I know. I grill a lot. If given the option, I will do almost anything on the grill in lieu of turning on my oven or even the stove. I have grilled in a winter jacket and boots during a driving snow storm. Beyond the requisite beef, pork, chicken and fish, I’ve done turkey, casseroles, veggies and desserts too and admit I take a measure of pride that I can grill with the best of them. And by them I mean men. I know few women who use the grill, relegating that job to their manly men…I mean Tim ‘the tool man’ Taylor even had an aboriginal grunt to signify his prowess with all things both power tools and grill. I don’t know that I’ve ever uttered Tim’s battle cry but I do know I’m happy with the results and also the fact that cleanup is, well, what cleanup? That was always a factor with ribs and especially these Smoked Baby Back Ribs with Espresso Barbecue Sauce; so good but SO messy!
I have never considered myself a barbecue blog or someone that espouses grilling as a cause. It’s just what I do, as common as cutting the grass, which I also do! So, it was with some surprise when I heard from the folks at Masterbuilt the end of August asking if I could join their CEO, John McLemore and their social media specialist, Alicia McGlamory, for lunch the following week. John had a new book out called, ‘Dadgum That’s Good!’ filled with recipes for smoking, grilling, frying, boiling and steaming and wanted to introduce it to some folks. By folks…I presumed I would meet other local food bloggers and I was game since grilling really is something I love.
I could not have been more surprised that our lunch meeting turned out to be John, Alicia and, well, me. Yes, just me. Equally surprising (and I admit, flattering) was their knowledge of my blog. They knew I loved to grill and attention had been paid to my recipes and my style and they voiced interest in working together. We found a mutual connection over the love of the game…the planning and preparation of foods and the sharing of that effort with friends and family that has always been at the forefront of my passion; this blog is simply a diary of the journey I have been on for 30+ years.
John was doing a promotional piece the next day in the 9 News backyard and I was invited to come watch them tape the episode. I tried to find that piece for you without success but I did locate this recent video. John and Alecia traveled to Denver from Georgia and the ten years I spent in the south were brought back home with their visit; their charm and that sweet southern accent did more than warm my heart..my head was revisiting having babies and thinking of old friends and huge gardens…all such a big part of our ten years in North Carolina. That alone was worth the acquaintance!
This really was my lucky day. They had a couple of their smokers in the ‘backyard’ and when the piece was completed I got to take one home with me. It was like Christmas in August…I was seriously as excited as a kid and could not WAIT until I could start ‘smokin.’
My first experience was to smoke chicken thighs for what I called Welsh Wabbit (my take on a rabbit dish where I used chicken) which was so ‘Dadgum Good’ that I could not get over it. I’ve since smoked some pork steaks, my own bacon, these ribs and have some macaroni and cheese in now that I can not wait to try. I think my poor grill is feeling very lonely!
One of the many things I love about the Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse is how easy it is to prepare amazing barbecue while still being able to spend time with your family and friends.
John and Alecia also gave me a copy of John’s latest cookbook, ‘Dadgum That’s Good’ and I’ve been dying to try the Espresso Barbecue Sauce. I did make some slight modifications. John’s recipe calls for ketchup and I wanted to start with fresh tomatoes. Now that my daughter Lauren has moved into her own apartment, I’m not sure I’ll ever buy ketchup again. After seeing that girl ruin food with a squirt of ketchup on almost everything; I sort of went the other direction and just don’t care for it. Because I wasn’t using ketchup with sugar, I also made a few other revisions including the addition of molasses. And all I can say is this. DADGUM THAT’S GOOD!!!
Fabulous smoked baby back ribs with an espresso barbecue sauce.
- 6 pounds (3 racks) Baby Back Ribs
- Sea Salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 can (15 oz) tomatoes
- 3/4 cup molasses
- 3/4 cup honey
- 2 Tbsp course Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup espresso (I used dried espresso powder reconstituted with water)
- Season the ribs on both sides with salt and pepper and smoke for 3 hours at 225 degrees in preheated smoker using hickory chips during first 2 hours of smoking.
- To Make Espresso BBQ Sauce, put olive oil in saucepan.
- Saute onions until caramelized
- Add garlic and saute for additional 2-3 minutes or until garlic just starts to turn golden.
- Add tomatoes, molasses, honey, mustard and espresso and simmer until thickened; approximately 30 minutes.
- Put sauce into a blender, a half of the batch at a time and blend until smooth.
- Once the ribs have cooked the first three hours, remove them from the smoker, baste generously with the sauce, wrap in aluminum foil and return to the smoker for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours at !60 degrees.