Friday, August 15, 2014

Basic Rib Rub

This is my basic rub for pork when I'm making BBQ, and it's especially good on ribs - the recipe makes enough for a typical rack of baby back ribs.  You can easily change out ingredients or change amounts to get a different flavor, but this base is pretty well rounded; just make sure to put it on fairly heavily and at least half an hour before transferring the meat to the smoker so the rub has a chance to adhere.  I've also included a quadrupled recipe which makes enough for a serious smoking session.

1 T pepper
1.5 T garlic powder
1/2 T mustard powder
1 T onion powder
1/2 T cumin
1 T paprika
5-6 T brown sugar
1 T cayenne, or to taste (this makes it moderately spicy)
1.5 T salt

4x recipe (makes about a quart)
4 T pepper
6 T garlic powder
2 T mustard powder
4 T onion powder
2 T cumin
4 T paprika
20 T brown sugar
4 T cayenne, or to taste (this makes it moderately spicy)
6 T salt

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Arugula, Walnut, and Blue Cheese Salad with Duck Confit

A rich salad, but one that takes some work because you'll have to make the duck confit (recipe to follow) yourself if you want to get the full richness of the dressing.

For the salad:
1 bunch arugula
1/2 head of frisee
1 1/2 C toasted walnuts, chopped
4 legs of duck confit
2 C dried cranberries or dried cherries
1 1/2 C crumbled blue cheese

2/3 C olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T sherry vinegar
1 1/2 T Dijon mustard
2 T shallot, chopped
2-3 T of confit fat*
3 T of confit jelly*
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 t liquid lecithin (optional, but it emulsifies the dressing well)

Preheat your oven to 425 F, then warm up the duck legs for ~12 minutes.  Cool slightly, then separate the skin before shredding the duck.  Crisp up the skin in a skillet as you would bacon.

Microwave the confit fat and jelly to liquify, then combine with the other dressing ingredients in a blender, and pulse to combine.  Check for seasoning; if you omit the confit fat and jelly you'll probably need to add a fair amount of salt.  Adding lecithin ensures that your dressing doesn't break as easily and makes it thicker and creamier; liquid lecithin can be found relatively cheaply in most health food stores.

Shred the arugula and frisee, then add the walnuts, blue cheese, and cranberries; top the salad with crumbles of crispy duck skin.

*Note: these are things that you can only get by making the confit yourself; after curing I confit my duck legs in a mixture of bacon grease and either lard or duck fat.  When you get done with the confit you can separate out the fat from the liquid that comes out of the meat while being cooked.  The liquid that comes out develops a LOT of flavor and gets a lot of gelatin from long slow cooking (it will set up like jello in the fridge making it easy to separate the fat and liquid).  Both the fat and the jelly bring a lot of flavor and salt, so if you don't have these your dressing will be flatter and need more seasoning; it also won't have the same body, even with the lecithin.