Recipe of the Week

Main Ingredient - Rubs
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

It has been years since I learned to make  competition-worthy barbecued baby back ribs. And I still consider myself lucky to have learned from some of the best in the business.

My first year at the barbecue competition Memphis in May, the head cook from a team called Bubba’s Bunch befriended me and taught me to make ribs the same way barbecue great John Willingham did. Willingham was the creator of the amazing all-purpose barbecue rub known as W’ham Seasoning. And it is amazing stuff.

Following my rib tutorial, I made those ribs more times than I can count, and have taught them many times in my barbecue classes. I named the recipe after the team who taught me, and they are perfect for a first-timer. Or if you are like me, it may become your go-to recipe for ribs.

All you need are a love of great barbecue and three ingredients — meaty baby back ribs, lemons and my W’ham-inspired rib rub. You can make these on a gas or charcoal grill or a smoker

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

The great thing about the rub is that the fluffy fine citrus zest explodes with flavor but doesn’t make the dry rub wet.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

This rub was inspired by two seemingly disparate things: Kansas City barbecue guru, Paul Kirk and all the Midwestern barbecuers that use lemonade mix in their barbecue rubs, AND, a trip to Mexico. Now, that may sound crazy…and mixed-up but, interestingly enough, there is a lemon-chile concoction sold in Mexico that everyone uses instead of salt on fresh fruit and veggies. It is pungent but oh, so, good! So, I started mixing and grilling and came up with this Crazy-Mixed-Up Rub. I use it on grilled fruits and veggies as well as pork, chicken and fish, but I do not recommend it for beef. It is also great sprinkled on fresh fruit such as mangos and tart apples, and used as a seasoning for citrus and jicama salads.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel

These double-cut pork chops are coated with a sweet and salty rub and then cooked slowly over indirect heat until the outside of the chops are deeply caramelized and crusty. That sounds good enough for the Girls to walk a few miles for – but the real taste trick is in grilling cut oranges flesh-side down directly over the heat and squirting the hot charred orange juice on the pork chops just before serving.

Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

There are basically two ways to top popcorn — wet and dry.

Let’s start with wet toppings, such as melted butter. Melted butter is always a crowd pleaser, but you have to make that version just before serving or else it gets soggy. Plus, buttered popcorn is always best hot. Other wet toppings, such as melted chocolate, should be applied to popcorn spread flat on a baking sheet, then allowed to cool. Otherwise it becomes soggy.

The advantage of dry flavor toppings is that you can make the popcorn a few hours in advance, then serve it room at temperature. Just make sure to add the spices while the popcorn is hot. My three favorites are truffle salt, Parmesan cheese and a sweet and spicy barbecue rub.

To cook the popcorn for use with a dry topping, I use a heavy enameled cast-iron Dutch oven set over medium heat. I heat the empty pot for about 2 minutes over low heat, then pour in the olive oil and the popcorn, increase the heat to medium and immediately place the lid on the pot. The heavy pot helps prevent the popcorn from burning and almost all of the kernels pop. I find that a good olive oil gives the popcorn a great flavor and that you won’t even want to add melted butter.

As soon as the popcorn is popped, I pour it out of the pan into the biggest bowl I have. I toss the popcorn with the seasoning and continue to toss so that the steam doesn’t make the popcorn soggy. When the steam dissipates, I toss it a few more times, taste to make sure that I have enough flavoring, then let it come to room temperature in the bowl. At this point you can place it in serving bowls or baskets or even individual paper bags to give your guests.

And don’t forget to pair your gourmet popcorn with a flute of sparkling wine. The make the perfect high-low party combination!

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

Try these sweet and saucy Killer Ribs coated with Crazy Good Dr. Pepper Barbecue Sauce ( it's so good, it's crazy!). They are good anytime of the year or the week for that matter, but we are partial to making them on Sundays when all the errands are done and you've got all day to tend the fire and drink some beer!

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Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

My friend, "the legend" Mike Mills, uses Magic Dust on everything! It is the secret behind his award-winning ribs and makes the best seasoning for popcorn! Try is on any manner of pork and chicken and in barbecue sauces, baked beans and anything else that needs a little magic! Mike says, "you'll want to keep some in a shaker next to the grill or stove. Keeps indefinitely but won't last long."

Created by Elizabeth Karmel

The combination of herbes de provence, dehydrated garlic, and coarse sea salt works on everything from vegetables and lamb, to fish, shellfish, poultry and pork ! Try this rub “tumbled” on cherry tomatoes and you’ve got an appetizer addiction that is actually good for you

Created by Elizabeth Karmel
Created by Elizabeth Karmel

This rub is the ultimate comfort rub and might even make your favorite griller break out into the Simon & Garfunkle song. It works well for roast potatoes, carrots, onions and beef, as well as pork, chicken and even hearty fish.

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hi elizabeth3
a food fanatic and the Grill Girl from North Carolina who has seasoned, basted and tasted my way across the country. Please join me on my non-stop, culinary journey...


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