Grilled Ribs and Sauteed Sweets


This meal came from wanting barbecued boneless beef short ribs on a shorter time frame than my usual oven-braising method. Jeremy was skeptical, but they were very meaty cuts without too much fat or connective tissue, so I thought I could get away with grilling. They tasted great and I thought they were pretty tender in the end, though of course nothing beats braising in that arena.

The last time we went to the grocery store, I got some sweet potatoes just because my husband likes them. Personally, I still really have a hard time eating them, but I’m working on it, and I think this recipe helped a lot. The sweet potatoes are cubed, simmered and sauteed, then tossed with caramelized onion, spices and a splash of sherry vinegar. They had a good balance: tender but not mushy, flavorful without being overly sweet.

Darned Good Grilled Ribs

This recipe seems to call for using a gas grill with a lid and adjustable temperatures. All I’ve got is an electric tabletop model that has no on/off switch, much less a temp control. I just turned my ribs a lot and covered them with foil.

1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C smoked paprika
1/4 cup sweet paprika
2 1/2 T kosher salt
2 1/2 T freshly ground black pepper
1 T granulated onion
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 lb boneless beef short ribs, connective tissue removed
1 C thick barbecue sauce

In a medium bowl and blend together both sugars, paprikas, salt, pepper, granulated onion, and cayenne. Sprinkle the short rib pieces liberally with this mixture until coated on all sides. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Oil the grill racks. Preheat your grill using all burners set on high and with the lid closed for 10 to 12 minutes. Place the beef ribs on the grill, close the lid, and reduce the heat to medium. (I just covered my meat with aluminum foil because I use an electric countertop grill.) Turn the ribs every 3 to 5 minutes or so, so that every side gets slightly caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes total, or a bit less if your ribs are small. The ribs should yield easily to the touch, not unlike a medium-rare steak or the way the tip of your nose feels. Reduce the heat a little more and brush the ribs with the sauce. Cover the grill and let cook for a minute or two for the sauce to set up, and then continue to turn and brush until all sides of the ribs have been glazed. Remove to a platter and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes, covered with foil. Serve.

Virginia Pruitt’s Perfect Barbecue Sauce

1 large onion, chopped
1 C sugar, white or brown
1 C ketchup
1/2 C distilled white vinegar
1/4 C yellow or Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 C Worcestershire sauce

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Thin with water if it gets too thick. Serve on anything your heart desires. Pour into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 2 cups.

Source: Epicurious.

Sweet Potatoes and Caramelized Onions

2 large Spanish onions
3 large sweet potatoes
4 T butter
1 T olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, slivered
1/4 C water
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper

Peel and chop the onions. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large heavy frying pan or 4-quart pot. Sauté the onions slowly over medium heat until they are turning amber, then darker brown – about 15 minutes. Once the onions are caramelized, add the sweet potato chunks and garlic. Continue cooking over medium heat, turning up the heat a little if the potato does not brown at all. Cook until the potatoes are also slightly browned and golden.

Add the water, turn the heat to low, and cover for about 10 minutes, or until the potato has softened. Remove the lid, turn the heat back up, and add the ginger, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Splash with vinegar, and sauté just a little longer, then remove from the heat and serve.

Source: The Kitchn.

Update 4/16/10: I simplified this a bit because we ran out of onions and Costco didn’t have any (something about a hurricane in Chile). I used one sweet potato, diced, with 3 T of butter and about 2 T dried shallots. Once the potato was starting to brown up, I added some homemade chicken stock and covered it to soften up. These were served with Moroccan lamb kebabs and couscous with dates and pistachios, and they were a perfect accompaniment.

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