Search This Blog

Showing posts with label barbecue. Show all posts
Showing posts with label barbecue. Show all posts

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sweet, Crispy Pork Ribs; Cooked Low And Slow

Dry rub pork ribs cut apart after slow roasting and ready for serving. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt
The summertime debate is on. What is the easiest way to cook pork ribs? Boil, roast or grill? High heat, low heat, wet sauce or dry rub? I’ve tried them all. Now the question is settled, at least for me.  Slow roasting with a dry rub. To avoid summer’s heat, I put the ribs in a 250 F oven before I go to bed. When I wake up, the ribs are moist with a bacon-thin, sweetened crust. And these best-ever ribs cooked while I was fast asleep.
My mother taught me to make pork ribs with a thick coating of sauce sweetened with brown sugar and raisins. Eating those finger-licking ribs was one of my favorite childhood memories.
Everything changed on a busy research trip to Abilene and Fort Worth, when I ate at 25 restaurants in 36 hours. I fell in love with West Texas BBQ.
At restaurant after restaurant, I watched grill masters lay bundles of mesquite into their subcompact-car-sized smokers. With the heavy metal doors open, the wood crackled as flames enveloped the logs The grill masters seasoned their racks of pork ribs with thick, grainy coats of brown sugar and spices rubbed onto the meat.  Waves of dry heat radiated from the smokers. But the heat that would cook these ribs would come not from an open fire but from smoldering mesquite embers.
When the doors were closed, the blazing logs were starved of oxygen. The flames died and a delicate smoke filled the air. At that moment the grill masters loaded in the racks of ribs coated with sweetened dry rub. Hours later, the ribs were removed, their outer coating thickened to crispness, creating what grill masters call “bark.”
I loved those ribs even more than the ones from my childhood.
At home, without the benefit of a smoker, I experimented for years to duplicate that sweet-crispness. Nothing could ever recreate the wonderful mesquite smokiness but I did succeed in making ribs with bark as good as any I enjoyed in West Texas.

High heat versus slow cookingMix of kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, cumin, coriander and cayenne for dry rub slow roasted pork ribs. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

Mix of kosher salt, black pepper, brown sugar, cumin, coriander and cayenne for dry rub slow roasted pork ribs. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt

Cooking with high heat is exciting. There is great pleasure in watching the pyrotechnics of an outdoor grill as sizzling fat catches fire.  Roasting at low heat in the oven lacks that excitement.
And yet, what happens in an oven set at 250 F has its own kind of magic. In the darkness of the oven, the waves of steady heat melt the fat inside the rack, tenderizing the meat and gently fusing the dry rub to the outside of the ribs.
The best magic of all is that the oven does the work. No standing over a blazingly hot grill on a hot day. Once the oven door closes, there is nothing to be done.
Walk into the kitchen and a savory-sweet aroma scents the air. Pull the baking tray out of the oven and press a finger against the outside of the rack. The soft pliancy of the meat has been replaced by a jerky-like crust as sweet as a crème brulee topping.

Slow-Roasted, Dry-Rubbed Pork Ribs

Rack of pork ribs, trimmed. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt
Cooking time depends on the size and thickness of the rack.
Buy good quality pork. Asian and Latin markets are often a reliable source of fresh pork products. Unlike the ribs sold in upscale supermarkets, the ribs in these markets will most likely be untrimmed.
Above the actual ribs, the rack will have a top portion with boneless flap meat and a section with thick bones similar to country style ribs.  Another smaller piece of flap meat will stretch across the back of the rib bones.
Requiring only a sharp filleting knife and a few minutes, removing the flap meat and the top portion is not difficult. The flap meat is excellent to use in stir fries, slow roasted in the oven or grilled on the BBQ.
A white membrane is attached to the outside of the flap meat. Use a sharp filleting knife to separate the meat from the membrane and discard.
The flap meat and country style bones can be prepared in the same manner as the ribs.  They will cook more quickly and should be removed from the 250 F oven after a total of 2 to 3 hours depending on thickness.
While the rack of ribs does not have to be turned over, the flap meat and country style bones should be turned over after one hour for even cooking. After another hour, use kitchen shears to cut off a small piece of meat to test for doneness. Return to the oven if the meat is not yet tender.
To eat the country style ribs, have a sharp paring knife handy to help cut out those hard to reach tasty bits tucked between the bones.
The ribs can be cooked ahead and reheated. In which case, do not cut apart the ribs until ready to serve. Reheat in a 300 F oven for 15 minutes.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 6 to 8 hours
Resting time: 5 minutes
Total time: 6 hours, 35 minutes to 8 hours, 35 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
1 rack pork ribs, 4 to 5 pounds, washed, dried
3 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cumin
¼ cup coriander
½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
Directions
1. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 250 F.
2. Select a baking pan or cookie sheet that is 2 inches longer than the rack of ribs. Cover the pan with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Place a wire rack on top of the aluminum foil.
3. Lay the rack of ribs on a cutting board, bone side up. Use a sharp filleting knife to remove the tough membrane on the bone side of the rack. Let the knife help you lift the membrane. Use your fingers to pull the skin off the bones and discard.
4. Do not cut off any fat.
5. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
6. For easy cleanup, lay a sheet of plastic wrap on the cutting board. Place the rack on the cutting board. Layer a thick coat of the dry spices onto both sides, covering the meat and bones.
7. Reserve left-over dry rub in an air tight container and refrigerate for later use.
8. Carefully place the rack of ribs on the wire rack meat side up.
9. Put the baking sheet into the preheated oven.
10. Roast six hours. Remove from oven. Use kitchen shears to cut off a small piece and taste.
11. The outside should have a jerky-crispness. The meat inside should be moist and tender. The tapered end of the rack where the bones are small will cook faster than the rest of the ribs. Use the kitchen shears to cut off that section before returning the rack to the oven for another one-two hours. Be careful not to dry out the meat.
12. Once the ribs are cooked, remove from oven and let the meat rest five minutes.
13. Cut between the rib bones and chop into pieces any flap meat without bones. Serve hot with a green salad, Cole slaw, baked beans or freshly steamed vegetables.
Main photo: Dry rub pork ribs cut apart after slow roasting and ready for serving. Credit: Copyright 2016 David Latt.
 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Spicy Sweet Ginger-Garlic Chicken Wings

Being creative in cooking sometimes means breaking the rules or borrowing a sauce from a traditional dish and using it in a non-traditional way.
When a diner is served the popular Vietnamese soup called pho, a basket of fresh green vegetables and bean sprouts accompanies a giant soup bowl filled to the brim with meat and noodles. For seasoning, a dipping sauce is also provided.
In a flash of inspiration, I realized the dipping sauce would make a delicious marinade for chicken. For Zesterdaily I wrote a recipe for Pho Buffalo Wings that gives the tender wings a beautiful glaze, flavored with ginger-heat and sweetness.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Texas Baby Back Ribs for Father's Day

Sure it's a cliche, but one you can hang your hat on: most guys like meat.
On any other Sunday, you'd probably find dad in front of the grill, doing damage to burgers, dogs, shrimp and steak. With red hot mesquite or briquets supplying the fuel, dad happily flips his victims until he's got caramelization underway and char marks in all the right places.
But not this Sunday. Oh, no.  This is Father's Day when everyone else should be rolling up their sleeves and doing due diligence in pursuit of dad's favorite food.
What's special about this day is that dad can rest. Drinks and food will be laid on the table without any effort on his part.
As a dad, myself, I enjoy this day. My sons, Michael and Franklin, are very good cooks. They grill and saute with the best of them and, like their dad, they fill the table with lots of choices.
Recently I visited West Texas and enjoyed myself immensely at the Wildcatter Ranch, a delightfully rustic resort, about an hour and a half north-east of Abilene.

Chef Bob Bratcher, self-taught and a cowboy at heart, showed our group how to break down a beef tenderloin and cut ribeye steaks out of what he called the "stick".
For two days we feasted on chef Bob's creations, not the least of which was a magnificent 14 ounce, bone-in ribeye steak with a peppery crust on the outside and perfectly medium-rare, juicy inside.
One of the other memorable dishes he shared with us was his baby back pork ribs, coated with the Wildcatter Ranch dry rub he makes himself.

The ribs were tender and sweet. The bone side of the rib had a thick coating of chef Bob's dry rub. Unlike traditional powdery, dry rubs, his was thick with cracked black pepper and celery seed. That added a pleasing crunch as we gnawed on the bones.
Chef Bob was kind enough to share the recipe with us and it's perfect to make for Father's Day.
Wildcatter Ranch Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs
Cooking the ribs at low temperature for a long time is the secret. Slow roasting brings out the sweetness of the meat.
Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Marinating Time: overnight
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Ingredients
2lbs pork baby back ribs
¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 cups Rib Rub (recipe below)

Bob's Rib Rub
The rub can be made ahead but because the garlic is fresh, use within 24 hours of preparation.
Ingredients
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
1 cup dried oregano leaves
½ cup paprika
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon celery seed
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 ½ cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon (ground)
2 teaspoons dry minced garlic
2 teaspoons granulated garlic

Directions
Mix all ingredients together in bowl and store overnight in airtight container until ready to use.

Pull the silver skin off the backs of the ribs.  Season the racks liberally with fresh lime juice and the rub.  
If you have a barbecue grill or a smoker, get it hot on one side and place the ribs on a rack over an aluminum lined pan on the cold side of the grill.
If you're using the oven, heat until 250 degrees.
In either case, cook for 2 ½ hours. Fork-test the meat to confirm it is tender.
The ribs can be cooked ahead of time, even the day before.
30 minutes before serving, wrap the rack tightly in foil, and bake in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Cut the ribs apart and serve on a platter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday Eats and Treats

Last year I wrote about celebrating my birthday on Super Bowl Sunday. We're doing the same thing this year and we'll be enjoying all the same treats.

My birthday isn't on Super Bowl Sunday, but it's close enough that every year I double-down and celebrate my birthday and football on the same day.

I didn't much care about the sport until our youngest son, Michael, taught me to love all things football. From the time he was 3 years old, he watched Sports Center and would grill me about which QB was the best--I didn't have a clue. He's off at UC Davis now and all that's different now. These days, my favorite TV show--with the exception of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report--is Showtime's Inside the NFL.

We've invited a dozen friends to come by the house and watch the game. I don't want to get stuck in the kitchen, so everything we're serving will be made the day ahead.

Only the Bacon Wrapped Shrimp appetizer has to be grilled on the day so the bacon is crisp and the shrimps are juicy. Just before kick-off, we'll reheat the wings and ribs and we'll be ready to watch what promises to be a great match up.

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp

You know the expression, "Bet you can't eat just one," well it applies to this appetizer. My son Franklin mastered this recipe when he was putting on feasts to entertain his college roommates. He taught me and I'm happy to pass it along to you.
Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound shrimps (25-35 count/pound), washed, shelled, deveined
10-12 bacon strips
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, peeled, finely chopped
1 shallot, peeled, finely chopped
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, washed, finely chopped
Toothpicks


Method

Heat the olive oil in a pan and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sauté the finely chopped parsley, garlic, and shallot in the olive oil until lightly browned. Let cool. Spoon the seasoned olive oil over the shrimp. Toss well and let marinate for 30 minutes.

Organize an area on the counter so you can work assembly-line style.

Cut the strips of bacon into 3 equal pieces. Toss the shrimp again, then take one shrimp and lay it on the piece of bacon, rolling the bacon around the shrimp. Take a toothpick and push it through the bacon-shrimp-bacon to hold it together. Set aside and do the rest.

Using tongs, put the shrimp on a hot grill and close the hood. If you're using an oven, set it at 450 degrees and put the shrimp on a wire rack over a cookie sheet. Turn every 2-3 minutes so they cook evenly and don't burn, about 10 minutes.

Serve on a platter with napkins.

Carrot Salad with Lemon-Soaked Raisins

A great accompaniment for the ribs and wings, the salad also goes well with deli meats like turkey breast or ham or grilled steaks, chicken, or sausage. The lemon-pepper soaked raisins and the roasted nuts bring some surprises to a familiar side dish.

Yield 6-8 servings
Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

8 large carrots, preferably farmers' market fresh, washed, peeled, ends trimmed off
1 scallion, optional, finely chopped
1 small bunch Italian parsley, washed, dried, stems trimmed, finely chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of cayenne
Sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Method

Soak the raisins in lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight Grate the carrots in a large mixing bowl. Roughly chop the raisins, reserving the lemon juice not absorbed into the raisins.

Mix together the carrots, raisins, parsley, and scallions. Season with the cumin, cayenne, sea salt, and black pepper and toss. Add the lemon juice and mayonnaise. Mix well.

Variations

Use cilantro instead of Italian parsley

Add 2 tablespoons capers

Top with 2 tablespoons roasted chopped almonds

Caesar Salad

The dressing can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days, then all you have to do before serving is tear up the lettuce, shake on some cheese, add the croutons and pour on the dressing. Perfect for a half-time snack.

Yield 4 servings

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 garlic clove, skin off
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 anchovies
1 large egg, farmers' market fresh
1/4 teaspoon Worcester sauce
2 hearts of romaine or 1 large frisee, leaves washed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2-3 drops Tabasco, optional
1/4 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
1/2 cup croutons, homemade
Black pepper

Method

Use a wooden bowl if you have one. Sprinkle the sea salt on a wooden cutting board. Mash the garlic back and forth on the salt with the flat side of a chef's knife, then sweep the garlic-salt mash into the salad bowl.

Boil water in a small saucepan. Add the egg and cook for 4 minutes. Remove the egg, let cool, open, scoop out the yolk and white with a small spoon, and add to the salad bowl along with the Worcester sauce, optional Tabasco, olive oil, and lemon juice.

Using a fork, mash the anchovies against the side of the salad bowl so they dissolve in the dressing. Mix well.

Tear the romaine leaves into pieces or chop up the frisee, add to the salad bowl, top with grated cheese, croutons, and season with pepper. Toss to coat the leaves.

Taste and adjust the flavors by adding more lemon juice or sea salt.

Variations

Add 1/2 pound grilled, shelled, deveined shrimp, whole or roughly chopped

Add 2 chicken breasts, skinless, grilled, thin sliced

Add 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, roughly chopped

Brown Sugar Pork Ribs

The cooked ribs can be kept in the refrigerator covered 2-3 days or frozen in an air-tight freezer bag.
Yield 4 servings

Time Prep (20 minutes) Marinate (overnight) Cook (2 hours)

Ingredients

1 rack pork ribs
2-3 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Olive oil
Black pepper
6 ounces Italian tomato paste
1 small yellow onion, peeled, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped

Method

Trim excess fat, the membrane, and flap from the ribs. Caprial Pence the owner-chef of Caprial's Bistro in Portland, Oregon and a fellow contributor to Eat Drink or Die shows how to prep the ribs with easy-to-follow photographs. Reserve the flap, trimmed of its membrane, to grill for tacos.

Spread a piece of plastic wrap on the counter 5” longer than the rack. Dust the meat side of the ribs with the cayenne.

Mix together the brown sugar and kosher salt. Spread half the dry mix on the plastic wrap. Lay the ribs on top, then cover with the rest of the dry mix. Cover with a second piece of plastic wrap, seal, fold in half and place into a Ziploc or plastic bag. Refrigerate in a pan overnight.

In the morning remove the ribs. The dry mix will have transformed into a slurry. Very alchemical! In a sauce pan sauté the onions and garlic with olive oil until lightly browned, season with pepper. Remove the ribs from the plastic bag. Use a rubber spatula to remove most of the liquid from the ribs and plastic bag and transfer to the sauce pan. Add the tomato paste and simmer the sauce on a low flame for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the flavor if necessary.

Line a large baking tray with tin foil. Place a wire rack on top of the baking tray, then lay the ribs on the rack. The ribs can either be cooked in a 350 degree oven or on the “cold” side of a covered grill with the heat on high.

Whether on the grill or in the oven, cook the ribs 30 minutes on each side, then baste the ribs with the sauce and cook another 30 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from the oven, cut apart the individual ribs, and serve.

Kimchi Chicken Wings

The natural partnership of kimchi and brown sugar brings a sweet-heat to these finger lickin' good wings.

Yield 4 servings

Time Marinate overnight. Cook approximately 60 minutes

Ingredients

2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, washed, pat dried
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup kimchi, finely chopped
1 tablespoon kimchi water from the bottle
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, washed, peeled, sliced thin
2 tablespoons soy sauce

Method

Dissolve the brown sugar in the kimchi water, olive oil, and soy sauce. Add the kimchi, onion slices, and chicken wings. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking tray with tin foil for easy clean up. Place a wire rack on the tray and arrange the wings on the rack. Drizzle the wings with olive oil. Put into the oven and bake 30 minutes. Turn over with tongs. Bake another 30 minutes.

The wings should be tender and golden brown. If not, turn the wings over and continue baking another 10 minutes.

Check again and continue baking at 10 minute intervals, turning the wings each time, until they are done.

In a small saucepan on a low flame, reduce the marinade by a third. Reserve.

The wings should be eaten hot. Pour the heated, reduced marinade over the wings just before serving.

Serve with plenty of napkins and ice cold drinks.

Variations

Add 1 tablespoon julienned garlic and 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley to the marinade
Just before serving, top with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion

Banana Cake with Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Now it's time for something sweet. The cake is best served warm, topped with powdered sugar and grated dark chocolate. Ice cream and whipped cream are good too.

Yield 8-10 servings

Time 90 minutes

Ingredients

4 ripe bananas
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup half and half or 1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups white flour
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and paint the inside of a 9 x 3 round cake pan, then put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. The frozen butter prevents the batter from sticking to the pan.

Bake the walnuts on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes. Let cool, roughly chop, and set aside.

In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork, add the baking soda and vanilla. stir well and set aside. In a mixer use the whisk to cream together the softened butter and both sugars. Add the eggs, mashed bananas, half and half (or cream) and whisk until blended. Mix in the flour half a cup at a time, being careful not to over-beat.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a rubber spatula to blend in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the buttered cake pan. It will only fill the pan half-way, which is good because the cake will rise.

Bake the cake in a 350 degree oven for 60-70 minutes, turning the pan every 20 minutes so the cake cooks evenly. Test to see if the cake is done by inserting a wooden skewer. If the top is browning too quickly, lightly lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the top. When the skewer comes out clean, take the cake out of the oven and place on a wire rack for 30 minutes.

Remove the cake from the pan, putting it back on the wire rack to finish cooling.

Just before serving, dust the top with powdered sugar and shaved chocolate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Easy-to-Make Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

I haven't been home for the last three weekends and I'll be traveling the next two as well, but I'm not complaining. It's been good to get out of Los Angeles and break my routine. But traveling means eating out and even if the food is great, I miss home-cooking.

When I got home I wanted to make a meal but I needed to cook something that didn't take too much effort. A rotisserie chicken definitely fit the bill. With only a couple of minutes of prep, I could walk away and let the chicken cook itself. The skin seals in the meat's delicious juices while it crisps on the outside. You get the best of both worlds: moist and crisp.

Whenever I've seen rotisserie masters like Thomas Odermatt of RoliRoti, they always put potatoes and onions in the drip pan at the bottom of the rotisserie. The vegetables soak up the drippings and fry crisp-on-the-outside from the indirect heat. I correctly assumed that a lot of other vegetables could be added to the drip pan and gain a flavor advantage.

If you don't have a rotisserie, no problem. You'll get a similar effect if you roast the chicken in the oven. Just turn the chicken every 30 minutes so it cooks evenly. About the vegetables, I used potatoes, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and Brussels sprouts but you can add just about any you like--eggplant, squash, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, turnips...

Chicken-Roasted Vegetable Soup

And there's a two-fer here: save the bones and make stock, then chop up the left over roasted vegetables or sauté new ones, and make a chicken-vegetable soup. Top with homemade croutons and you have a second easy-to-make home cooked meal.

Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 2 hours


Ingredients

1 farm fresh 3 1/2 – 4 pound chicken ( washed, pat dried, legs and wings trussed)

2 carrots (washed, ends trimmed, peeled, cut into 1/4" thick rounds)

1 yellow onion (washed, ends trimmed, peeled, roughly chopped)

1/2 pound Yukon (washed, cut into pieces 1/2" square) or fingerling potatoes (washed, cut in half, lengthwise)

1/2 pound mushrooms (washed, dried, quartered)

1/2 pound Brussels sprouts (washed, root end trimmed, quartered)

Olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

Sea salt and pepper


Method


Rub olive oil on the trussed chicken, season with rosemary leaves, sea salt, and black pepper. Put onto the rotisserie spit being careful to tighten the wing nuts so the chicken doesn’t slip during cooking. If a rotisserie isn’t available, roasting the chicken in a 350 degree oven and turning every 30 minutes will have a similar result.

In either case, put the vegetables into a roasting pan, toss with olive oil and season with sea salt and pepper. If using an oven, put the chicken on a roasting rack over the pan. If using a rotisserie, position the chicken on the spit so its juices will drip onto the vegetables.


Every 30 minutes, toss the vegetables for uniform cooking.


Cook for 2 hours or until the legs move easily, remove, lay a piece of aluminum foil over the chicken to let it rest 5 minutes. Put the vegetables on a plate and either lay the whole chicken on top or, what I prefer for ease-of-serving, cut apart the chicken and slice the breast pieces.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The 20th Annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-Off

Labor Day Weekend I was one of 18 judges at the amazing Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook Off at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks, Nevada, I was also covering the event for Peter Greenberg's travel site. The piece I wrote "Ribs, Ribs, and More Ribs," is up now with a profile of two of the cookers (don't call them "chefs"). I hope you'll take a look.

Part carnival and music festival, the Labor Day weekend Cook Off was front and center a celebration by and for people who love pork ribs.

Some days the temperature pushed above 100 and other days the wind picked up, but no matter, everyone was having fun and that means 500,000+ people standing in line to sample the ribs from 24 of the best barbecue cookers in the country.

The weekend was a blast and I'm going to write more about what I saw, how the judging worked, the people I met, the music I listened to, the barbecue sauces I tasted, and the enormously large amount of meat I ate in a four day period.