Coleslaw is almost a requirement at any barbecue. It’s a delightful blend of creaminess and crunch, of sweet and acidity. You can chop the cabbage and carrots from scratch or from a pre-made bag, and as long as you get the dressing right, it will be a hit that compliments just about any main dish you pull off of the fire.
The Saint Brian’s Burger was what started it all. In 2014, I was feeling like Saint Brian’s BBQ wasn’t going to get off of the ground in the face of all of the hurdles that exist in starting a food-based business. My wife’s uncle, Ira Gutman, owned a hot dog joint in Cherry Hill called Coll Dog Cafe where they served up deep fried gourmet, all-beef hot dogs with all sorts of toppings. He graciously offered up his kitchen for making the sauce, and made a “Saint Brian’s Burger” special that featured the rub and the sauce.
The Cool Dog isn’t there any more (Ira has since opened the Moondog Grille in the Moorestown Mall), and I’ve moved on to a professional kitchen, but the Saint Brian’s Burger is a classic that will never go away.
The Saint Brian’s Breakfast Barbecue Burger is an amazing way to start a weekend of fiery cooking revelry.
Set the scene: you’ve organized a weekend campout/cookout for your friends. The sun has peaked over the horizon, night’s cool still hangs in the air, the morning mists cling to the ground. As your guests awake and emerge, the grill is already fired up and you’ve started breakfast, it’s alluring aroma mixing with coffee brewing on the fire. Beef, sausage, avocado, egg…it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t.
The key to this dish is preparing all of the ingredients (mise en place) prior to firing up the grill. As a secondary point, being gentle with the eggs will allow for the yolks to run out all over the burger at the first bite and will really tie all of the ingredients together.
While you can use white cheddar in this recipe, it will be well-worth it to use raclette.
Caveman steaks are deceptively easy to make, and have the bonus of making you look like a rock star at the fire pit.
Pulled pork is a staple of smoking, and something you definitely need to have in your tool box. You can either serve the finished product straight up, in a sandwich, a taco, mix it in a salad…the options are nearly endless.
While you can use a picnic shoulder for this, I prefer Boston butt. It has a better fat-to-meat ratio, which yields pork that’s easier to pull and just melts in your mouth.
The key to this is maintaining a relatively steady temperature in your smoker. It’s also important that you leave the pork in the smoker long enough. This will be about 12 hours out of your day if you’re going low and slow, which is the best way to smoke it.
Pro Tip: At a certain point, around the 160 degree range, you will hit the “stall”. The internal temperature will continually rise until it hits this point, at which time it will slow to a crawl, and may even stop for a while. Leave it alone. I repeat: don’t touch it. Leave it alone. Don’t jack up the heat. Don’t reposition the pork. Don’t call your guests and cancel the barbecue. Just relax, be patient, and once the evaporative cooling has finished, the temperature will begin to climb to 195 again. Here is a good explanation for what is happening.
Shortcut: if you can’t dedicate 12 hours to maintaining your fire, you can cheat a little bit. After the first few hours, you won’t be able to get any more smoke on the meat (the smoke will have penetrated the meat as much as it will), so it’s just about maintaining a cooking temperature until the internal temperature hits 195 degrees. After the first few hours, you can transfer the pork to a oven preheated to 250 degrees and finish it in there.
Baby back ribs are, with close competition from Boston Butt, the kings of barbecue. They are crowd pleasers, a staple of both backyard barbecues and competition pit masters, and absolutely delicious. With the proper preparation and a little patience, they are also deceptively easy.
Before you dive into the recipe below, check out these two videos on how to properly select rack of baby back ribs and on how to properly prepare them before putting them on the smoker.
I had this idea a few months ago…just popped into my head. I thought a ravioli stuffed with pork belly would be awesome.
The idea percolated over the next couple of weeks: it would need acid and savory flavors to balance the saltiness of the pork belly. So maybe some cheese, and an apple vinaigrette dressing.
I finally pulled the trigger today to see if my idea would work.
It started with a trip to Reading Terminal Market. I stopped by Martin’s for the pork belly, and Downtown Cheese to get some advice on which cheese I should use. I can’t recommend these guys enough, they are super knowledgeable and seem genuinely happy to share that knowledge. Definitely stop by there when you get a chance.
They recommended raclette for this, by the way.
I got some Dash Cunning Spice Rub on the pork belly and started it smoking with cherry wood.
While the meat was smoking, I made the apple vinaigrette from scratch.
Once that was wrapped up, I made the pasta for the ravioli from scratch and let it dry a bit.
Once everything was ready to go, I filled the ravioli, battered them in buttermilk (actually I added a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of 2% milk and created buttermilk), dredged them in breadcrumbs, and fried them in olive oil. The sound of them frying away was very satisfying.
The end result: delicious.