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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flat Bread

Tonight, I wanted something simple, so I made some flat bread. A very simple process, using a biga, 65% hydration bread dough with a mix of AP flour and Bread flour to get a nice soft crumb. The dough was made last night and allowed to slow rise overnight. It was lightly kneaded this morning and panned.
The dough was topped with sliced grape tomatoes, chopped celery and garlic, some Todd's Dirt BBQ rub (very herbal), kosher salt and some fresh ground Phu Quoc black pepper. Then it was drizzled with Red Boat fish sauce and local olive oil, Arbequina Olives I believe. Into a 520F oven (yes, no kettle today) and baked for 14 minutes. Ta daaaa!
Randomly chunked up, this bread had a very nice crumb, with a very crisp exterior, thin crust that you could hear crackling as it cooled. The interior crumb was tender with just the right elasticity and pull. The toppings were just right for this type of bread, which was not quite foccacia and not quite ciabatta.
I plated with a dribble of black currant infused balsamic vinegar and some of the olive oil. This bread, with it's herbal and savory components was very nicely offset with the sweet, almost port-like character of the vinegar and the smootness of the olive oil. I could not be happier with the crumb.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Poobah Rib Sandwich

The McRib, modern cultures ridiculous take on the idea of a rib sandwich. Why would anyone think a bunch of formed pork trimmings could stand in for real ribs in any guise. But, what to do with the craving for a rib sandwich? How would one go about making a rib sandwich. Well, presented with this question, Phil Rizzardi, founder and owner of The BBQ Brethren, one of the most popular BBQ and outdoor cooking forums on the 'net decided it was easiest to just slap a rack into a loaf of bread. While this is clearly a good idea, here is my riff, in honor of Phil.

I purchased a rack of baby back ribs, I prefer quality pork so these were selected at my local butcher shop, I was greatly encouraged as when he picked up the rack, it bent in half forming a upside down U. How much easier is it to make tender ribs when starting with tender ribs?
These were given a little prep work, essentially just removing the membrane and washing them off. Then a rub was applied, I went with Simply Marvelous Cherry Rub spread on twice, one an hour before the other, the second application happening just before going onto the kettle. I did grind on some additional Phu Quoc black pepper as well, it just adds a nice punch to everything.
From here, onto the kettle with chunks of peach wood, cooking at 220F initially and ramping up to 250F over about two hours or so. It was then removed and plopped onto some foil. Yep, I foiled my ribs, competition style, which is not something I normally do. But, since this was for Phil, and he loves his competition BBQ, foil it would be.
On the other hand, I am eating them, so I added some coconut palm syrup, some more rub and freshly ground pepper and some Red Boat Fish Sauce and Lucky Dog hot sauce to the foil. The ribs went meat down onto the foil, was wrapped and put back on the cooker for about 45 minutes. Here is came off the kettle after another 45 minutes un-foiled. These looked and smelled great. Initial samples verified that the meat was very tender, the surface was very balanced between sugar, salt, savory and smoke.

Beautiful pink color in that sliced meat, with excellent texture and a pull from the bone texture. I really think anyone would be happy with these ribs, just enough pull to come clean with a slight tug, melt in your mouth texture. Here is the section of the rib slab I selected for dinner, I truly think I could compete with these, but, boned and placed on bread, this was going to be a good dinner.
I added some hand sliced apple cabbage slaw to top off the sandwich and clean up the diet by claiming I had veggies with dinner. The slaw was left pretty crunchy and basically seasoned with Phu Quoc black pepper.
I give you the Grand Poobah Ban Me sandwich. (sorry, had to taunt the mods a little here)
This sandwich really did have a great flavor with a nice smooth smoke and very balanced flavor and texture.