Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Think barbecue out of the box

Recipes defy definition with new twists to standard smokin’ fare

July 18, 2001


— Think barbecue, and visions of ribs, brisket and pulled pork probably fill your head.

And those dishes, smoked in a covered grill for hours, are "real" barbecue. But a loose (and still tasty) definition can be anything that fuses the right flame, cut of meat, blend of spices and finishing sauce, according to John Stage, co-owner of the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que restaurant in Syracuse, N.Y., and co-author of a new cookbook of the same name.

"In each bite, you should taste the smoke, the sauce, the spice and the meat," he said.

So in addition to the standards, "Dinosaur Bar-B-Que: American Roadhouse" (Ten Speed Press) includes recipes for barbecue turkey breast, tuna with wasabi-green onion barbecue sauce and lamb shanks braised in rosemary-red wine barbecue sauce.

In the book, Stage said he's "a big fan" of anything braised, which, when done correctly, has a fall-off-the-bone tenderness.

This broader swath of barbecue means foods that are lower in fat and quicker to cook are also candidates for grilling, said Karen Adler, co-author of "Easy Grilling & Simple Smoking With the BBQ Queens" (Pig Out Publications).

Better yet, the home chef doesn't need an oil drum-turned-barbecue pit to grill these dishes. Everything from an electric grill in an apartment kitchen to a gas grill with all the bells and whistles works for most foods.

Adler's recipes range from sweet raspberry-glazed pork tenderloin to simple salmon steaks with grilled red onions. Some have a distinctively female bent for example, the "Dad-Doesn't-Cook-Today" strip steak.

"If you're grilling, do it hot and fast," Adler said. "If you're really barbecuing or smoking do it slow and low."

Lamb Shanks Braised

in Rosemary-Red Wine BBQ Sauce

6 lamb shanks (about 4 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/3 cup and 1/4 cup olive oil, divided use

2 1/2 cups chopped onion

3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 cups dry red wine

2 cups beef broth or stock

3 springs rosemary

1 cup Mutha Sauce, recipe follows (1 cup store-bought barbecue sauce can be substituted)

1/2 cinnamon stick

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make a couple of shallow slits through the silvery skin on both sides of each shank. Sprinkle the meat on both sides with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Heat a large, heavy frying pan over a medium-high flame. Pour in 1/3 cup olive oil and get it hot and fragrant. Add as many shanks as will fit comfortably in the pan without crowding, and cook until richly browned, about four minutes. Turn shanks and brown the other side. Pull the shanks out and drop in a roasting pan. Continue browning the rest of the shanks. Once all shanks are browned, clean the roasting pan and pour in the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil.

Put the roasting pan over medium-high heat and add the onions, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until soft; then toss in the garlic and cook one minute more. Pour in the wine and broth and bring to a boil. Add the rosemary, Mutha Sauce and cinnamon stick. Pour everything over shanks and cover roasting pan tightly with foil. Put pan in the oven to braise for one hour; then pull it out and give the shanks a flip. Pop them back in the oven to cook for another hour.

Once the shanks are tender and the meat is pulling away from the bone, put on a platter. Cover and keep warm. Strain the braising liquid and skim the grease. Pour the liquid into a small pan and reduce by half. Keep warm.

To serve, spoon sauce over each shank.

Makes six servings.

This Mutha Sauce is used in the braised lamb shanks and several other recipes in "Dinosaur Bar B Que."

Mutha Sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup minced onion

1/2 cup minced green pepper

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

Pinch each of kosher salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 28-ounce can tomato sauce

2 cups ketchup

1 cup water

3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce

1/4 cup spicy brown mustard

3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Pour the oil into a large saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions, green peppers and jalapenos and give them a stir. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until soft and golden.

Add the garlic and cook for one minute more. Dump in everything else. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Cool. Pour into a container, cover and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Salmon Steaks With Grilled Red Onion Slices

4 (6-ounce) salmon steaks or fillets

1 red onion, peeled and sliced thickly

1/4 cup teriyaki sauce

2 tablespoons vinegar

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Rinse fish thoroughly and place in a glass dish. Top with onion slices. Combine the teriyaki sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and oil. Pour over salmon and onion slices. Marinate for 15 to 30 minutes.

Remove salmon and onion from the marinade and place on a greased grill rack. Grill over hot fire for 10 minutes per inch of fish thickness.

Makes four servings.

Recipe from "Easy Grilling & Simple Smoking"

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