And I was right! Briny, meaty, cheesy – all that is delicious.
Make sure you grate the cheese yourself – the preshredded cheese is coated with a moisture absorber and it keeps the ingredients from sticking together.
Now, if only I had a bridge club or majohng group to share them with.
Sausage Olive Cheese Balls
½ lb bulk sausage
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup Spanish olives, chopped fine
Brown sausage and drain. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining spices.
Mix the grated and softened cheeses, olives together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Slowly add in the flour mixture. Sprinkle in sausage and continue on medium speed until the mixture comes together. Place bowl into the fridge for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the mixture from fridge and form into balls. Place on parchment paper covered baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pans midway between cooking.
I picked up a 3lb vacuum pack of beef riblets because I wanted beef but not a steak. I also didn’t want to have to wait as long as something like a brisket or shoulder would take to smoke.
I started with the rub. I wanted one with no sugar as that doesn’t taste as good on beef as it does on pork. For brisket, I usually use a dalmatian rub of equal parts salt and black pepper but I wanted to put some additional flavor on the ribs. Once I put together granulated garlic and onion and some paprika, it needed a little something morish, so I added dry mustard. Excellent! You could put in some cayenne but the ribs I’m using are thin and I don’t want too much heat.
I cooked them in my Weber kettle grill over indirect with chunks of hickory wood for the smoke. Remember to give yourself plenty of time – smoking time on the grill was three hours but you need to add another hour of rest.
Definitely use a meat thermometer to check the internal temp but you know they’re getting near done when the meat has pulled away from the ends of the bone.
This is what you’re looking for – nice color, they crack a little at the bend and there is at least a finger width of bone showing. If you’ll be patient for just a little longer, you’ll have tender, juicy meat with a lovely flavor from the rub and the smoke.
After the long rest, they were very good and toothsome! Luckily no one else was around to see me eat the whole thing.
Smoking Beef Ribs on the Grill
¼ cup kosher salt ¼ cup black pepper 1 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoons onion powder 1 tablespoons paprika 1 tablespoon dry mustard
3 lb rack of beef ribs
Combine the rub ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Rinse the meat and pat dry. Remove the silver skin from the ribs. Loosen with a dull knife and use a paper towel to pull the membrane off. Coat both sides of the beef with the rub and set in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Store any unused rub in an airtight container.
Remove the meat from fridge and set on counter while the grill is prepped.
Prepare the grill for indirect cooking and to last 3 hours. I do this by putting a ring of unlit coals around my Weber kettle grill, making sure all the briquettes are touching each other. I fill a chimney with charcoal and, once the coals become ashy, I spread them on two sides of the grill, layered on top of some unlit coals. This way, they light the coals beneath them and slowly ignite the rest so the grill should maintain 225-250 degrees F for at least three hours.
Put a drip pan in the center of the grill and add water to the pan. This will keep things moist while the magic happens. Place the rack of ribs bone side down in the center of the grill. Add dampened hickory chunks to the fire to smoke. Let the ribs cook until they reach an internal temperature of 200-205 degrees F. Carry over temperature will bring them to 210, which is ideal for beef ribs. Take ribs off the heat and tent with aluminum foil. Let ribs rest for at least an hour before eating. If it will be longer than an hour before eating, place the ribs in a cooler lined with towels.
You can cheat once the meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees and wrap them in aluminum foil or butcher’s paper and let them finish cooking in an oven at 235 degrees F. While keeping them uncovered on the grill will allow for the best bark, I totally understand using the Texas crutch (and I have done so plenty of times myself).
While I don’t tend to use bbq sauce, the time to do so is when you wrap the ribs or for the final hour of cooking. Give them a generous baste and it will allow for another layer of flavor. Try my coca-cola bbq sauce. I avoid commercial sauces as they have a lot of sugar which can burn and add a bitter taste.
I was lucky to get invited to a tour of the Southwest Regional Flood Protection Authority facility on the West Bank with NOSHA and the local Sierra Club group. Absolutely fascinating about how much storm surge they stop and how much water they can pump out and how fast – to fill the Superdome from top to bottom would only take an hour and 45 minutes with their 11 pumps!
The building isn’t much more than the smokers and kitchen with a bunch of picnic tables under a metal roof. They are mainly open for lunch during the week. The food is good and comes out fast.
I had the pulled pork sandwich. It comes with the slaw on the sandwich but I had them put that on the side. Tender, juicy meat with a good flavor that hardly needed sauce. The mac and cheese was very tasty but a little grainy.
They’ve got a good selection of things besides sandwiches if you wanted to get a rack of ribs, whole or half chicken, turkey or brisket. They offer meat by the pound to take home or have meals for 10, 20, 30 people catered in addition to eating there in the open air. Check out their menu for the full list of options.
So, next time you’re over on the West Bank and want good food, fast – go to LA 23 BBQ
Oh, and if you open carry, you get a free drink!
LA 23 BBQ 9661 Highway 23 Belle Chasse, LA 70037 (504) 657-3693 11am to 4pm Tuesday-Saturday
I went to the Crescent City Sunday’s in City Park Farmer Market. They have an option to use the WhatsGood app to preorder from the vendors. On Sunday morning, you drive up and roll through the two aisles of the market with your trunk open and a placard in the window and the venders just put your stuff inside with no muss, no fuss, no contact.
I ordered a big amount of Creole tomatoes (they get their unique flavor from South Louisiana’s alluvial soil) and almost immediately upon returning home had a bacon and tomato sandwich. Delicious but I wanted more.
This is a pasta dish I had in Greece. It was tossed together as sort of an early pre-meal by one of my Dad’s coworkers for the crazy Americans who couldn’t wait until the civilized time of 9 or 10pm for dinner.
A little garlic, a lot of tomato and a touch of cheese make it simple to prepare and amazing to eat. The original was done with spaghetti noodles but I prefer rotini or penne pasta. They also used a goat cheese but I’m using what I have at home – Kraft Shredded Parmesan, Romano & Asiago Cheese.
It tastes like the essence of tomato. So, so good! Very bright and intense and so much better than any sauce from a can or jar.
This is an easy meal to scale up or down. The recipe below is for two people.
Bold Tomato Pasta
2 tablespoon olive oil 3 garlic cloves, minced 2 large tomatoes ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper ½ lb pasta (spaghetti or rotini or penne) ¼ cup Parmesan Romano & Asiago cheese blend
Cut off a dime-size piece of the base of the tomato using a sharp knife. Grate the tomato from the base along the coarse side of an upright box grater, discarding the skin and stem top.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and cook the pasta to al dente.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over low heat and add the garlic. Cook until soft and fragrant. Add the grated tomatoes, raise the heat to medium and cook until most of the tomato juices have mostly evaporated and what is left is a thick pulp, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and stir.
Serve the pasta mixed with the sauce and top, if desired, with a spoonful of cheese.