Category Archives: grilled, barbequed, smoked, and fried

Sweet & Spicy BBQ Ribs

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When it comes to my barbeque, I’m an Eastern North Carolina purist. I believe that the hallowed pulled pork meat should only be basted and sauced in a vinegar and red pepper sauce, and nothing anyone says will convince me otherwise. When it comes to other forms of slow cooked meat, however, I’m a little more open. For instance, on my pork ribs I love nothing more than caramelized brown sugar and a heavy dose of cayenne.

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Recently I spent a day in Raleigh with my Great Uncle Ted and his wife Ann, my great aunt. Ted is my grandmother’s brother, and we were talking about his childhood growing up in Wake County for the Tasting North Carolina series. We talked about our family, his parents and their families, his favorite foods, and his life growing up in North Carolina. We decided on a pound cake recipe from his mother, Flossie, for Wake, but he also shared his famous rib sauce recipe with me and it was too much to pass up.

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When I make ribs I usually do a spice and brown sugar dry rub and allow the sugar to melt and the spices to blend with the smoke from the grill over the course of many hours. Finished with Ted’s sauce (adapted to make it a bit spicier), the ribs were sweet and smoky, crisp and saucy, melt in your mouth perfection. Since we made these a few weeks ago I’ve been wanting ribs all day, every day. I even convinced Dan that making them on a Thursday was totally reasonable even though it meant eating at midnight. I would say that he’s a trooper but, come on, he got ribs.

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This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Pork Council.

1 rack of pork ribs

dry rub:

2 cups brown sugar

2 tbsp chipotle

2 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp powdered ginger


2 cups fresh or canned tomato puree

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tbsp chipotle

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Juice of 1 lemon

Heat your grill to approximately 325F. Mix together brown sugar and spices of dry rub. Wrap a baking sheet in tin foil and place the ribs meat-side up. Rub half of the sugar and spice mix into the meat and then flip over so the meat is touching the pan. Top the bone-side of the ribs with the remaining sugar/spice mix.  Cover loosely with tin foil and place on the grill. Grill 3-3 1/2 hours or until the meat has shrunk away from the bones and easily peels off.

While the ribs are cooking combine tomatoes, sugar, spices, and lemon juice in a sauce pan. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until ribs are done.

Transfer ribs to a plate and top with rib sauce. Serve hot.

Pan Seared Pork Porterhouse

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I think it’s safe to say that in the past year I’ve learned more about meat than in any of my previous years manning the helm of my cast iron collection. After spending the better part of the winter writing and cooking and testing 50 recipes for The Meat Cookbook, I can bone a chicken without even thinking about it and making ribs comes as easily these days as making pie dough. I even made a turducken, for Heaven’s sake! If only my 18 year old vegetarian self could have seen me stuffing pats of butter between layers of birds…

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This is all to say, however, that no matter how much knowledge I’ve acquired in the kitchen, there is always more to learn. It was only recently, in fact, that I learned that pork can be served a delightfully pink medium. Gone are the days of pork chops so dry you drain your water glass with the first bite, these days chefs and home cooks a like are gravitating towards a more tender experience. For this month’s North Carolina Pork Council recipe I took on the pan-seared porterhouse, a new name for a classic cut. Lightly spiced and seared in butter and olive oil to an internal temperature of 120F, this pork chop has given me a fresh appreciation for everything that pork can be. I can’t believe I’ve spent so many years in the dark! Three cheers for seared and medium-rare pork!

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This post is sponsored by the North Carolina Pork Council.

Pan Seared Pork Porterhouse
serves 2

2 bone-in cuts of pork porterhouse (also known as bone-in pork chops)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salted butter

Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and paprika to taste

Clean and season your pork on both sides. Combine oil and butter in a skillet and bring the skillet to a medium-high temperature. Cook the chops 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes, then serve.

For the Love of the Grill

Recently I had the opportunity to partner with Luca, a new online platform for making magazines and publications for mobile devices and tablets.  I’ve loved playing around with it, learning the system and seeing what I could come up with. I decided to start with a roundup of some of my favorite recipes for the grill. So grab your phone, tablet, or computer and get ready to grill!