Tag Archives: barbecue

i8tonite: BBQ Ribs and Four Seasons Scottsdale

20151019_075052Honestly, I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m going with it. I created a food blog/website about food, recipes and travel. Writing about people I admire, places I’ve been and food I’ve enjoyed and can share with individuals – hopefully, a takeaway recipe for the reader to cook. That’s it. That’s all I want to do.

At the end of the day, that’s what I’m thinking. Cooking, eating and being with people you love. Three simple things. I worked a wine tasting over the weekend, and I kept thinking to myself, “Who are these people? What stories do they have?” as I plied them with an inexpensive sparkling.

I think the question isn’t so much who they are but who I’m becoming?

I know I’m different than I was five years ago when the dam broke. It was a self-imposed structure that stayed turbulent emotions, eventually needing some navigating. I erected it for survival – we all do it – the edifice kept feelings in-check. Although, like any man-made constructions it cracks, needing a variety of sealants but the façade always breaks down. Once it’s down, erecting a new dam is possible but it will never be the same.

With my journey, the one constant is food and looking for it. Having it, not having it. Will it ever be enough? Am I enough?  I have to remember that I have enough today and all those questions need not apply… if ever again. With my work for i8tonite, my food clients, and other culinary on-line experiences, I was invited with Nick to have an experience at the Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North. We ate exceptional food and gawked at the vistas that only Mother Nature could make. From the lobby of the hotel, the view is breathtaking. Undulating mountain ranges blanketed by the blue Arizona skies. The earth’s dusky rose color flecked with prickly cactus and foremost amongst them, the mighty saguaros. Much like the California redwoods, these plants are resilient and massive. Invincible, like The Hulk, with arms reaching out asking for nothing but the elements and solitude. Yep, that was my view this morning. It was enough for today.

I was planning on cooking a delicious dish from Carolyn Jung’s San Francisco Chef’s Table: The City by The Bay (Lyon’s Press, ISBN 978-0-7627-9226-9). Carolyn is one of my favorite food journalists working today I want to support her as she has supported my food and hotel clients over the years.  Unfortunately, the days got away from me, and I wasn’t able to cook. Next week, though. Last week, I made an incredible beet and apple salad from the noted food memoirist and award-winning writer, Kim Sunee, whom I’ve also had the pleasure of knowing and working with over the years. Her book, Mouthful of Stars: A Constellation of Favorite Recipes from My World Travels, is mesmerizing as it trips effortlessly from Asia to Europe to Louisiana. I made her BBQ ribs to accompany last week’s salad to share at a later date. I guess this is the later date. I made it with some small tweaks that I always do to a recipe. It’s delicious and enough for today.


You Will Need (Feeds 3 – 4):

About 9 pounds of Baby Back ribs or pork ribs.


Kim Sunee’s Spicy Tangy Sauce

¾ cup apple cider vinegar

¾ cup Frank’s RedHot Sauce

½ cup of fresh OJ

½ cup of ketchup

Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce

5 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon New Mexico red chile powder (Sprout’s carries this in bulk.)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoons sea salt


Dry Rub: This is the reason I loved this recipe.

1/3 cup of New Mexico Chile powder

3 tablespoons ground cumin

1 tablespoon coriander

1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper


Let’s Make This Puppy:

Preheat the oven 300 degrees and then line baking sheets or low rimmed pans with aluminum foil. While, the oven gets toasty, make the rub in a bowl and combining all the ingredients. Once made, work onto the meat, getting into the fibers. Roast it uncovered for about 2 hours. (You could stop here.)


Place all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce in a medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat for approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Once the ribs have cooked for their first two hours, brush with the sauce and cover tightly in more foil. Bake for another hour and serve with sauce on the side.


The End. Go Eat.



I8tonite: 4th of July Homemade Barbecue Sauce

American Flag
American Flag

Barbecue is a fundamental right of every American to enjoy. It is an American creation as much as our Declaration of Independence. It not just a food for celebration, it is a showcase of our cultural melting pot that helped to create our nation.

Barbecue, the act of grilling or smoking meats with a fire may or may not come from the Spanish word barbacoa. Historians seems to be uncertain but they do know that the technique came to the United States by way of the Caribbean, via the Spanish and the reprehensible slave trade. Cooking over slow-burning coals, although brought to the shores in the 17th century, became rooted in our country’s Southern states by the late 19th century and is every bit as American as jazz and rhythm and blues.


A very, very truncated version of barbeque history is that slaves had much to do with the barbeque as we know it today. Pigs were plentiful and hid in the woods so they were free. However, it was a long process to clean the animals so gatherings were created to butcher, prepare, cook — and give away — as much of the meat as possible. The sauce was adopted with a vinegar and tomato base to “mop” the meat, saturating it to assist in cutting the pig’s fat and possible gaminess of a wild hog upon eating. The slow-roasted meat, like in many cultures, was basted and then served with the same sauce.

As we celebrate this auspicious day in our country’s history, we are cooking a time-honored tradition that was created — not by just one culture – but by many generations born in the United States and on American soil.  For me, it brings to mind why we honor July 4th – for freedom for all — and that whether you are black, white, gay, straight, hermaphrodite, transgendered, yellow, orange, gender-neutral, rainbow-colored or albino the first sentence of the second paragraph from the Declaration of Independence: “… that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Continental Congress, July 4, 1776


Homemade BBQ Sauce (Adapted from the kitchn) Makes 3 cups

I tablespoon olive oil

½ chopped red onion

4 – 5 garlic cloves, minced (I love garlic)

1 (8-ounce) can of tomato paste and 1 (8-ounce) can of tomato sauce or 1 (16-ounce) can of tomato sauce.

2 teaspoons of cumin, preferably freshly ground and toasted

4 tablespoons of dark brown sugar

¾ cup of apple cider vinegar

¼ cup of honey (or molasses, agave syrup, maple syrup, Karo syrup). Each one will impart a different flavor so it’s up to the cook and what you have in your pantry.

1/8 cup of Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup of yellow, brown or Dijon mustard (never grainy)

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 teaspoons liquid smoke

Several dashes of hot sauce to taste (if you want it with some kick.) I used sriracha as it had the heat. I wanted to temper the sweetness with some high temperature on the finish.


Let’s make this puppy:

Using a medium size sauce pan, drizzle in the olive oil and get it hot. Throw in the onions and cook until soft. Add the garlic. Stir until fragrant.

Add the cumin and tomato sauce/puree. (Add 8 ounce of water if using the puree). Stir.

Now add all the remaining ingredients and stir until thickened. Add more water, if you would like a thinner sauce. Also, at this point, see if you want to add more sweetener or make it zestier.

Use it as a baste for meats or non-meats. Serve extra on the side.

NOTE: This is a homemade barbeque sauce. It’s delicious but you can definitely play around with the ingredients. There should not be a hard and fast rule. Just deliciousness.