be - yummy flavour without being too sweet, apples just cooked so that they are not mushy, and a chewy topping.

The perfect ending to a meal!

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