One of the things I always enjoy in an izakaya with a nice frosty Asahi beer, is Yakitori chicken. It has been demanded that we use the barbecue this year and so we did.
It turns out yakitori is not the hardest thing in the world to cook. put strips of chicken on a skewer, alternating with a couple of centimetres of spring onion. When preparing the sauce, reduce it by half so it’s nice and sticky. The sauce is nothing special, just the usual soy, mirin, sake and sugar combination. Once the chicken is on the grill, keep brushing it with sauce to add to the glaze.
You should know by now that ribs are my kryptonite. My mother did a tomato braise that was out of this world and I’ve been on a quest to recreate that 48-hour goodness for a long time.
This recipe from The New York Times is the opposite. It’s an attempt to re-create the dryish, very sticky ribs you get from a Chinese restaurant. I was short a couple of ingredients which we’re going to correct today or tomorrow (Lee Kum Kee for the win!) but that didn’t make too much difference. The major innovations for me were:
Roast the ribs low and slow at 150C for one to two hours over a grill tray of water. This makes the rib meat soft. No pre-boiling and the meat was flavourful!
Baste the ribs with the marinade every ten minutes for the last half hour to get the lovely glazed texture.
Otherwise, there was little to surprise in the marinade: ketchup, honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, five spice powder, rice wine, rice vinegar and so on.
Overall, this recipe is a win and one I’ll be re-doing as soon as I get all the ingredients. In fact, I’ll probably have the leftovers for lunch today.
Saturday was a win again at the farmer’s market. As well as scoring some excellent broad beans and lovely Crafty Devil beer, Charcutier Ltd again had an offer on their spare ribs so the quest was on to cook them even better! This time, I went for this recipe from the BBC:
We were at the @RCMAmarkets today stocking up on essentials like fresh broad beans, eggs and so on, when, getting my bacon roll from Charcutier I happened to spy that he had half price spare ribs.
Thinking that’s tonight’s barbecue sorted (it’s not raining in Cardiff today, oddly), my next task was a recipe. Eschewing American cuisine and web sites, the BBC came up with this by Antony Worrall Thompson:
Nothing particularly mystical about this recipe, it’s the usual ketchup, soy, honey and other bits, but as it’s sitting there marinading right now, the smells are just right. The recipe also says to boil for an hour or so in the marinade and water so I’m hopeful that the meat will be tender. Fingers crossed!
Many years ago, back in the dark ages of the 70’s before people in Britain could cook, my mum dutifully collected weekly magazines that eventually became a series of doorstop volumes called “Supercook”. From that, several family staples emerged: chicken casserole, black forest gateau, barbecued spare ribs and so on. Note they all early first letters!
Spare ribs became the main treat: cooked over several stages ending with succulent meat falling off the bone and a flavour rich tomato sauce. Since then, ribs (as well as pork belly) are usually my go-to item on a menu. Now we have an outside space and decent weather, I’ve been barbecuing often, sometimes with a jar of supermarket sauce or James Martin’s excellent sauce. Having bought some ribs and having seen this comprehensive overview pop on Nomr from The Guardian, I decided to have a go.
I tried her recipe with too much mustard and not enough moisture and it was frankly awful. The meat was OK but that was it. Avoid.