My sciatica has flared up again and I have been flat on my back for two weeks. If you have not experienced the constant, searing pain of a a pinched sciatic nerve, consider yourself lucky. The pain is some of the worst I have ever felt. No matter how hard I try to keep a strong front for my wife and kids, I inevitably begin breathing hard, or worse, whining. There is literally no way to sit, stand, or walk, that doesn’t send shocks of pain flowing through my body.
At a certain point this past weekend, I decided to cease giving in to the pain. I determined that I was going to get up out of bed and be social. What better way to take my mind off of the pain shooting down my leg than to smoke some meat and invite a good friend over for dinner.
I picked up the phone and invited my wife’s girlfriend, Dani, over for dinner. Dani is a wonderful lady, who appreciates my cooking and I happen to love cooking for people who like to eat my food. I also love to see my wife smile and hear her laugh, so inviting one of her best girlfriends over for dinner seemed to be a win/win for me.
I popped a few pills to enable me to make it through the evening, but the food turned out great, the company was terrific, and a good time was had by all.
I didn’t do a great job of documenting the evening – no photos of Dani or her date – but here are a few photo’s and a bit of information (although not too much) about the recipes I used.
I hadn’t used the smoker all summer. My son and I did a bit of cleaning before beginning.
I normally like to use the rack of pork spare ribs. However, because of my back, I reasoned that the St. Louis cut would cook faster, (I’m not sure they did), fit in the smoker without cutting, (it was tight, but they fit), and easier to serve, (definitely). I put a nice coating of Daddy J’s Number 7 rub on them (Sorry, but I am not giving the recipe) wrapped them in plastic, and let them sit in the fridge for several hours.
I prefer either oak or mesquite for smoking, but I didn’t have it and I wasn’t going to drive to pick any up – not with my back hurting as it was. So, I used a mixture of Hickory and Apple.
I then had a brilliant, or what initially seemed a brilliant idea. I have a six pack of Guiness in the fridge that I will never drink. Why not use Guiness instead of water in the smoker? I figured it couldn’t hurt. Of course, it might not help, but why not experiment?
No photo of the BBQ sauce, but the sauce was home made…and no, I am not going to give the recipe right now. I will say that the sauce uses a well-known soda and a git of sirracha as its base. This was another Daddy J creation.
For side dishes, I prepared a quick mac and cheese (the recipe is on this site) and I prepared a salad that had been featured on the morning show I used to host, CCN Sunrise: Arugula, grilled peaches, and burrata salad.
The salad is incredibly easy to make. I didn’t have burrata, a fresh mozzarella with a very light shell and super creamy center also known as “the breath of angels,” so I used a good regular mozzarella cheese.
The arugula is lightly dressed in a cider vinaigrette. The peaches, cheese and prosciutto are organized on top, and the entire salad is drizzled with a balsamic glaze – you can make one yourself by reducing balsamic vinegar, or take a short cut, which is what I did, and simply buy a balsamic glaze. The salad is wonderful!
For drinks, I decided to use serve the Blackberry gin fizz, last weeks martini Monday recipe.
Okay! Finished product. The star of the show. The ribs were falling off the bone tender, juicy and flavorful. As it happened, I didn’t make quite enough sauce, but the rub combined with the sauce that was basted over the ribs was enough for all of us.
I know folks take their BBQ seriously. I have a few Fraternity brothers who are serious weekend smokers. I am NOT throwing down the gauntlet – not yet anyway. I am saying that these ribs were quite good. In fact, they were Damn good! I’ll have to do this again…minus the sciatic of course.