Monday, June 19, 2006

Father's Day Feasting

Usually on Father's Day, we take Dad out someplace nice for dinner. This year, I decided we were going to stay at his house and grill some yummies. When my family grills, it's always festival of meat, so in keeping with that theme, I decided on flank steak, baby back ribs, and bratwursts.

The flank steak was simply marinated in a savory bath consisting of a couple of glugs each of Worcestershire and soy sauces, ketchup, and 2 large cloves of garlic, crushed. I didn't get a photo of it before we tucked in, and as you can see from the photo, there was very little left over. The dog ended up with those few morsels.

I like to use Alton Brown's recipe for oven braised ribs. In a nutshell, this entails wrapping each rack of baby backs in heavy duty aluminum foil after coating them generously with a dry rub. After marinating overnight, each foil packet gets 1/2 cup of some sort of flavorful liquid; I've used iced tea in the past, but this time I used orange juice. I did three racks each with a Chinese-style rub (brown sugar, powdered onion, garlic, and ginger, paprika, cayenne, Chinese five spice, salt, and black pepper, in roughly equal portions but triple the sugar), and three racks with a more standard bbq rub (minus the ginger and five spice and adding chili powder and cumin). These braise for 1 hour at 350, then 2 more hours at 250; this produces fall-off-the-bone tender meat. As I was grilling these babies, I cooked them for 1 hour and 1 hour 15 minutes so they wouldn't fall apart on me.

On the grill, the Chinese ribs got a basting of a hoisin concoction, and the others got good old KC Masterpiece. They were AMAZING. I had never used that much cayenne in a rib rub before, and the kick it gave was really a nice touch.

Another spicy dish was our side of Spicy Pesto Soba, adapted from Nina Simonds Asian Noodles.
Spicy Pesto
Blend to a paste in a food processor or blender:
1 1/2 teaspoons Korean hot pepper flakes
6 cloves of garlic
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Rice wine dressing
Whisk together:
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons rice vinegar
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons mirin

3/4 lb soba noodles, cooked until just tender, rinsed under cold water, and drained.

Mix the pesto with the noodles. Add the dressing a bit at a time, until noodles are coated but not sopping wet. You probably will only need half the dressing.

I also made a standard cole slaw with a dressing of mayo, rice vinegar, celery seeds, and sugar. Dad provided egg potato salad and corn on the cob. Needless to say, with all of the other food, we never got to the bratwurst! And there are a ton of leftovers. I kept two racks of ribs for Neal and I. I am going to pick the Chinese-style meat off the bones and give it a quick stir fry with some pea shoots. We went to the Han Ah Reum the other day and bought a ton of vegetables, so we're also having some Asian eggplants and string beans tonight, along with the leftover soba. Later in the week, we'll make pulled pork with the other ribs and serve it on the potato rolls we bought for the uneaten bratwurst. Dad ended up with two full racks of leftover grilled ribs and the slaw, so he doesn't have to worry about dinner for a couple of nights.

It was a lot more work than taking Dad out for dinner, but in the long run, it was worth it!