The Meatwave: Barbecue & Grilling Recipes, Reviews, Tips, and Tricks

Tue Sep 1, 2015

Apricot-Glazed Barbecue Ribs

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Apricot-glazed Ribs

Ever since taking up competition barbecue, I've become obsessed with finding a way to make the most consistently perfect slow-smoked pork ribs that can elicit awards from faceless judges. In the process, my rib method has grown to include all sorts of meticulous steps, like wrapping the ribs in foil at just the right time, adding a braising liquid to get them perfectly tender, and monitoring the temperature more closely than doctors keeping tabs on patient's vitals in the ICU.

The resulting competition ribs have earned me a few trophies, but they're honestly not the kind I love most. You see, I'd rather use a simpler method and push the flavor with additional spices and heat, but that can be risky in a competition setting, since I don't want to take that chance on judges with sensitive palates.

So at the beginning of last summer, I decided it was time to get back to my barbecue roots and smoke up some racks of ribs using a less intensive method, instead focusing on hitting those bolder flavors that can make barbecue so incredible. Of course, going with my standard sauce and rub would have been a little too easy on me, so I came up with a new apricot barbecue sauce and complementary rub to make these glistening beauties extra special.

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Thu Aug 27, 2015

Sauced: Hot Alaskan Umami Sauce

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Hot Alaskan Umami Sauce

Sauce Stats

Hot Alaskan Umami Sauce
Produced by
$13.95 for 16oz at Sweet & Spicy Sauces
Brown Sugar, Cayenne Pepper Sauce, Vinegar, Minced Garlic, Pure Sesame Oil, Cayenne, Unsulphured Molasses, Granulated Garlic, Granulated Onion, Pepper, and Sea Salt
Dark Reddish-Brown
Meatwave Rating
out of 10
Approaching Greatness
More Sauce Reviews

A very sweet brown sugar base balances well with an equal amount of heat while still allowing spices like garlic and onion to play a strong supporting role in this unique, multi-purpose sauce from Alaska.

Tue Aug 25, 2015

Grilled Short Ribs

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Grilled Short Ribs

A business trip is just another excuse for gluttony in my book—after getting out of a long day of conference sessions, what better thing is there to do except eat and drink in excess, packing in as much food into a short trip as possible. Luckily I've been blessed with colleagues with a similar mentality, and boy did my co-worker and I eat well on a three-day jaunt in Seattle last year. Overindulgence comes with the requirement of a reasonable price tag per organizational rules, but usually throw in one splurge meal, and during that trip it was at Miller's Guild—a restaurant I sought out primarily to experience their massive wood-fired grill.

After walking in, my co-worker and I cozied up in front of the warm burning embers of that grill and considered what piece of cow would serve us best that fine evening. I stayed with my tried and true hanger/flank-type steak, while my company opted for short ribs. In my mind, she had just made a critical error.

I've only known short ribs to be either braised or slow smoked, both of which are methods that break down the massive amount of fat and connective tissue and render the meat tender and delicious. Cooked over a hot fire, I thought the short ribs would be tough and chewy. Man, was I ever wrong. We both tried each others cuts and those grilled short ribs put my steak to shame in every way.

I was left feeling concerned that I had wasted so many years of my life not grilling short ribs, and vowed to make up for lost time as soon, and as often, as possible.

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Tue Aug 18, 2015

Mustard Coleslaw

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Mustard Slaw

When getting into barbecue, I had to take a long time enemy face on—coleslaw. I knew coleslaw only as that tough, bland salad doled out in medicine cups at Greek dinners, dressed with mayo as if that would make such an undesirable side more palatable. When I became a barbecue fiend, I was confronted with slaw in larger portions, and guiltily left it remaining on my plate after finishing all the glorious smoked meats that sat next to it. It took some time, but I couldn't rightfully keep being so wasteful, so started to cautiously indulge in coleslaw, and while mostly I remained unimpressed, I came across a few that surprised me with how delicious they were. Over my many years of cooking, I made it a point to whip up some coleslaw now and again in an attempt to make it match, or better, those that I found worthy of being served with barbecue, and I'm happy to say I've finally found slaw nirvana in this unassuming mustard coleslaw.

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Tue Aug 11, 2015

Orange and Leek Loukaniko

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One thing I'm missing from my old base of Astoria, Queens is all the great loukaniko. Now strictly speaking, loukaniko is a Greek term for pork sausage, but it most commonly refers to orange-spiced sausages, for which every restaurant in the neighborhood seems to have its own unique recipe. These variations span a spectrum of seasonings like fennel, coriander, oregano, thyme, and marjoram; some are made from pork, others lamb, and still others, a combination of the two. You'll find loukanika either fresh or cured, partially dried, or even, occasionally, smoked. But one common thread between all their magnificent iterations is that they're almost always grilled, usually until they develop a nicely charred, crispy casing.

With so many top-notch loukaniko choices around every corner, I never saw much point to making my own. But eventually, inspiration struck, and I became determined to make a sausage that would capture my favorite traits of the very best loukaniko sausages in Astoria. To kick things off, I took some cues from cook and writer Hank Shaw to get me started on the right path.

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