We’ve all been doing a lot of cooking at home as of late. And, as much as I’m a firm believer in the importance of an honest repertoire in the kitchen, I know we all get caught up in the foods that we’re comfortable cooking and eating. But that can start to get a little boring over time. Yet, there is something exhilarating about stretching beyond the familiar. Sometimes, we need to overturn our habits and try something new.
When it comes to barbeque, I can’t stake claim to any sort of expertise. Here in Central Florida, we definitely have our share of BBQ joints that could go head to head anywhere across the nation. For me though, if I was ever challenged to a Throw Down with Bobby Flay, I would lose before the competition started. With Father’s Day just around the corner, dads all over the country will be firing up and grilling for family and maybe some physically distant friends on the driveway. As far as I’m concerned, the method to which you procure your delicious food doesn’t matter. I prefer to use charcoal and what barbeque experts would call a “wet rub!”
Over the years, I’ve discussed this topic with many friends. The debate over the difference between barbeque and grilling seems to go deep. Whether it’s steeped in family or local tradition or just plain preference, people seem to plant their feet in their camp and stay there. But what really is the difference between barbeque and grilling?
According to the South Carolina Barbeque Association: “There are generally considered to be four types of barbeque in the country and they, by and large, are broken down by the type of sauce used in basting and also as a finishing sauce, used when the barbeque is being served.” For many years there’s been debate over what type of preparation you should use. Should you use a dry rub or a wet one? North and South Carolina share three of the four types of barbeque sauce that Americans normally use, but only South Carolina is the home of all four.
One might say, “I’m going to barbeque some hamburgers tonight.” Or, “Let’s put some brats on the barbeque.” And, while everyone will be having a great time sitting around in the smoke, the use of the word in that way is incorrect. What you really mean is you’re going to grill some hamburgers, not barbeque them. You’re going to cook them on what should be called a grill, not a barbeque. So what’s my point? I think the difference between barbeque and grilling comes down to what your family enjoys the most. And that leads me to something that will absolutely make your Father’s Day, the special day that all of us dads look forward to.
I give you our recipe for BBQ Ribs! They’re moist, delicious, sweet, and tender. If something is this good to eat, it can be fun to cook. If you’re unfamiliar with cooking ribs or think they’re too difficult, think again. I promise that even though some of the ingredients in this recipe may be strange to you, you can face this recipe with confidence for successful execution.
I can’t take credit for the authenticity of my spareribs except to say that they’re authentically good. Growing up in New York, I thought that you had to go to a Chinese restaurant for “real ribs”, but as those of you who are fanatics will attest that just isn’t the case. My favorite marinade (while it might be unconventional), is simple yet, dare I say, yummy. Molasses, lime, and pineapple juices, chili, ginger, star anise, and ground cinnamon all help tenderize the meat and infuse the ribs with a hot, yet aromatic stickiness. These ribs are ideal when all you want to do is pile food on the table that family and friends can pick at without ceremony.
Truthfully, these ribs are not particularly Chinese, although the ginger and star anise do borrow from the Chinese flavor profile. For a side dish, you may want to do some wilted greens and potato wedges, or simply add whatever your favorite side is. Whatever you do, consider a non-edible addition to your table in the form of some finger bowls, filled with warm water and a squeeze of lemon. This messy fare just won’t tolerate paper napkins alone.
Okay, so what happens for dessert? I suggest you try our Lemon Ginger Semifreddo. I know that sounds fancy, but trust me: it’s the perfect finish to the meal and not overly complicated. Plus, it can be made a few days in advance and stored in your freezer until you’re ready to serve! Semifreddo is akin to ice cream you can make at home. It needs no churning and no special equipment or skill.
This semifreddo provides the necessary cool you want while the ginger resonates warmth. The highlight comes in the form of candied ginger sprinkled over the top. If you really want to keep much of the flavor, but dispense with the labor, forget the semifreddo (as long as you promise me you’ll try it one day), and spoon the candied ginger over a good scoop of vanilla ice cream served on a grilled peach or pineapple.
To all the dads out there, whether you grill or whether you barbeque, I hope you have a delicious Father’s Day meal and of course, a Happy Father’s Day!
By: Chef Gary Appelsies, MS
Director of Healthy Eating
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