Friday, May 04, 2007

Cooking with tea

Ever get a hankerin' (later, I'll swear I didn't use that word) for smoky BBQ ribs but you just can't get outside? America's Test Kitchen elves really dreamed up an odd combination to recreate that smoky slow cooked flavor of BBQ ribs done on the grill. I grill outside all the time but I was interested in their tricky way of adding the smoke flavor; Lapsang Souchong tea. Would this work?

Doodles and I adore Peet's Tea blend, Russian Caravan but for this recipe you'll need the full strength "kick-ass" tea not cut with anything else. Twinnings in the individual bag is best because it's finely ground, if not, whir it in the coffee grinder.

The quick basics to this was:
  • Rub and refrigerate ribs for 24 hours then freeze 45 minutes. I used my rub but ATK has one in the recipe.
  • Heat pizza stone in 500 degree oven until really hot. They say 45 minutes.
  • Sprinkle the smoky tea on sheet pan, then place ribs on rack above and cover all with heavy foil.
  • Place sheet pan on stone and cook ribs for 30 minutes.
  • Lower temp to 250 and pour 1/2 cup of apple juice in bottom of pan.
  • Continue to roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until the meat comes off the bone.
  • The ribs will be pale so I sauced them and put them under the broiler.

Now I love the show but the two Test Kitchen folks were just so amazed at how smoky the ribs were. They're always amazed, thrilled, or just plain starved but it's their show and their cooking. I didn't find the ribs to have the same wonderful all-day smoked flavor they raved about though I followed their method exactly. What I did have were some tasty fall-off-the-bone, little bit smoky, ribs that were quite easy and could be done ahead and sauced and broiled later. What I love is they are willing to try some odd combos and this makes me more adventurous in the kitchen.

Recipe on ATK

Editor's note: That BBQ sauce is from Trader Joe's and has no HFCS.


maltese parakeet said...

ooh, i've got some lapsang souchong that i tried once (and promptly spit into the sink). it's just been taking up room in my cupboard, but maybe now i can do something with it. there's a south asian dish (vietnamese?) that poaches chicken in lapsang souchong that i've been meaning to try, too.

Sylvie said...

Goes to show you, nothing substitutes for real outdoors wood smoked flavor and color.

After tasting real BBQ, I don't think I could go back to oven cooked ribs.

I have a Cameron stove top smoker which is ok for fish.

mooncrazy said...

Sylvie, I almost said in the post, "Sylvie, stop reading now." You have the most luscious looking smoked food items I could imagine.

Deborah Dowd said...

I have never tried smoking indoors, but I love tea smoking (and posted about it for a colleague of my daughter's). It is a great way to get a delicate smoke flavor.

Ellie said...

I don't think I've ever actually tried this tea before, I'm intruiged as to how it could impart a smoky flavour! Something to put in the 'to try' pile methinks!

Chris said...

This is a new one for me! Very cool. Looks a whole lot better than the ribs I ate out last night!