Frying up some home-made sausages.

I decided I needed to try to make my own sausages. My wonderful, wonderful butcher has some great sausages, but really, I wanted to give it a try. To add my own flavors, make my own combinations. It was  one of those things I felt the need to try at least once.

Add seasoning before grinding, to make it easier to mix all flavors after grinding

Like many of the foods I feel the need

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… or you’re wrong.

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Yumm

(And for those of you who don’t eat pork. There’s a reason they invented turkey bacon.)

Happy spring you all!

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Thick, juicy seasoned ribs are ready to be smoked and grilled.

Way back in September or so, I ran out of gas on my grill. Since it was getting colder and the weather was getting nastier, I kept postponing the refill (or forgetting if that’s what you want to call it…)

When buying all my seeds and soil and stuff for my garden, I realized I could buy my refill right there and so next to gardening season, grilling season was opened again as well.

I started out grilling some of the best burgers I’ve ever grilled. Good quality beef with some great seasoning and grated semi-aged farm cheese. It doesn’t get much better than that if you talk burgers. Grilling, however, can always get better when you move on to ribs. I’ve mentioned my ribs on here before. Seasoned with an award winning rub and slowly cooked away from direct heat with some good smoking chips added to the grill.

When mentioning those ribs back them, I also mentioned that the key to awesome ribs, is the removal of the membrane. It allows the flavors to truly seep through, not only the seasoning, but the smoke as well. And the slow grilling makes them fall-of-the-bone delicious. Sure, full on smoking them for 12 hours as they do in great BBQ joints is better. I’m not going to deny that. But if you have a busy life doing it my way will still give you awesome ribs, without having to spend 12 hours.

Removing the membrane from the rib; use a paper towel and just do it!

As soon as you know how it’s done, it really is very easy. You take a regular dinner knife, with a rounded top, and pry it under the  membrane in a corner somewhere. You just need to lift it a little to get a start. Don’t use a very sharp knife, as that’ll just tear the membrane.

Once you have a little starting point, you just pull. The membrane and the ribs will be slippery, so holding the membrane with a paper towel while you pull makes this job a whole lot easier.

Sprinkle on the seasoning, I use 'Team Sweet Mama Kansas City rub'

Once all the membrane is taken off (you might have to do it in pieces, if it rips), you season your ribs on all sides with a good rib rub and let it sit for a short time while you heat up the grill.

Make sure to season on both sides of the ribs.

We’re using indirect heat, so light only 1 half of the grill. Place an aluminum bowl with some smoke chips over the flames. The directions for your smoke chips will be on the bags. Some need to be soaked, some don’t.

Close the lid and let the grill heat up. As soon as you see some smoke escaping, your grill is ready to put the ribs on there.

Make sure you give your ribs a good rub before putting them on the grill, it really helps them soak up the flavor.

Place the ribs on the other side of the grill, the side where there is no fire. Check on them after about half an hour, turn them over and brush them with a solution of vinegar, ketchup and the rib rub. Continue doing so every 20 to 30 minutes until the meat is fully cooked. Depending on the thickness of the ribs this may take between 1 to 2 1/2 hours. If it’s going too slow you may place it closer to the flames (or even on top) after an hour to speed things up.

Make sure the temperature under the hood of your grill is always between 125 and 150 degrees celsius, lower than that and it will actually take forever.

Enjoy your fall off the bone, delicious, awesome smoky ribs.

 

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Dutch weather is among the most unpredictable things in the world. It gets annoying, really. Between the end of February and the middle of May you can never tell whether you’ll be needing warm mittens or skimpy dresses. There will likely even be days where you’ll need both.

The months in which you have no idea what to wear are the same months I need to start my seeds for my garden. After last year’s tomato debacle I haven’t given up. I actually got even more enthusiastic, buying a miniature windowsill greenhouse and lots of seeds. Instead of buying seedlings, I decided to grow them myself. I also decided to plan my garden differently and to diversify a bit. I started reading up on things and learned scary words like cotyledons.

It’s all for a good cause though. With a little bit of luck and a bit of assistance from the weather gods, we will likely hardly buy vegetables this summer. Everything should be obtained from either our own garden, or through

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guanciale

Guanciale, one of Italy's tastiest secrets.

If you’ve ever read this blog before and/or haven’t been hiding under a rock, you know that I love Italian delicacies. Unfortunately with the exception of prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano and Pecorino, most Italian meats and cheeses are either hard to come by outside of Italy, or extremely expensive. Sure, knock-offs are widely available since Italian food has become immensely popular around the globe, but the true taste of Italy is hard to come by.

One of these delicacies is guanciale. Guanciale translates to

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