It was in the tradition of an old school “Sunday Supper” at Grandma’s house, complete with too much food, stories of the past, and plans and dreams for the future. When our family, that is currently spread out literally from coast to coast, was able to meet in the middle and sit down for a good old barbecue meal, well, you knew there would be meat, sauce, bacon, and good times. Wanting to make sure everyone had something they liked, a favorite place to start happened to be stuffed jalapeños wrapped in bacon. Easy enough, and a great appetizer to nibble on.
The more involved prep work started earlier that day, about the same time the sun decided to peek above the horizon like that nosy neighbor peering over the hedges. Two things became apparent. One rack of baby backs would be traditionally rubbed and sauced, and the other would be sweet, spicy, and sticky with a Five-Spice Chinatown flavor and Hoisin glaze, courtesy of Steven Raichlen. The racks were generously rubbed, but kept separate, letting them soak in all the flavors before getting their dose of low and slow applewood and cherry smoke.
Meanwhile, a meatloaf type mixture was churned together, with aspirations of being the stuffing for those glorious spheres of goodness known as onion bombs, grilled to form a mouth-watering, onion and bacon wrapped meatball. For those less inclined, a serving of parmesan garlic chicken thighs and wings were also on the menu, adding a contrast in color and flavor to the pork, beef, and bacon fest that was to come.
The smoke swirled in the backyard, a combination of the trusty old Weber grill and the upstart smoker, both being called into action this day, and both performing admirably. If there’s one thing that can bring a grin to a pit jockey’s face, it’s the opportunity to man the grill AND finesse the smoker in the same day. It brings out a sense of euphoria, something I would assume a drummer feels surrounded by all the different choices around him at any given moment. Ribs and chicken smoking away, while the onion bombs and jalapeño poppers occupy the grill. That kind of meat harmony can make one feel a bit twitchy, like a new puppy being let off the leash and left to run wild.
When it was time to sit around the table, share some good food, take it easy and talk about everything that’s been going on in all of our lives the past several months, it was an easy, relaxed evening, and a good one. The ribs were pull apart tender, some spicy, some sweet.
The onion bombs were big on flavor,
And the wings were garlicky,
All washed down with some laughs and a great visit, not to mention the T-Rex after-party.
Because Life Is Better Wood Fired