Spring Has Sprung

I think we have it pretty good here in Houston, Texas as far as weather goes.  For me I love being outside.  I prefer to exercise out doors and when I am indoors exercising its usually in an artificially heated and humidified room.  This winter, it seems, that we here in Htown had a harsher than usual winter though.  I know, all you who live as far north as Dallas and above are laughing at me wanting to bombard me with comments about how you had to hike 20 miles to school, in 5 feet of snow, barefoot–but I have grown up on the Louisiana and Texas Gulf Coast and prefer heat and humidity to anything below 50 degrees.  This long cold winter which I will now refer to for the rest of my life as “The Winter of 2014” has had me in a funk!  Fortunately, I live in Houston and all that is behind me before the end of February (I hope).

This past weekend was full of sunshine and balmy temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees and some pretty high humidity which my skin is loving.  I wasted no time getting the grill fired up.  Now I do not have a fancy grille set up.  In fact, its pretty mediocre, consisting of a $20 charcoal grill and a chimney starter for the briquettes.  I WANT a fancy grill set up but because I live in a condominium there is no personal space for such a thing and everyone keeps their grill by the old worn out pool nobody but me and the kids use.  I actually think I’m the only one using my grill too.  I am fortunate enough that nobody has complained about me comandeering the only table by the pool with chairs as my grilling table.  Hehehe!

I picked up some lovely grass-fed pork spare ribs and some free range ground turkey last week.  With the turkey, I made BBQ turkey burgers glazed with Tessemae’s BBQ sauce, served those with mixed greens, avocado and grilled sweet potato fries.  The ribs I also used the BBQ sauce on but started them in my oven. This is a trick I have to use because my grill is too small to slow smoke anything.  I wrapped the ribs in foil after rubbing them with my special blend of spices and slow baked them for 3.5 hours at 275 degrees.  After about 3 hours I prepared a small fire in the pit, just enough for a sparse layer of coals on the bottom of the grill (half way up in the chimney starter).  When the coals were fully ashed over I spread them and covered the grill so as to lower the heat by limiting the oxygen to the firey coals.  I do this because I don’t want to grill my ribs but want to hit them with smoke for about a half hour to give them that real BBQ flavor.  I brushed the already tender ribs with my sugar free paleo BBQ sauce from Tessemae’s and placed them on the grill, poured the juices from the foil around those coals to further create smoke and lower the heat, then covered them.  I turned and lightly basted the ribs about 3 more times to ensure they weren’t getting to charred.   These ribs came out perfect.  Not a true BBQ rack of ribs (no smoke ring) but delicious all the same and it was super easy. I also used Tessemae’s Southwest Ranch as a dipping sauce for sweet potato fries and salad dressing for a roasted brocoli and sweet poatato salad. This stuff is my new ‘crack’, its got all the flavors of the Hidden Valley stuff I used to devour but it’s healthy. I don’t know how they do that! NO I’m not getting anything from Tessemae’s but I wouldnt turn it down if they offered!
bbq pics

Here’s the recipe for the rub.

2 T ground Cumin

2 T chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 T kosher salt

1/2 T fresh ground black pepper.

Mix the ingredients together and sprinkle the ribs front and back.  Remember to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs.  This makes enough for 2 racks of ribs. You can reserve the remainder for the next BBQ project you have. It’s good on chicken or pork.


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