Celebrate Dad with special barbecue

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Wednesday, June 15, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

Dads and granddads come in all sizes and shapes, all are different and unique, and we love each and every one of them to bits, we do.

If you’re lucky enough to count one or more of these irreplaceable good men in your family, you undoubtedly consider it both a privilege and pleasure (albeit a

lot of well-spent time and energy) coming up with just the perfect dinner to serve Sunday.

Maybe you already know for sure and are certain exactly what to fix for those special guys for that only once-a-year Father’s Day dinner.

Maybe you don’t. Not positive at all, and circling around in a quandary about which, what or ?

In that case, if you’re seriously into from-the-barbecue-type specialties, here are two new possibilities. They’re based on the “Fire, Smoke & Flavor” tour, “bringing the best American barbecue into homes across America.”

This collaboration between Williams-Sonoma and the Voltaggio brothers/chefs Michael and Bryan of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” lets us take a shot at these options.

Michael gives us the how-to for the pressure-cooker/barbecued ribs, as inspired by Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas, while Bryan offers a barbecue-style, oven/Crock Pot combo, inspired by Danny Edwards Boulevard BBQ in Kansas City, Mo.

I wasn’t kidding about the “seriously into barbecue” part: You’ll need a handheld smoking gun and applewood chips to pull off this pulled pork specialty, as specified in the following recipe.

And another thing: On vacations my husband and I have made to other parts of the country, particularly where barbecue is absolutely the must-have thing to eat, we’ve noticed a difference in the terminology.

One instance would be when the waitress asks if you want to have a roll with your barbecue choice and you say,”yes, please,” and what you get on your plate is not what we’d call a dinner roll, but a hamburger bun instead. Which, to our preference, is way better to pile your barbecued meat on than a little bitty dinner roll anyway.

Consequently, it’s perfectly fine with me to substitute good-quality hamburger buns for the white dinner rolls specified, if that seems like a good idea to you, too.

Michael Voltaggio’s Texas short ribs

¼ cup bottled barbecue seasoning
¼ cup hickory-smoked sea salt (Spice Islands makes a hickory smoke salt)
2 tablespoons granulated honey (honey that’s been around long enough to be opaque, not clear and liquid)
2 pounds boneless short rib plate or 2 pounds individual boneless short ribs
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 bottles (each 12 fluid ounces) lager beer, preferably Lone Star
Hickory chips
White sandwich bread
Cheddar cheese slices

In a small bowl, stir together the barbecue seasoning, sea salt and honey. Rub the short ribs all over with the oil and then completely coat with about 6 tablespoons of the spice mixture; reserve the remaining mixture. Pour the beer into the base of a 10-quart stovetop pressure cooker and add the short ribs. Close and lock the lid and bring up to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour. Remove from heat. To release the pressure, run cold water over the lid, then remove the lid. Transfer the ribs to a steel grill fry pan and reserve the cooking sauce.

Prepare a grill for indirect grilling over medium-high heat. If using a gas grill, set a smoker box filled with hickory chips over direct heat. Set the fry pan on the grill over indirect heat. Cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the ribs over, cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes more, adding additional hickory chips as needed.

Transfer the ribs to a cutting board, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 10 minutes. Thinly slice the ribs and mop with some of the cooking sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture, if desired. Serve immediately with white sandwich bread, the cheese slices and extra sauce for dipping.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Bryan Voltaggio’s pulled pork sandwiches

¼ cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried English mustard (such as Coleman’s)
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
2 teaspoons garlic powder or onion powder
1 pork shoulder, 3 to 4 pounds
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1½ cups apple juice
½ cup water
Soft white dinner rolls
Barbecue sauce

In a bowl, stir together the brown sugar, salt, paprika, pepper, thyme, coriander, mustard powder, fennel and garlic or onion powder. Score a diamond pattern on the fatty side of the pork. Insert a knife tip into the pork to create 6 small pockets, spacing them evenly. Insert 1 garlic clove into each pocket. Generously rub the pork on all sides with 6 to 8 tablespoons of the spice mixture; reserve the remaining mixture. Wrap the pork with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap from pork. Place, fat side up, in the oven-safe insert of a slow cooker. Transfer to the oven and roast until the top of the pork starts to crisp, 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer the insert to the slow cooker base and add the apple juice and water. Cover and cook on low according to the manufacturer’s instructions, turning the pork occasionally, until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork, 6 to 7 hours.

Transfer the pork to a deep bowl. Using 2 forks, pull the meat apart into large shreds or, using a cleaver, chop it into large chunks. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Using a handheld smoking gun, smoke with 2 to 3 chambers of applewood chips. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.

Strain the cooking sauce into a bowl. Ladle ½ to ¾ cup sauce over the pork. Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved spice mixture. Serve immediately with rolls and barbecue sauce.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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