Sunday, September 5, 2010

Labor Day Menu

This was one yummy, satisfying dinner.  I wanted to cook once to last all weekend, so it took the better part of the afternoon.  I am relishing in the leftovers today, though.  Here was the final menu:
  • Smoked Pork Ribs
  • Grilled Top-Secret Chicken
  • Steve Raichlen's Best Ever BBQ Beans - see link and comments below
  • Creamed Corn
  • Texas Toast, and
  • Pecan Cheesecake Pie.
Try not to drool on the keyboard. It took a bit of work, but with a little planning, everything came together on time. Here was the game plan:
  1. 11 am - Brine chickens.  See To Brine or Not to Brine for a recap of instructions and the link below for my Top-Secret Rub recipe.  About a gallon per bird works great.  I use a medium-sized cooler, and yes, I disinfect it thoroughly before and after each use.  I also add some ice to keep it cool while brining.
  2. 11:30 am - Trim and season ribs.  Allow to marinate on the counter-top to come up to room temperature before smoking.  See Smoked Pork Ribs for the complete 411.  Placed leftover rib meat in slow cooker on high with a light sprinkling of seasoned salt.
  3. 12 pm - Preheat oven.  Make pie.
  4. 12:15 pm - Start pie in the oven.
  5. 12:45 pm - Soak wood for smoking.
  6. 1 pm - Brown bacon for beans and prep all the vegetables.  Assemble everything but the baked beans. 
  7. 1:15 pm - Pie is finished and set out on baking rack to cool.
  8. 1:40 pm - Start first batch of coals in chimney.  You don't have a chimney?  Run and get one.  It is so worth it.
  9. 2 pm - Pour on the coals, add some wood, and wait for smoke (about 10 minutes).  Put on ribs.
  10. 2:30 pm - Add some more wood and flip the ribs end to end.
  11. 2:45 pm - Start another small batch of coals.
  12. 3 pm - Add the coals, some more wood, and flip the ribs again.  Take chickens out of brine and rinse.  Split chickens down the backbone and lay out flat on several layers of paper towels to drain thoroughly.  Press the breast down until it pops and lays flat.  Cover with another layer of paper towels.
  13. 3:30 pm - Add some more wood and flip the ribs one last time.
  14. 3:45 pm - Start another full batch of coals.  Turn gas grill on to temperature of 250 F.  Mix all the baked bean ingredients together.
  15. 4 pm - Wrap ribs in foil and transfer to gas grill for another hour.  Add coals to smoker, add more wood, and place beans on to cook on the cool side of the grill, stirring every 15 minutes.  They will cook for an hour to an hour and a half, until thickened to your liking.
  16. 4:30 pm - Add more wood to beans and flip pan end to end.
  17. 5 pm - Remove ribs and place in a cold oven to keep warm.  Turn temperature on grill up to 350 F and start cooking whole chickens, skin side up, over indirect heat.  Add more wood to smoker.
  18. 5:30 pm - Flip chickens over to skin side down and continue cooking until reaching an internal temperature of 165 F.  Add more wood to smoker.  Start creamed corn on the stovetop and prep Texas Toast.
  19. 5:50 - Take up chicken and beans.  Cover the chicken with foil and allow to rest 15 minutes before carving.  Put toast under the broiler until golden.
  20. 6 pm - Carve chicken, cut up ribs, serve and EAT!
  21. 7:30 pm - Take up pulled-pork from the slow cooker, shred, and put in the fridge or freeze for later.

I hope you love these recipes as much as my family did.  It was well worth the work for nearly a week's worth of meals.  We have leftover chicken for chicken salad, burritos, you name it.  There is pulled pork for another meal all-together, not to mention all the leftover ribs and baked beans.  We even put a batch of the baked beans in the freezer for another time and still had leftovers in the fridge for the next couple of days.

Here's wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend, full of rest, relaxation, and fun!  Happy Labor Day all!

  1. Smoked Pork Ribs
  2. Pecan Cheesecake Pie
  3. To Brine or Not to Brine
  4. Steve Raichlen's Best Ever BBQ Beans (I used bacon in mine, not brisket.  Also, don't be too concerned about the types of beans or peppers.  Use whatever you have or like.  I used 2 cans of tri-color chili beans and 2 28-oz. can Bush's original beans.  For the peppers, I used a combination of Anaheim, green, and red bell peppers.  Just get the quantities close.  For the barbecue sauce, I used Sweet Baby Ray's original.)
  5. America's Test Kitchen Brine 
  6. My Top-Secret Chicken Rub

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