Sunday, 24 May 2009

Quick Smoked Ribs and Smoked Potato Casserole

We are finally having some decent spring weather. It's been a crappy one, to say the least, that when we got a hot sunny day, the only thing that needed to be done (apart from a swack of yardwork) was to smoke something.

After finding out that both my neighbour and I were each baching it this weekend, we decided to do a girls dinner. We each had been working for hours in our respective yards, that by the time we were ready for supper we were exhausted, starving, and did I mention exhausted.

I figured ribs would make for a good supper, but I hadn't planned ahead to get them on for a long, low and slow event in the smoker. At 4:00 p.m. I figured, ribs were still the desired grub, but would have to be creative to make them work - that is cooked in such a way that they would still be tender and have some smoke flavour in under two hours.

Because ribs have a tendency to dry out on the smoker if they are not spritzed, I figured I would start them out in foil so that they wouldn't lose all of their steam. After coating the ribs in a ancho chili dry rub, I wrapped them in foil and placed them in the smoker for 1.5 hours, at which time I removed them from the foil and placed them back in the smoker and dowsed with raspberry bbq sauce.

Now you might be thinking, what a waste to have something in the smoker wrapped in foil, unable to soak up the smokiness and flavour. All was not lost , as I put together a potato casserole to smoke alongside of the ribs. Plus, because the ribs were finished outside of the foil on the smoker, they did get a bit of smokiness.

I love this potato casserole for two reasons. First of all, its actually made from hashbrowns - which I know come from potatoes, but I'm not fully convinced they have the same nutritional value as a real potato and I always feel like they're trying to pull one over on me. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't prevent me from making it, it just cracks me up. I also love it as it reminds me of a 1960s housewife recipe which should be served alongside a bunch of hors oeuvres - each stuck with a toothpick. Again, this isn't a criticism, it's endearing.

Sticking with the lack of planning for this dinner, I quickly realized I didn't have all of the ingredients for this recipe, so I stared ad libbing. With a bit of improvisation and some borrowed cheese from my neighbour, I got a yummy potato casserole. In fact, it was so good, I'm going to replace the former recipe in my repertoire with this one.

So there it is, some quick smoked ribs that were super tender and tasty and an extra yummy smoked potato casserole.

Quick Smoked Ribs
2 racks meaty baby back ribs
1/2 cup ancho chili dry rub*
3/4 cup raspberry barbecue sauce*

Coat the ribs with the dry rub and let sit until tacky, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the smoker with cherry or apple pellets on high heat. Wrap the ribs in a double layer of foil and place on the smoker. Adjust the temperature to 325F. Let cook for 1.5 hours. Remove the ribs from the foil and place directly on the smoker. Glaze generously with the barbecue sauce.
*I use recipes for the rub and bbq from this

Ad Libbed Smoked Potato Casserole
6 cups hashbrowns, frozen
1 medium onion diced
1 can cream of celery soup
1 1/2 cup 1% cottage cheese
1 cup grated marble cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the hashbrowns, onion, celery soup, cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup of grated marble cheese. Place in disposable tin. Cover with remaining grated marble cheese. Smoke at 325F for 1.5 hours.

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