Tuesday, June 29, 2010

St. Louis Style Ribs

Prepping St. Louis style pork ribs, from Tag'z 5 Star Meats, for tomorrow evening's smoking. Smoking one rack for Just-a-Pinch. They're an on-line recipe club based in Franklin, TN. They'll be on Fox 17 News, Nashville @ 6:30AM, July 2nd with several "July 4th" recipes. http://www.justapinch.com

Dry Rub:

1/4 cpaprika
1 Tbspblack pepper, fine
1 Tbspkosher salt
1 Tbspchili powder
3/4 Tbspgarlic powder
3/4 Tbsponion powder
1/4 tspcayenne pepper

Mix the above 7 ingredients together.  Afterwards, apply a generous coat of dark brown sugar over the meaty side of the rib.  Wrap in saran wrap and then aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight.

I start out with the ribs (2 full racks) on a cookie sheet, or the like, and keep them wet with Apple Cider Vinegar & Orange Juice for about 2 or 3 hours. I use an inexpensive spray bottle and just keep spraying them intermittently during this time.
 During the time you're keeping them wet with the vinegar, go ahead and mix the rub ingredients in a mixing bowl.
 Afterwards, I'll lightly coat both sides of the ribs with pulp free orange juice.
 Next, I apply basic Yellow Mustard, lightly, to both sides of the slab/s.
 Lastly, I apply the "rib rub" (see ingredients above) evenly to both sides of the slab, the extra on the meat side.
 Now, it's time to wrap them in aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. I keep them in the fridge for 12 - 18 hours.
 Cooking day:
Take the ribs out of the fridge at least two full hours before you plan to put them on the cooker/smoker. They need to be at room temperature before placing in/on the cooker/smoker.  I prefer to smoke them with Applewood or Pecan.
I like to smoke the ribs at a temp no higher than 220 degrees F. "Low & Slow"
 I'll cook the ribs for about 90 mins, not turning nor opening the cooker. You can spray the ribs with the Apple Cider Vinegar while they cook, if you wish, to help keep them moist.
 Then, I'll take them out and wrap them in aluminum foil for the next 90 mins.
 At the 3 hour mark, I'll remove the foil and cook the remaining time. Based on your temp, it'll take another 1 - 3 hours. When you start to see the rib bone exposed from the meat about 1/4 to 1/2 inch, you're getting close. I insert a toothpick between the meat and the bone. When the toothpick will push, easily, the full length of the toothpick down into the meat, you're very close to done.
 Note: If I'm cooking a rack wet, then I'll start to apply the sauce during the last hour or so of cooking. I don't mind if the sugar in the sauces blackens just a smidge.....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Endive into dinner

A quick and easy recipe for Sunday evening's dinner. I grilled everything and it took about 15 minutes to cook and about 30 mins to prep. We chose grilled endive, French bread and asparagus... We spread garlic olive oil over the endive and bread. The asparagus was marinated in garlic olive oil, cracked black pepper and Kosher salt. Afterwards, I wrapped the asparagus in alum foil and placed it on the top rack of the grille for about 20 mins. With the grille at 450 degrees, I grilled the bread and endive for about 5 mins or so. Grille the bread as done as you like it and grille the endive until the leaves are wilting and you have grille marks. I grilled the endive, cut side down, and did not turn it. While that was cooking we mixed up the blue cheese, applewood bacon, mayo, milk, sour cream and shallot dressing for the endive. No vino tonight. We went with Pomegranate martinis. Cheers to all...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

White Wine and Grilled Artichokes

I'm always up for a grilling challenge. Today, it was whole artichokes. I boiled them and then prep'd them for the grille. Additionally, I made a spicy aioli for dipping. And, I decided to compare two white wines and taste them with the artichokes. I had a Gruner Veltliner (white grape from Austria) and a white blend from Venge Vineyards. The Gruner Veltliner was a '07 "Singing Gruner Veltliner" and at a great price, $13. The Venge Vineyards was the '09 Champ des Fleurs (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc & Viognier) about $24. The Gruner Veltliner was the color of greenish yellow, citrus and lemon on the nose and somewhat acidic with a slight white pepper finish. The Gruner would go well with Sushi. As for the Venge Vineyards white blend, the color was like wheat straw and it was much less acidic, peach and apple on the nose, nicely balanced, medium bodied in the mouth and a nice finish. Both wines paired well with the grilled artichoke & spicy aioli sauce and they were both refreshing on a hot Tennessee summer afternoon. Give'm both a try. Cheers to all...

Friday, June 25, 2010

David Family Wines

If you're a lover of the Pinot Noir, be on the lookout for "David Family" Pinot Noir. I recently watched a video where 3 of their Pinot Noirs were being tastd. They sound awesome! Based on your mood, something a little lighter and more fruit forward to something bigger and much more complex. Give it a try when you find it. Cheers to all...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

In a wine rut - breakout

Do you find yourself walking around the wine store looking and looking and looking??? Maybe you tend to always go with something that you've had before or maybe you choose something based on a "cool" wine label. Hey, we've all done that. Here are two bottles that I recommend and they're both at a great price. Domaine Jean Bousquet Reserva Malbec - about $18 and Apaltagua Cabernet Sauvignon - less than $15. You can find some great Argentinean and Chilean reds at great prices so the next time you're looking to expand your horizons, give these two a chance. Cheers to all...

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

White Wine Wednesday - {W3}

If you normally drink Chardonnay, try a Pouilly Fuisse (Poo Yay - Foo Say) instead. Pouilly Fuisse is made from the Chardonnay grape, 100%. Grown near Macon in Burgundy, France. And if you like Sauvignon Blanc, substitute a Pouilly Fume (Poo Yay - Foo Mae) instead. Pouilly Fume is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grape from the Loire (Lwar) Valley, France. Don't let those labels intimidate you. Cheers to all...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Choosing the perfect Pinot Noir for you: Think about the Pinot Noirs that you've had before - light, fruity, less tannic vs earthy, less fruit forward and a bit more tannic. If you can tell your wine assistant, in your favorite wine store, this, you're well on your way to finding another gem. I've found Pinot Noirs to be very different so if you try one and don't like it, choose another and you're likely to get a different outcome. Look for the tasting notes on the back label, some have notes, some don't. Old World or New World you're sure to find some that will change your life. Cheers to all...
STOP sweltering and START sipping... Pick up a bottle of Prosecco & proceed to cool down. Total Beverages in Murfreesboro, Tn or Brinkmann's in Franklin, TN. G'day and cheers...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

'06 Caymus Cabernet and Father's Day

Father's Day - '06 Caymus Cabernet: Garnet in color, dark fruit, hint of chocolate, a lot going on and it just coats your mouth. A long finish that seems to linger... Paired that with Val's "most excellent" homemade lasagna and French bread with EVOO, roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella. A day not soon forgotten.......

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Enough for 6 pieces of french bread / baguette...

8(cherrie) tomatoes, chopped
2 TBSP sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
1 cloves minced garlic
2 TBSP (EVOO) olive oil
2 TSP balsamic vinegar
1 TBSP fresh basil, chopped, stems removed
Dash of Kosher salt
Dash of cracked black pepper
1 French baguette (cut pieces 3/4" to 1" thick)
Shredded mozzarella cheese (you'll add this last)

Cooking directions:
Put the cut pieces of baguette in the oven on broil for 1 to 2 mins, no more.
Put oven on 425 now
Mix the above ingredients all together
After the bread comes out of the oven, spread the mixture evenly on pieces
Use the mozzarella to top off all the pieces, as much or as little as you prefer
Bake in oven for ~10 mins, keep an eye on the bread so as not to burn

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Cheese & water crackers and Bruschetta for a pre dinner snack. The Bruschetta was fan-tab-ulous... The 2007 Louis Latour Domaine de Valmoissine : Red fruit on the nose, strawberry, raspberry, earth, maybe a little peat, old world - it's a young wine so it was still a little tannic and tight and they may have overdid the alcohol. Or, maybe it should have stayed in my wine cooler for a couple years. Nevertheless, I'd buy it again...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


A little snack prior to dinner:

1" slice of goat cheese, crack a little black peppper on the cheese and then add a couple drops of olive oil (your fav) and smidge of fresh basil. Now, open that bottle of Louis Jadot, Pinot Noir from Bourgogne (less than 15 Federal Reserve Notes)

Cheers to all...

Pan Seared Beef Fillet

The idea to prepare the beef fillet came from an episode of Hell’s Kitchen several months ago. I’ve cooked the fillet, using this method inside the house, and it’s just too much smoke. So, I made a small change to the process.
I put a light coat of EVOO on the fillet and then apply the seasonings. Afterwards, I let them sit for 2 hours to get to room temp. At cooking time, I put the skillet in the oven on 500 to get it smoking hot. While this is getting hot, I get my gas grille to 500 and light the side burner. Now, everything is ready... Take the skillet out of the oven and put it on the side burner of my grille on high heat. I drop in 2 TBSP of butter and as soon as it’s all but melted I put the steaks in the skillet. I cook them 3 mins on each side, only turning once. It’s a lot of heat and smoke but trust it...... After the 3 mins on each side, now I move them to the 500 degree grill and cook for 5 to 6 additional mins on “each” side, again, turning only once. The fillets I cook are usually 8 - 10 oz each and this cooking process will deliver a very nice “med-rare” fillet. The searing of the outside in the butter & hot skillet is the trick.
Venge Vineyards: '08 Glady's Syrah
Inky purple in color, lots of dark fruit and jammy with a slight peppery finish.

I paired this wine with French cut, bone-in pork chops that were marinated in bourbon & pineapple glaze and grilled to medium on a 500 degree grille. The vegetables were seasoned/battered and fried eggplant as well as sauteed asparagus.

White Wine & Sushi

What wine do you normally choose when eating Sushi? Think about these three options the next time you're partaking: Gr├╝ner Veltliner (white wine from Austria and Czech Republic), Gew├╝rztraminer, white wine ((guh-VOORTS-truh-MEE-nur) passion fruit, floral and some spritz) or a Viognier, white wine (vee-ohn-yay) apricot, pear & honeysuckle. Lastly, maybe a little sparkling wine but all of these are somewhat acidic and pair well with the spiciness of the Sushi and Wassabi. Let me know your thoughts. Cheers to all...

East Bank vs West Bank

French wines... Forget about the bank for a moment. The only bank you need to worry about is the bank with what's left of your 101K (formerly known as your 401K). Enough of that! Don't let French wines intimidate you because you can't pronounce them nor understand the all the classifications (first growth, second growth, so on...). France is the second largest wine producing country in the world. Italy is number one in quantity but France is number one in quality. So, back to the river, it's the Gironde, thus giving us the Left Bank and Right Bank. We're all familiar with the term Bordeaux, well somewhat anyway. What is Bordeaux anyway??? A Bordeaux is a "blend" of grapes. In California, for example, you find a lot of 100% varietals like Cabernet, Pinot Noir and so on and so on. The blend of varietals is what makes a Bordeaux a Bordeaux. Cabernet is the major grape of the Left Bank and Merlot is the major grape for the Right Bank. Beyond those, Malbec, Cab Franc and Petite Verdot are used for blending. Now, you're ready to travel down the Gironde and find your own treasures. Cheers to all...

Welcome to unWine'd TN

This blogspot is dedicated to those who love wine, cooking and a now and again cigar... Welcome and Cheers to All...