Following our excellent talk with Dinosaur Bar-b-que's John Stage, we are now ready to turn our hard-nosed lot on our nation's Atlantic Coast. Included below are two different recipes that can separate you as a bar-b-que master worthy of any tailgate in the ACC. The first is a tried and true BBQ ribs recipe from John Stage himself. The second featuring pulled chicken prepared with spices and a CNY staple, Wegman's Wing Sauce!
But alas, we all know that one can not truly be hard-nosed in front of the grill unless he or she has world-class suds nearby! Fortunately, we have author, TNIAAM contributor, and beer guru Aaron Goldfarb on hand to offer a few recommendations for each recipe that will take your bar-b-que experience to the next level. Let's do this!
John Stage's Dinosaur-Style Ribs (Prep Time: 30 minutes; Total Time: 5 hours)
2 racks pork spareribs, St. Louis cut
1/2 cup all-purpose Red Rub (preparation below)
Mop Sauce (preparation below)
3 Cups hickory wood chips
All-purpose Red Rub
1/2 cup paprika
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated garlic
6 tablespoons granulated onion
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons all-purpose red rub
1) Make the rub. Dump all the ingredients into a bowl and rub them together with your hands. Store in a plastic or glass container until ready to use (Makes 3 Cups).
2) Make the mop sauce. Throw everything together in a 10-12" saucepan and bring to a boil. Cool, pour into a plastic container, cover and refrigerate for later use. (Makes 2 Cups).
3) Prepare the smoking packets. Put 3 cups of hickory wood chips in a bowl and cover them with water. Soak for at least half an hour. Drain well and divide between two squares of aluminum foil. Form into 2 individual packets, poking holes in one side. Set aside.
4) Prepare the grill. Pull off the grill rack and fire up a charcoal grill. Spread out the coals once they're good and hot, piling them on one side of the bottom of the grill. Set the wood chip packets on top of the coals. Please a drip pan filled with a half inch of water on the side opposite the coals. This will catch the drips from the ribs and keep things moist inside the grill. Re-position the grill rack over the coals and drip pan. Cover the grill and let the fire simmer down a bit.
5) Make the ribs. Rub the ribs all over with the rub, making sure you are getting it into every surface (You can even do this step well in advance). Use just enough to coat the ribs evenly.
Grab the ribs and position them on the rack over the drip pan. Cover the grill and test its internal temperature by dropping an instant-read thermometer down the vent hold. You want the grill to be from 225 to 250 degrees (same temperature you would use in an oven).
6) Walk away from the grill and let the heat and smoke do their thing. Come back to check on the ribs in about 45 minutes. Then check on things once every hour. If the ribs are looking a bit thirsty, mop lightly with the mop sauce. If the temperature of the grill is dipping below 225 degrees, add a few more coals to the fire.
7) Test the ribs. Test the ribs for doneness once they've been cooking for 3.5 to 4 hours. You'll know they are done if you can gently tear the meat between the bones, or poke your finger through the meat, or if they've reached an internal temperature of 180 degrees, or if they bend nicely when you grab them in the middle with a pair of tongs. Once done, get out the mop sauce and apply a final coat. Go Orange!
Amazing! Now beer (and likely a hammock) is going to be an absolute necessity while you wait to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Fortunately, we have author and TNIAAM contributor, Aaron Goldfarb, on hand to offer a few home-grown New York beer selections to make the time fly while you man the coals. Aaron, hit us with some knowledge!
Aaron: When it comes to slightly spicy ribs, I've long opted for a nice tropical IPA to cut through the heat, but for my two picks, I'm going to break the rules a bit.
Carton Boat Beer -- Or a lot in this case. I was asked to select New York State beers, but I think the perfect pairing for these ribs is a New Jersey state beer. We can pretend Met Life Stadium is in New York, and we can pretend likewise for this Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey (a mere 45-minute ride from downtown Manhattan) offering. Boat Beer is from a new breed of what beer geeks are paradoxically calling "session" IPAs. In normal people talk, that means you can drink a lot of them over a long amount of time. In Syracuse fan talk, that means you can spend all day tailgating in that aforementioned Met Life parking lot getting shit-faced on Solo cup after Solo cup. Despite an ABV similar to corporate light beer swill, Boat Beer's flavor profile is intense, slightly bitter, and a perfectly flavorful option alongside these ribs.
Captain Lawrence Pleasantville Smoked Porter-- Lately this summer, instead of contrasting my beer with BBQ, I've enjoyed matching brew to cue. In other words, opting for those woody, campfire-y, almost meaty-tasting smoked beers and rauchbiers. in a perfect world, New York State would have something to match legendary German rauchbier Aecht Schlenkeria, or even a new stateside favorite of mine, Framingham, Massachusetts' Jack's Abby Smoked Maple Lager. Alas, we do not. Our next best option is a smoky Porter from Captain Lawrence that tastes like chocolate-covered bacon. For those who don't like their liquid to taste their meat, you can chicken out and just tipple an Oktoberfest, like Brooklyn Brewery's good-enough offering.
Buffalo-Style New York's College Team Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (featuring Nora Swofford's Blue Cheese Slaw)
This is the sandwich, according to legend, that sealed SU's acceptance into the ACC. John Swofford made this chopped chicken recipe using his gas grill, added some of his wife Nora's homemade blue cheese slaw, and found it so good, he called DOCTOR Darryl Gross with an invitation to the conference on the spot.
If you don't have the time or patience to slow cook this one, you can cheat by buying some rotisserie chicken, slathering some Wegman's Wing Sauce and add the slaw...just know that John Swofford would look on disapprovingly!
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 4 lb. roasting chicken, neck and giblets removed
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Wegman's Wing Sauce (for mopping)
3 cups hickory wood chips
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup mayonnaise
5 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 scallions (green onions) - tops thinly sliced
1 16-oz package of coleslaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
salt and pepper to taste
potato hamburger buns or slider rolls
1) Make the rub. Combine the black pepper, thyme, oregano and cayenne pepper in a bowl and mix with your hands. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin of the chicken over the breast and thighs. Apply the rub to the chicken by rubbing the mixture evenly under the skin. Set chicken aside to prepare the grill and smoking packets.
2) Prepare the smoking packets. Put 3 cups of hickory wood chips in a bowl and cover them with water. Soak for at least half an hour. Drain well and divide between two squares of aluminum foil. Form into 2 individual packets, poking holes in one side. Set aside.
3) Prepare the grill. Light the grill and set all but one heating source to medium/low (try to achieve 250-275 degrees with the lid closed). Place a shallow pan half-full of water at the edge of the grill rack. Add the wood chip packets to the grill.
4) Make the chicken. Place the chicken, breast side up, on the grill rack away from the heat. Cover the grill and smoke the chicken, mopping wing sauce on the chicken every 30 minutes, for two hours or until the chicken registers 170 degrees with a meat thermometer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes. Pull meat off the bones and chop the chicken. Mop the chopped chicken with more wing sauce and prepare to add to the sandwich buns.
Nora Swofford's blue cheese slaw (15 minutes)
1) Gently mix together the blue cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add the celery, green onions and coleslaw mix and stir until well coated.
Once the chicken is prepared, add a hard-nosed portion to a potato bun. Top with the cole slaw, and Go Orange!
Beer Pairing from Aaron Goldfarb: Buffalo sauce calls for something sharp and fizzy (the fizzier the better depending on the amount of buffalo heat you opt for), while blue cheese always calls for something sweet. So let's split the difference.
SingleCut 19-33 Queens Lagrrr! - It's far too easy to pair hoppy IPAs with anything bar-b-que and luckily New York State has quite a few: Peekskill's Amazeballs and Higher Standard, Ithaca's Flower Power, and Brooklyn's Blast are a few of my favorites. Instead of IPAs though, I'm going to go with something more friendly for the, ahem, masses and offer a pilsner from Astoria, Queens. Clean and crisp, yet prickly on the tongue, 19-33 has enough flavor to make you realize you're not drinking carbonated piss, but not so much flavor it'll overwhelm the star of the day: the game!...I mean, the food.
Newburgh Brown Ale -- Honestly, nothing says blue cheese like big, bold barleywines...unfortunately, New York State doesn't have a particularly great one (though Andean's Kuka-Imperial IPA Rye is so malty sweet, it almost does the trick). Anyhow, you probably won't want to be polishing off a typically 10%-plus ABV barleywine while tailgating, would you? Instead, let's stick with something lighter and less aggressively sweet, like this flagship offering from one of New York State's most exciting new breweries.
Well, there you have it, fellow Magicians! Two killer recipes (and accompanying beers) that are sure to turn your next tailgate into something any self-respecting ACC football fan would be proud to eat! I want to give a special thanks to John Stage and Aaron Goldfarb for contributing their knowledge and passion to the series. Now go out there, fire up the coals, and make us all proud!