Home Run Sticky Ribs

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As the holiday weekend approaches, you may be searching for just the right mix to serve. Go smokin'- like a 95MPH fastball and you'll score with my homerun sticky ribs. But, you need to start early, they take time - but so worth the wait! Your friends and family will be so glad you did.

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Ribs & Sauce a perfect relationship

Everyone has a favorite way to serve ribs. Some like it dry, with just a rub, others will dip dry ribs and wet them down with a vinegary sauce, or lather them up with a sugary sticky sauce right before coming off the grill. Myself, I enjoy all versions. Variety is a good thing!

Ribs cannot be prepared in a hurry, so toss a burger on a separate hot grill while you wait. How-to prepare the Ribs.

For Making Ribs with Sticky Sauce:

15 minutes prior to removing the slow cooked ribs, brush ribs lightly with a little sauce to moisten and add flavor. Remove, cut and serve ribs as is or serve extra sauce on side for pouring over ribs. 

GH Rib Sauce

Makes 3 cups

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1/2 cup onion, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon thyme

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons fresh grated orange zest

1 cup ketchup 

1 cup tomato sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

Place the onion, green onions, garlic, cumin, thyme, vinegar, orange juice, and sugar in a small pot.  Boil until the vinegar is reduced by half.  Add orange zest, soy sauce, ketchup, tomato sauce, hot sauce and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Deep Dish Dinner

Change things up on the menu. It might be time to make a warm and comforting Chicken Pot Pie. This recipe is perfect for leftovers as well. The great thing about this recipe is you can assemble all the ingredients the day before, refrigerate and bake it in less than an hour before dinner. Make individual pies for fun or for serving up practical portions.

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For a fancier serving suggestion assemble the potpies in individual ovenproof size dishes. 

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Chicken Pot Pie

Makes 6 servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 

*1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cubed

1 cup carrots, diced

1/2 cup celery, peeled & chopped

1/2 cup fennel, chopped

1 cup Yukon potatoes, peeled and diced

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon each thyme, hot sauce

1/4 teaspoon each sea salt, fresh ground black pepper

pinch fresh grated nutmeg

1 3/4 cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk

1 cup frozen green peas

*2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts, or 1 Puff Pastry Sheet 

1 egg, with teaspoon milk, beaten for egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

baked pot pie

In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, fennel, celery and bay leaf. Add just enough of broth to cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and set aside. Remove bay leaf and discard.

In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, thyme and hot sauce. Slowly stir in remaining chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat, cool, add peas and potatoes and set aside.

Place the chicken mixture in bottom of a lightly pre-baked (see note) pie crust. Pour cool chicken mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape. Brush top lightly with egg wash. Do not puddle egg wash on top of dough or top will burn. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, lower temperature to 325 degrees or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cover edges with foil if it becomes too dark. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

chicken pot pie with heart crust

chicken pot pie with heart crust

Note: A wet sauce added to a bottom crust pie shell requires the pie dough to be slightly pre-baked to avoid it becoming soggy and raw. Place your bottom pie crust in the bottom of the pie pan or serving dish. Cover lightly with aluminum foil outlining the crust so it will bake blind (no color). Bake for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove and proceed with recipe as directed.

Optional serving suggestions:

*You may use boneless dark meat or 2 cups leftover pre-cooked chicken.

- Serve in individual crocks. Pour chicken mixture into crocks and place dough over each one.

*George’s Favorite Pie Crust

Makes 1 pie or 2 bottom crusts

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup cold milk

Chill the butter and milk before you begin. Chilling keeps the pie crust flaky and prevents the fat pieces from melting into the flour and becoming tough. 

Next, mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder. Cut the chilled butter into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The mixture should have fat lumps no larger than the size of raisins. If making pie crust in the summer time cool off the flour by measuring your flour and refrigerate one hour before making dough.

Pour in the chilled liquid just until the milk is absorbed, mixing gently with a fork. You should be able to gently press the dough into a ball. Mix the dough as little as possible: you don't want to cream the lumps of butter into the flour. A crust without lumps of butter will be dense, not flaky. Note that humidity will affect how much liquid the flour will absorb.

Split the dough into two parts; 2/3 and 1/3 (2/3 for the bottom and 1/3 for the top). Pat them into balls, flattening them slightly, and wrap them in plastic wrap. The dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Overnight is preferred. Chilling lets the flour absorb all of the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in separate pieces which will give the crust a lighter texture when it is baked.

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Charred and Stuffed

I prepared this dish for friends years ago while I was visiting in England, where trout is abundant. But rest assured, this recipe works very well with so many other whole fish such as; Steelhead, Coho and Artic Char —also a big favorite of mine and a few of my close friends. 

 - The trick with grilling any whole fish is to have a very clean grill; surface-cast iron is my preference, well-seasoned (not salt & pepper) meaning oiled by brushing w/vegetable oil or sprayed with vegetable spray when cold. And that's before lighting the grill. 

- I prefer using lump charcoal for this recipe, but no sweat, a gas grill is OK. Add a couple pieces of soaked wood chips to the grill a few minutes before cooking the fish - it adds another layer of flavor.

- This part is key; the grill must be very hot so the fish does not stick. Also, you’ll notice in this recipe that the fish is brushed with olive oil. Make it look like it just came out of the spa, after a well oiled ayurvedic massage. 

- Use a very wide spatula to turn and remove the trout from grill. 

- Cooking a whole fish. Feeling a little intimidated and insecure? Forget therapy, just do it. You may however: after turning over the trout, add it to a well greased pan and finish grilling inside the pan. But that is if and only if you think you can’t hold it together — I mean the trout together.  

This recipe is really that easy, it's just a step beyond cooking a burger.

Charred Stuffed Trout

Makes 4 servings | From Adventures in Grilling cookbook by George Hirsch with Marie Bianco, ©1996

One 8 ounce salmon fillet
1/2  cup bread crumbs from day-old French or Italian bread
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise, (I prefer the new olive oil mayo)
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
3 egg whites
6 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
Four 12-tounce rout, cleaned, gutted, and boned
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Pre heat the grill to high.

Process the salmon in a food processor using the on/off button until it is ground but not pureed. Add the bread crumbs, mayonnaise, dill, hot sauce and pepper and blend for 30 seconds. Add the egg whites and mix for 1 minute. Fold in the shrimp with a rubber spatula.

Fill each trout with a quarter of the stuffing. Secure with skewer or toothpick. Brush the trout with the olive oil and grill for 2 minutes on each side. Lower the heat to medium or move the trout to the cooler edges of the grill and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

Really fresh fish does not require a sauce; just drizzle a small amount of extra virgin olive oil, and drizzle a little fresh lemon- top off with a little fresh dill on top.