Dry Barbecue Rubs

Here's something that makes me feel mighty good about Texas Cooking. One of our readers, Don Jackson in Springfield, Illinois, has sent us one of the real "secrets" of good barbecuing that we want to share with our readers. On the subject of dry rubs, Mr. Jackson says:

"Make your own. The only thing you'll get from buying cookbooks that give recipes on dry rubs, are the basics. If you. re going to buy books on this topic, and I have several hundred not including newspaper and magazine articles, you can gain one small piece of knowledge. That is, dry rubs are as personal as your toothbrush. Most folks won't give you that special spice that really sets their rub apart from the crowd. Here is how you develop your own personal or family dry rub.

  1. Get a large bowl (the biggest you own) and set it on the counter.
  2. Take every spice you really like and arrange them on the counter to the left of the bowl.
  3. Put two or three cups of Hungarian paprika in the bowl.
  4. Take your all-time favorite spice from the assortment on the left and add some to the bowl.
  5. Using a wire whisk, mix the paprika and your favorite spice.
  6. Taste the mixture by wetting your finger and touching it to the tip of your tongue.
  7. If you can taste the spice and then the paprika, you have added enough.
  8. If you can't taste both, repeat step 4.
  9. Continue this until you have added all of your favorite spices.
  10. If at this point you. re still not happy with your new dry rub, add some seasoning salt and you'll be impressed with your very own invention . {Your-name-goes-here} Dry Rub.
You can use a good dry rub on most anything, because it will taste different on pork than on beef or in soups and so on and so on. Enjoy.

One Eyed Jack WMAY Radio, Springfield, Illinois

Chili and Jack Daniels

Rich asks for a recipe for chili that includes Jack Daniels.

Take your favorite chili recipe and add as much Jack Daniels as your conscience will permit. If the taste you get is a little different from what you expected, you might try off-setting it with a bit of brown sugar dissolved in fresh lime juice. This sounds like something that would really be good on a cold winter evening.

Water Smoker Recipes

Phil wants some recipes for his new water smoker. The Doctor says that any recipe that is for a regular grill or smoker will work just fine with the water smoker. Just follow the directions that came with the water smoker.

Baby Back Ribs

Uncle Huge down in Houston wants to know if any special treatment should be given baby back ribs when barbecuing them. The baby backs are treated like any other rib. They will be more tender than spare ribs and will take less cooking time. Keep . em about 230-250 degrees for 4-8 hours. Give them a coat of your finishing sauce about 30 minutes before you take them off the grill. They are done when you can pull them apart with your fingers. Let your ribs set about fifteen minutes before slicing them.

Basic Texas Chili

Hardly a month goes by that we don. t get a request for Texas chili recipes. This one is for Albert.

In a heavy skillet, sauté the meat in a small amount of oil or shortening until it is gray and gives up its juices. Transfer the meat to stew pot and discard juices.

While the meat is still hot, mix in the onion and garlic, salt and black pepper to taste. Let it sit covered for thirty minutes. Add enough water to cover the meat. Put in the spices and bring to a simmer. Cook until the meat is tender. You may have to add water if mix becomes too dry. Add the tomato sauce, simmer another twenty minutes.

If the chili is not spicy enough for your taste, add a small amount of cayenne. Mix 2 tablespoons flour with one half cup of water. Raise the heat under the chili until you get a good boil. Stir in the flour/water mixture, continue stirring until mixture thickens. Reduce heat and simmer about fifteen more minutes. Serve with saltines or tortillas.

If you want to fancy things up a little, use beef stock instead of the water. If you use canned stock, watch the salt. Or you can use a beef bullion cube or two with your water. Jalapeño pepper adds a great taste to Texas chili. You can mince a fresh one with your onion and garlic. Start with half a pepper and work up from there. Some chili chefs float a canned jalapeno on top their chili as it simmers. Squeeze out the juice into the pot and discard the rest. Some folk use oregano in their chili. It was probably in the original recipe. I find it tends to make things a bit bitter. Bitterness in your chili can be off-set with a bit of dark brown sugar. A trace of basil might benefit your recipe, too.

That. s it until next month. Keep those e-mails coming.