Anatomy of a Cookout — Part 1: Night Prep

“Why do you do this to yourself?” I read in the message window as I was chatting with a friend of mine.  I blinked, and reassessed what I had told him.

I was going to make Baby Back Ribs, Pulled Pork, and a big batch of Chili for a cookout my husband and I are hosting at our house.  I wasn’t sure what the big deal was.

Then it occurred to me that in order to make these things happen, I would have to get up early, (at 6:30am to be exact) to get these things done.  To my friend, that’s a hell of a lot of work just to eat.

It really isn’t a big deal to me, since all of this work is going to feed people I love, so waking up at the butt crack of dawn is a small price to pay.

The first step to Barbecue bliss (at least in this case) is the night before.  That’s when I make the Backyard Baby Back Ribs.  I made the recipe once before, and I loved it so much I just have to share it with everyone.

I’ll be honest, this was probably one of the most intimidating recipes to consider, and for two reasons.  First, this was a recipe that was going to require 18 hours of time to make.  The second reason was because this was a recipe created by Alton Brown.

My husband loves Alton.  Anything that mixes food and science is A-OK in his book.  The problem is, everything is just so *precise*.  And Alton has no problem constantly reminding you that it is key to do everything as he says.  Or else.

Okay, that’s a little meladromatic, but you get the idea.  I’m new to cooking, and I tend to be anal when it comes to do things “the right way”.  Alton doesn’t help that at all.

Anyhoo, I just got done taking three racks of Baby Backs and putting the rub on them.  Now they are in the fridge, and that rub is transforming into something wonderful.  As you can see by the recipe, there is a lot of brown sugar, and chili powder, a wonderful combination.

The glaze I will be putting on them tomorrow is also a wonderful mix, not too sweet, not too spicy, but I will discuss that later.

Something else I did to prepare for tomorrow is I made the rub for the Pulled Pork.  One of the main ingredients in the rub is Pimenton, which I can’t find anywhere here where I live. I have substituted it with basic Smoked Paprika, which I have read isn’t the same thing, but close enough.  According to the creator of the recipe, Anne Burrell, Pimenton adds a smokey flavor to the rub, so I think the regular Smoke Paprika covers it.  (get it?)

This is just the prologue for the dance that will take place tomorrow.  In the morning, I cook the ribs in the oven, and I start roasting the Pulled Pork low and slow.  By noon, this house will smell wonderful and my stomach will already begin to grumble for some good barbecue.

And that’s when I start making this awesome chili from a recipe that I found on the internet.  Three types of chili powder makes this the perfect chili that ranks Medium on the hotness scale.

But please, don’t take my word for it.  When I was a kid, my mother used to make chili until it was spicy to her.  And having smoked since she was 14 years old (a big chunk of that time her cigarettes were not filtered), she had nary a taste bud left in her head.  So, of course, the chili was one that would cause a blinding pain that would burn all the way through the fun maze known as my digestive tract.  Over the years, I may have developed an immunity, so when I say medium heat, that may translate into “this will cook your spleen internally”

But damn, is this chili good.

I will post more about my adventures in the next 24 hours, but I hope you are patient with me, since I may not have time to post tomorrow as I prepare for the cookout.  Oh, and I am making a few more things, but those will be a surprise.  I’ll be sure to take pictures of the yumminess.

Anyway, time for bed.  I have to be up in 5 hours to work on the ribs and pulled pork.  Wish me luck!

About shelbycub

Just a Bear who lives in Shelbyville, Indiana with his partner of 16 years. Food, fun and Bacon are high on his list of things to experience in great quantities on a daily basis. William takes the lighter, humorous side of things, especially Food Adventures. "We all have to eat to live. But we must enjoy food to experience life." -- William Brown
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1 Response to Anatomy of a Cookout — Part 1: Night Prep

  1. Trying to learn to cook, effectively, from Alton Brown is like trying to learn Algebra from an astronomer…it tends to be other-worldly. What I mean is that, although Alton can be very educational and informative about a lot of things, his means of cooking tend to be offered in a manner in which it is assumed that cooking this one thing is ALL you have to do with your life at this time. The real world of cooking, as you’re probably well aware, is not like that, which is why I like him solely for his ability to break down information scientifically about food, but not when it comes to actual food prep and cooking. I’m not saying that his recipes aren’t good; I’m sure they are. At the same time, I’m just suggesting that, perhaps, you shouldn’t have to dedicate 18 hours to making an Alton Brown recipe, especially when you consider in that much time, Jane Russell would have lived a full day in her Playtex living bra. Just a thought…

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