For me, barbeque is truly a user-experience nonpareil. So, here's the second in what could be a long series of my favorite recipes.
I'd like to take credit for incredibly simple, incredibly well-tasting BBQ chicken recipe, but I can't. It originally comes from the LBJ Ranch, the Texas home of former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson. I assume his wife, Lady Bird, is responsible for inventing it.
What you need
A chicken - cut into quarters
Salt and pepper
1 chopped yellow onion
1 stick of butter (about 1/4 cup melted or 125 g in stick form)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worchestershire sauce.
Note: an American cup is about 250 ml. 1 stick of butter is about 125 g.
What to do
(Step-by-step pictures below)
Wash and dry the chicken and cut it up. I usually just use the breast and thighs. But you can use as much or as little of the chicken as you like. Generally, our cat Gus gets to chew on the stuff I don't use.
Melt the butter, sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is transparent. If you don't like garlic, leave it out. But the onion is critical. Add all the rest of the ingredients and bring it to a boil. You can do all of this ahead of time and just bring the sauce up to a boil just before you need to put the bird in the oven.
Now, season the chicken with salt and pepper, put it in an oven-proof dish, and broil it until it gets a little crusty. Golden brown is nice, but you don't want to overdo this. About five minutes should be about right.
Finally, take the chicken out, pour on the sauce, make sure the meat is drenched. Then stick it back in the oven at a medium heat (about 375F, 190C, gas mark 5) for about an hour. Baste a couple of times along the way - the more often you baste, the better it will be.
Serve with rice or potatos.
Simple? You bet! And it tastes great!
Chicken washed and quartered.
Seasoned and lightly broiled...
Bringing the BBQ sauce to a boil...
Pouring the sauce over the pre-broiled chicken
Make sure to cover the chicken completely
Umm! About 20 minutes to go...
All set to go. Use a new dish if you're fussy about presentation.
A little wildrice goes great!
I always get a little hot under the collar when folks tell me that user experience (UX) is something that takes place strictly online. Nonsense! I’m about to give you a recipe for BBQ ribs that will change your life. And if that ain't user experience, I don't know what is.
Memphis, blues, and BBQ
Yesterday, I got back from Memphis, Tennessee from the 10th annual Information Architecture Summit (which probably needs to be renamed the UX Summit…but that’s a different blogpost).
Memphis is a city in distress. Countless vacant storefronts cast their darkened eyes at deserted streets. Clearly, Memphis has never fully recovered from any of the earlier economic downturns. Locals tell me the city has been on a downward spiral for decades. Even so, the populace remains amazingly open and friendly despite their hardships.
Memphis by day
The truth is, after you’ve seen the sporadic attractions – Elvis’ Graceland, Sun Studios, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the ducks swimming in the fountain at the Peabody Hotel – the cultural experiences are limited.
Two factors, though, provide life-support to the dying town: blues and barbeque. And I love them both.
Beale by night
Good eating in Memphis
Beale Street is the cultural center of Memphis. Every honky-tonk and café has a blues band. And BBQ is literally the order of the day – ribs and pulled pork. For the vegetarians, there’s also fried catfish, fresh from the muddy Mississippi River, about a half mile down the road. If you're a strict vegetarian, you'd best stay home.
Menu from the Blues City Cafe, corner of Beale and Second.
Memphis-style ribs are great, but a little dry for my liking. So in the interest of promoting offline user experience, I’d like to share my own favorite recipe for BBQ ribs.
Big Duck Eric’s Fabulous BBQ Ribs
There are two key ingredients in this recipe: rub
. Prepare them both and then I’ll tell you how to use them.
Rub: (mix in a small bowl)
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder (sweet chili if available or “sweet delicacy” paprika)
2 teaspoons coarse salt (sea or kosher)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley (crushed)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (crushed)
1 teaspoon sugar
Note: this is COOKING not baking. So exact measurements are not particularly critical. Honestly, if you triple the amount of oregano, the recipe will still work. Personally, I triple the amount of bourbon (see below).
Marinade: (mix in a big bowl)
1 cup pineapple juice (apple works, too, but NOT orange juice, which is too sour)
1 cup cheap dry red wine (cheap but still drinkable)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vinegar (cider is best)
1/2 cup soy sauce (Chinese not Japanese - we want the extra salt)
1/4 cup yellow mustard (Dijon can be used if necessary)
A generous dollop of bourbon (exactly 73 ml – more or less)
1 teaspoon (minimum) hot sauce (Tabasco, Frank’s, Crystal, whatever)
1 tablespoon = 15ml (in Australia, this is 20ml, but it doesn’t really matter)
1 teaspoon = 5ml (same in Australia)
1 cup = 250ml (who the hell knows what it is in Australia)
Putting it all together
Trim the fat off 2 kg (4-5 pounds) of pork ribs (loin back or meaty spareribs). Rub them on both sides with the rub (use your fingers – there’s no neat way of doing this, which is why it’s called a “rub”). Use more rub on the meat side; less on the bone side.
Arrange the ribs in single-use foil roasting pans (you’ll never get the residual gunk off of a regular roasting pan when you’re done cooking). Pour the marinade over the ribs and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Cut the sides of ribs to fit your trays as necessary – just make sure they’re immersed in the marinade.
Preheat your oven to about 180 degrees C (375 F, gas mark 4-5). Or arrange your Weber grill for indirect grilling. Or do the same for your gas grill, preheating on high and then reducing your heat to “medium”.
Place the uncovered pans on the grill (but close the lid on the grill since this is basically a roasting process). Spoon marinade over them regularly (baste), every 15 minutes or so. Let them bake for about an hour and a half or until tender (could be as much as two hours). You’ll know that they’re tender when you can pull two ribs apart in the center of the rack and the meat tears with little or no resistance.
If you like a more smoky flavor, you can throw water-soaked wood chips onto your charcoal grill during the last 30 minutes of cooking - apple and hickory work great; mesquite is a bit overpowering in combination with a sweet sauce like this.
I assure you, these are amazing ribs. Truly a user experience to be remembered. And if these get you hot under the collar, well, that’s the idea!
Come and get it!