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Just Winging It BBQ Ribs

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Just Winging It Ribs

I call this stuff  “Winging It Ribs” because I just went with the flow and cooked like a guy with no formal cooking experience or the common sense to research helpful tips.  I made these Ribs over the weekend and prepped it the night before the actual BBQ.

The Meat Tenderizer
A bottle of Dr. Pepper

Before packing on the dry rub, I brushed the ribs with some Dr. Pepper to tenderize them a bit.  I remember seeing it being used on a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives episode where a cook used the soda to marinate his Tri-tip Steak. Initially, I was going to only use dry rub to coat the Ribs….but I decided to use the Dr. at the last moment.

The Dry Rub
1.5 cups of Brown Sugar
1 cup of Dehydrated Garlic Chips
1 cup of Dehydrated Chopped Onions

After mixing all of these ingredients together, using a tablespoon to distribute the rub, I spread the mix onto both sides of a each rack.  I then rubbed the mix into the meat with my bare hands and wrapped each one up like a burrito in tin foil.   Following that I stored them all in my fridge for overnight.

Farmer John’s Ribs From Smart and Final
2 packages of Pork Ribs (each package contained 2 racks.) – cost about 20 bucks each.
2 packages of Baby Back Ribs. (1 rack per package) – cost 10 bucks each

Four hours before BBQ time, I placed the larger racks of tin-foiled Pork Ribs into an oven that was preheated at 350º.  After one hour had passed, I placed the smaller Baby Bag Ribs into the oven and just let them  cook for 3 hours longer.

Winging It Sauce
1 cup of Jim Beam (or Jack Daniels)
1.5 cups of Brown Sugar
1 can of Tomato Sauce
1 whole bottle of a medium size A-1 Sauce
5 spoonfuls of Asian Hot Chili Oil

In a heated pot I got all the alcohol out of the Jim Beam by lighting it on fire like how Beavis and Butthead would.  I used a single match and survived with my eyebrows still intact.  I then added the Tomato Sauce, A-1, Chili Oil, and the 1.5 cups of Brown Sugar into the mix.  On medium high heat and while stirring, I let the sugar in the sauce start to boil up before I took it off the burner.   Unfortunately, I think I made the mistake of not condensing the sauce long enough because when it was time to grill, the sauce didn’t caramelize the way I wanted it to on the ribs.   I probably should have let the sauce simmer longer because it was  too watery.

On The Grill

On a hot (gas powered) grill, I placed the meatier side of each rack on top first just to burn off  any excess wet rub.  Since the Ribs were steaming in it’s own juices underneath the foil, the dry rub and fat drippings grouped up together by the bulk.  As that happened, I painted the bone side up of each rack with my special sauce, flipped them over and did the same on the other side   Through out the process, I would flip the ribs over a few times and add more sauce in order to get the right color.  However, like I mentioned up above, I didn’t get the exact channelization I wanted…..but the ribs still came out succulent and flavorful.

The Good: The ribs were tasty, sweet, and fall-off-the-bone tender.

The Bad: The sauce didn’t caramelize the way I wanted it to on the grill and the amount of Chili Oil I added didn’t give off any heat.  During the BBQ…the weather sucked.

Budae Jjigae aka Korean Military Stew

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The Skinny: I consider Budae Jjigae to be Korea’s stone soup and I love it. It’s a stew that came about during the Korean War when people used whatever they could find to make something with a lot of calories to burn.

I usually go to Toe Bang (3465 W. Sixth St. Los Angeles) in Korea-town for my fix and it costs about 20 bucks an order.  I first started going to Toe Bang at an age where I should have been carded, but never was.  It’s been kind of a Zen thing when I eat this communal hot pot of mystery meats and sodium induced broth.  I really need the atmosphere to be a certain way to really enjoy the experience of raising my own blood pressure through consumption.  When Toe Bang first opened, it used to be made up of a green canopy, lawn chairs, and metal patio tables.  Now it has wood furnishing all over with flat screen TVs and heat lamps keeping customers warm due to the main seating area being outdoors, and outside is where you want to be.  Add some Korean Euro-trash techno music, soju, and some red faced lightweight Koreans yapping in the background…and you have the perfect Budae Jjigae atmosphere.  It’ll make you feel like you’re in another country…like Korea!

However, things have changed a little bit too much at Toe Bang.  Instead of being able to cook the Budae Jjigae at your own table with your own little gas powered hot pot, they cook it before hand and just serve it to you; and that just kills the fun.

So now, I just cook it at home and with my friends….but it isn’t the same as going out and having it in Korea-town where people still smoke indoors.


* 2-3 cans of Swanson’s chicken stock
* half an onion sliced up
* some sliced up spam
* some hot dogs sliced up
* some burger patties rolled up into tiny balls the size of your thumb
* Firm Tofu
* green onions sliced up
* vegis like bean sprouts, cabbage, and enoki mushrooms.
* Sliced rice cakes
* Korean Red Chili Paste
* Chrysanthemum leaves which is a must. They come in bundles.
* A portable Hot Pot, electric or gas powered. The bigger, the better.
* Nong Shim Neoguri Udon – Ramen with some thick ass noodles.
* and Soju!….Chamisul to be more specific.

It’s not really rocket science as to how you bring it all together. There’s no set amount of ingredients because after all, it’s a military stew. You just start heating up the hot pot, add the sliced onions and pour in some chicken stock. When it starts getting hot, take 2 big spoonfuls of red chili paste and stir it into the pot until it becomes thick with red.  When it begins to boil, that’s when you add the mystery meats, tofu, sprouts, and Chrysanthemum leaves.  Then at the very end, add the ramen noodles and green onions.  Serve it with rice, kimchee, and shot glasses full of soju…and you’re set to go.

– MJ