Smoky beef short ribs / asado

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About a year ago I enjoyed this article and video¬†and shared it with a lot of meat minded friends. Good kosher barbecue is a rarity – although I have enjoyed my friend Josh’s amazing efforts on occasion. I don’t know anywhere in Israel where I can get it. On top of everything else – the guy’s thought up a fabulous name for his company – Hakadosh Bar B Q is a pun of one of the more common name’s used for God. Unfortunately for him, the kosher authorities are not necessarily renowned for their senses of humour so they forced him to change it. He came up with “the Wandering Que” which I though was pretty clever.

What were the chances of my being in the right place at the right time to encounter the pop up barbecue given that I have spent very little time in the US in the last 5 years? Well – better than you might have thought apparently. My recent trip to the US saw me staying in Mid-Town Manhattan and my Facebook feed happened to let me know that he’d be wandering over to Broadway in the low fifties on my free Sunday.

So it was that between buying my ticket and tremendously enjoying a matinee performance of Book of Mormon (see it!) I managed to grab a very fat, exceedingly deliciously, brisket sandwich. My only regret was that I wasn’t able to eat the entire menu as it all looked so good!

Back to the present – my wife called me from the supermarket last week with the great news that there were some great sales on meat and asking what to get. She picked up Entrecote roasts and a couple of kilos of Asado (Kashtit in Hebrew) which is cut across the ribs – a delicious fatty cut traditionally cooked low and slow, preferably in a smoker.

I don’t have a smoker and my gas grill is not great for indirect cooking so I decided to see how I could get a good effect in the oven. Surprise, surprise it turns out that there are a variety of opinions on the best way to go about it! What spices to use, whether to cook covered or uncovered, even the idea of boiling the ribs first (don’t – you’ll get weak rib soup and lose a whole bunch of flavour from your meat).

What is common to the opinions are that you need to remove the membrane from the meat, that you should make a dry rub, involving various spices which should be applied well in advance – preferably overnight; that the cooking should be long and slow – approximately 3 hours in a low to medium oven either covered or uncovered; that a barbecue sauce should be painted on and finished under the grill / broiler at the end; that this would yield delicious, falling of the bone meat.

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Removing the membrane

I got busy with a sharp knife to remove the membrane – it’s a little fiddly but not too difficult to do.

In order to get some sort of smokiness to the meat, I started off by mixing some mustard with a few drops of liquid smoke Рa bottled concentrate evoking wood smoke which is carried in stores specialising in American products.

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dry rubbed meat

I continued the theme with my rub, including smoked paprika and smoked garlic among the spices used. Being hands on with the rub is the best way to go – use your hands to massage in the spice mix. In that salt plays a big part in the koshering process it’s a good idea to go easy on it in the mix – if you can find some smoked salt then that won’t hurt the flavour.

I then left the meat in the fridge for several hours before putting it into a low oven, bone down, covered by foil. Resist the temptation to check the meat – just let it go for 2 1/2 – 3 hours or longer. It will smell amazing and by the time it’s finished the meat will literally lift off the bone.

Lastly, I painted on some sauce – you can make your own if you have too much time on your hands but commercial stuff is fine too – under the broiler to caramelise it for a few minutes – be careful that it doesn’t burn though as it will leave a nasty taste in the mouth. We ate this Friday night and I immediately went back out to buy some more ribs for next time…..

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The finished articles…..

Ingredients

2 kilos of asado

3 tbsp mustard

1 tsp liquid smoke (if you can find it)

1/2 cup barbecue sauce

For the dry rub – there are so many recipes out there – I started off following one by tweaked it according to what I had no hand – all measures are rough:

1 tbsp instant coffee

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

1/2 tbsp smoked garlic

1/2 tbsp onion powder

1/4 tbsp cumin

20 grinds of black pepper

Method:

Remove the membrane from the beef with a sharp knife

Mix together the mustard and liquid smoke and massage into the beef

Mix together all spices and cover the meat on all sides with your mixture

Cover the meat with foil and place into a 160c / 325f oven. Go about your business for the next 2 1/2 – 3 hours

Uncover the meat, brush with barbecue sauce and place under the broiler for 5 – 7 minutes checking carefully to avoid burning.

Serve with beer

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