BBC Radio Leicester Food Friday team BBQ

Jo, myself, Ben, Penny and Holly

If you drop by this blog every now and again then you may know that I’m one of Ben Jackson’s Food Friday Team who cook on the radio every Friday afternoon at about 4:40pm on BBC Radio Leicester. Ben comes to our homes and we cook up something fabulous and easy for people to give a go themselves.

Yesterday we all met up at Ben’s beautiful home for a BBQ and all brought lovely homemade treats to eat. We had an absolute blast too…

The most AMAZING ribs ever

Ben had been slowly cooking his St Louis style ribs (when the sternum, cartilage and rib tips have been removed) marinated in Big Bob’s dry rub for 5 hours in his BBQ, oh my days they were absolute ribs of joy! He buys them from a chap down the road who breeds different pigs for different cuts. These ribs were just pure meat wrapped around juicy bone, hardly any fat and to die for.

rotisserie chicken on the BBQ

2 lovely free range chooks cooked on a rotisserie over the hot coals, just oozing flavour.

How many cooks does it take to carve a chicken? Well Ben and the 3 of us drooling it seems

Penny made some beautiful fougasse and I brought along one of my pig head and edible flower terrines. I’d found an old 15th Century recipe for a strange meat dish that says if you use brawn then you should add saffron so I added some for this one, hence the beautiful golden colour and it worked brilliantly.

Penny and her pizza, Ben’s fabulous Greek salad and the gorgeous Jo

Holly brought along a pea and halloumi salad, Penny made a jelly baby shaped jelly for the kids (which somehow collapsed and actually looked like a fabulous pair of jelly boobies) and Ben’s grandmother made the most beautifully light meringues.

Ben and BBC Radio Leicester gardening guru Ady Dayman have been busy building and tending the Grow Your Own Garden for a feature that ben does with his show that encourages people to give it a go.

Oh ribs I love you

Edible flowers featured heavily in the pretty menu.

Jo made a beautiful chocolate and beetroot roulade that was just wonderful (I must get that recipe!). I brought along one of my Melton Mess (which as you can see has collapsed a bit!) and a big jar of homemade vanilla sea salted caramel sauce that was literally just being guzzled straight from the jar!

Meat Feast

Sweet and Smoky Ribs (but without a BBQ)

For me the whole charm of ribs is the sheer filthiness of them.  Sticky, sweet, meaty morsels conveniently wrapped around a flavour packed bone to gnaw away at.  All hopes of daintiness and decorum are thrown out of the window, pretty eating this ain’t  – ribs are dirty and I love them.

But lets not stop there, ribs are cheap too, these 2 sets cost just £3 from my local Farmers Market.  Yep ribs are cheap and dirty food my friends which is all kinds of right in my book.

The intention had been to BBQ these bad boys, but once confronted with the BBQ still full of rainwater and coals leftover from 2011 this quickly became an indoor operation.  I still wanted a smokiness though so decided to throw some Lapsang Souchong tea leaves into the coffee grinder for a few seconds to blitz them up (big strands of tea aren’t necessarily nice on a rib).  I had some homemade tomato sauce leftover from making the whey pizzas to use as a base so in the smoky tea powder went.

Now for the Southern spices.  I’ve blogged about Laissez Chef before and if you haven’t sought him and his amazing New Orleans Spice Blend out yet then fear not, you can still do it now and buy through his website.  It tastes like nothing else you will find around on the market and is so good you can literally just dip your finger into the beautifully presented box of spices and eat it! For added sweetness and stickiness out came the treacle, oh how I love treacle!

Normally I would just marinade the raw ribs for a couple of hours then put them in a roasting tin, cover with tin foil and slow roast but I found that I had rather inconveniently ran out of tin foil (I will never learn) so used this method instead.

Ingredients:

  • Pork ribs
  • Poaching liquor (same as the fried chicken wings)
  • homemade tomato pizza sauce (you could use ketchup jazzed up with some tomato puree, garlic and onion powders and celery salt though for a shortcut)
  • 2 tsp blitzed Lapsang Souchong (must be a good quality really smoky one)
  • 1 tblsp Laissez Chef spice blend
  • 1 big heaped tblsp treacle

Throw your ribs into a pot of simmering liquor until just cooked through then remove, pat dry then coat in your marinade and leave for a couple of hours (you could cook them straight away but its nicer if they have had time to soak up all the lovely marinade).

Ribs marinading away

When you are ready just put them in a roasting tin, pour over any excess marinade and roast on high for about 20 minutes or until they are nice and caramelised on the outside.

sweet, smoky pork ribs

They turned out to be my favourite homemade ribs to date. They kicked serious meat filth ass and they will be without a doubt making many more appearances over the summer, and if I get my ass into gear and clean out the BBQ then I reckon they will be even better!

All kinds of filthy goodness