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Entries in smoking (2)

May212012 Virtual Memorial Day Potluck


Boneless Pork Back Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Pork boneless back ribs. Pork country style boneless ribs, too. Oh, and a fantastic velvety, savory (and a little sweet) Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry Barbecue Sauce. Yeah, you know you want to taste them! All juicy and tender. Yes, let’s dig in.


Memorial Day is right around the corner! Are you planning your menus? I can’t say that I am yet. I’m always a last minute person. But is holding a Virtual Memorial Day Potluck with appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, cocktails/beverages and desserts--so I’m sure you’ll find something that you’ll like! If you haven’t checked out Celebrations yet, you should! They have everything you’d need to think about for any celebration that comes up.


My contribution to the potluck is ribs--two kinds. We have the petite boneless pork back ribs, and the hefty boneless country style pork ribs. They’re priced reasonably, and kids love them, too. No bones to mess with. These ribs and the sauce I made got thumbs up from all four of my kids. They even wanted seconds!


Boneless Pork Country Style Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


The barbecue sauce is made with my favorite hard cider, Woodchuck. I used the Summer Cider for this sauce, which has a balance of cider and blueberry in it, so pairing it with fresh blueberries was a natural progression. The Summer Cider is seasonal, so if you can’t find it, go ahead and use any of the other varieties. The berries will still go beautifully with any of them. Let’s get to the recipes.


All Purpose Grilling and Smoking Rub


Makes about 1/2 cup, maybe a bit more.


2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Kosher salt
2 1/2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
3 tsp Chinese Five Spice
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon


Mix all ingredients in a small airtight container or zip top bag. Rub on pork, chicken or beef before grilling or smoking. (If you don’t have Chinese Five Spice, you can make your own: Combine equal parts Szechwan (or black) pepper, star anise (or anise), cinnamon, cloves, and fennel, all ground.)


To use on ribs, sprinkle some of the rub all over the ribs, and rub it in with your hands. Let the ribs sit with the rub on for a couple of hours or overnight. In the fridge!


Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Makes 3 cups. Set aside two hours total for simmering the sauce!


1 tbsp oil
4 shallots, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (12 oz) Woodchuck Summer Ciders
2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen is ok, too)
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup rice vinegar (or cider vinegar)
2 1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tbsp spicy mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp chili powder (the seasoning blend, not plain ground chilies)
1/2 tsp cinnamon


In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté until nice and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the two bottles of cider and turn the heat up to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium high and simmer (a good bubbling action, but not a rolling boil) for about 25 minutes.


Add all remaining ingredients (blueberries through cinnamon). Stir well, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes. Keep it at a good simmer.


I don't have an immersion blender (I know! What am I waiting for?!) so I pureed the sauce in my blender. Do it in two batches. Hold a dish towel over the lid of the blender to catch any drips and also to hold the lid down. Puree half of the sauce for a few seconds until smooth, transfer to a bowl, and do the second half of the sauce, and add it to the already pureed sauce. It's really not as complicated as it may sound. Then again, if you have an immersion blender, it's even easier! Just get all the lumps out of the sauce--you want it velvety smooth.


Use immediately with your favorite grilled meats, or cool completely and store in the fridge.


  • Don’t be scared by the ingredient list. It’s really very simple and comes together quickly.

  • And homemade barbecue sauce? Hello! It’s fabulous. Your friends and family will all be impressed that you actually made it yourself, with no weird chemicals. This isn’t spicy, by the way. If you want, add some heat in whatever form you like.


Boneless Pork Country Style Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


To Cook The Ribs:


After you’ve rubbed the rub blend into the ribs and prepared the sauce, it’s time to cook.


We smoked the boneless back ribs for two hours total. They’re not very big, and rather small compared to the country style monster sized ribs! Cover with foil and set them aside while you wait for the other ribs to finish.


Smoke the larger country style ribs for 4-5 hours.


Get your grill ready--get the coals going and all that. When the coals ready to go, put all of the ribs on the grill and get some color and char on those babies. They don’t need much time, you’re just getting the flavor of the grill on them.


In the last few minutes, brush the barbecue sauce over the ribs, both sides. Use as much or as little as you like. We like a lot. When they’re done to your liking, remove from the grill and serve. You can serve some sauce on the side for dipping or drizzling over the top. We also do that.


Boneless Pork Country Style Ribs w/ Woodchuck Summer Cider Blueberry BBQ Sauce


Check out the other Virtual Potluck Dishes from the rest of the guests! And thank you to for putting this party together!


Melissa at Celebrations: Buffalo Chicken Dip


Erin at Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts: Quinoa Salad with veggies and a lime, garlic cilantro dressing


Beth at Hungry Happenings: Patriotic Biscuits


Rowena at Aprons and Sneakers: Speck Skewers with Herb Mayonnaise and Grilled Mediterranean Aubergine Bundles with Provola


Katrina at In Katrina's Kitchen: Picnic Tablecloth Cookes






Valerie at Une Gamine dans la Cuisine: White Chocolate Mint Cake



Smokin' Ribs for a Smackdown!

Is there anyone that doesn't like smoked ribs, with a lip smacking sauce to dip them in? Ok, maybe there are a few people that don't, and that's fine. But these might make them change their minds. They're just so damn good!

Do any of you guys read Thursday Night Smackdown? If you don't, you should! Michelle's blog is an adventure in cooking, and doing it with humor and gusto. There are ups and downs, spectacular food and a couple that were better left in the pages of the cookbook they came from. This post and this one come to mind--there's some good reading right there! But Michelle and her cohort/sous chef, Brian, share the good and the bad from their cooking experiences.

In July, Michelle opened up TNS to her readers, for First Thursdays. On the first Thursday of every month, she posts a round up of her reader's submitted recipes. September's Smackdown theme is grilling. And since I've missed the first two, there's no way in hell I'm missing this one! So yeah, I'm early, hehe.

These ribs are fantastic! They're from the book BH&G Smoke Cooking. We've been looking at this recipe for a while, but you know, you gotta plan ahead if you want to smoke stuff (the 13 year old in me just giggled)! So knowing what the TNS theme was, I pulled out this book, and we decided to finally make them. By "we," I mean my husband Billy and I. He's the guy in charge of grilling/smoking.

There's a little out of the way place in the next town over that's a slaughterhouse/retail and wholesale meat place called Lemay & Sons. I never even knew they were there, but I was in search of something else (that will be posted in about a week or so--it takes that long to make it) and they were the only ones that had it. I was directed there by another butcher in the area. Anyway, this is the kind of place you go to for a whole pig or half a cow, or even something as small as a pound of ground buffalo meat. Good to know! They have lots of different cuts of meats and great prices, as well. They didn't have the beef back ribs that we were looking for on that day, so we went with porky baby back ribs. Two racks, totaling 5 pounds, to be specific. We also picked up a couple pounds of that buffalo meat for later. Can't beat $3.99 a pound! That's cheaper than ground beef!

The ribs! Very straightforward recipe, and the book also has some tips on smoking. They're smoked with a simple dry rub, and brushed with a sauce in the last 15 minutes of cooking, with more of the sauce served alongside. The sauce is also very simple, made with bottled bbq sauce, orange, ginger and soy sauce.

We did run into some trouble, though it was no fault of the recipe. Damn thunderstorms that we've had nearly every day this summer. grrrr. Everything was going great, nice fire, good smoke...then a couple hours into it, the sky opened up and poured buckets all over our smoker. After the lightning stopped and we were able to get out and check it, we found the fire had gone out. For whatever reason, we just couldn't get a good smoke going after that and gave up after about an hour. We brought them in the house and gave them a couple more hours in the oven at 200°. Perfect! Still nice and smoky, but also tender and juicy.

Ginger Orange Smoked Baby Back Ribs
adapted from BH&G Smoke Cooking

4 cups mesquite wood chips

3 tsp regular paprika
3 tsp smoked paprika
3 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper

5 pounds baby back ribs (2 racks)

1 cup of your favorite bottled bbq sauce
1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger

At least one hour before you want to start cooking, soak the wood chips in enough water to cover them. Set aside.

Combine the rub ingredients and rub it into the ribs.

Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside in the fridge.

In your smoker or grill, arrange the heated coals, half the drained wood chips and a water pan according to the manufacturers directions.
Pour water into pan and place the ribs, bone side down, on the grill rack over the pan.

Cover and smoke for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until ribs are tender, and brush some of the sauce on the ribs in the last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Add more coals, wood chips and water as needed during smoking time.
Serve sauce with the ribs.

Good lookin' ribs, right?

What's that? Where's the side dish?

We don't need no stinkin' side dish! We can just stuff our faces with ribs and be perfectly happy, hehe. But if I'd thought of it ahead of time, I'd have whipped up some cole slaw to go alongside. D'oh!

Go check out Thursday Night Smackdown and get your entries ready for the first Thursday in September!