“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace but it’s a start.” – Anthony Bourdain

Welcome back to Uncle Tom’s Corner. Things have been rather quiet around The Corner of late. This is the time of the year when the various competitions are posting for teams and judges. So far I’ve signed up for six and looking seriously at one in Arizona on December 28th. That might not be a bad time to visit the Phoenix area.

As for occasions for lighting up the barbecue, first there were the college playoff football games which are of interest to the alumni of the various participating schools and supporters of those programs now scattered near and far. Then, through the process of elimination, came the National Championship game in which the Bayou Bengals of LSU soundly defeated the Clemson Tigers by a score of 42 – 27. Each of those events was certainly binge-eating and tail-gate worthy.

Then came the AFC and NFC playoff games where it was ultimately determined that the San Francisco 49ers will play against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami on February 2. Finally we arrive at the big event where the Chiefs are favored (at this point) by 1 and the avocado growers are already preparing for their version of Black Friday. According to Google (and Google knows EVERYTHNG…I once heard that Edward Snowden got his information from Google) 14,000 tons of chips, 1.2 billion chicken wings and 4,000 tons of guacamole are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday. Big shocker and spoiler alert…Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving in terms of caloric intake!

And, of course, there are the libations. According to Men’s Journal the volume of beer consumed amounts to a whopping and totally unbelievable 325.5 million gallons! That may or may not pose a greater threat to coastal cities than the rising sea levels due to global warming. Pretty sure that’s enough to float the Navy vessels I served on…though sea water would be preferable and probably less corrosive. But I digress.

With those kinds of astounding numbers one must pose “If ya can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Who are we NOT to enter the fray?” So, with a shrug of resignation I’ll give you some of my favorite party/tailgating comestibles.

Two dips and a doo-dah. A recipe reminiscent of the two teams…regardless of which one you’re backing.

One of my favorite memories of San Francisco was sitting in Ghirardelli Square on a sunny summer day drinking a beer, eating a crab salad sandwich and listening to an Australian folk singer singing Simon and Garfunkle tunes. A true Kodak moment…which begs the question “Do people still have Kodak moments?” Regardless, that sandwich was a slice of heaven. Since this is supposed to be about barbecue to that end here’s a recipe for smoked crab dip.

Smoked Crab Dip

1/3 cup mayo
3 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. smoked paprika
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper or 1 Tbsp. favorite hot sauce
3 scallions sliced thin including green stem
2 stalks celery finely chopped
¼ tsp. sea or kosher salt
1 ½ cups lump crab meat
Tortilla chips or pretzel crackers for serving

Pre-heat the smoker to 350⁰.
Stir the first 6 ingredients together in a bowl (excluding the crab meat and the chips or pretzel crackers) until thoroughly blended.
Fold in the crab meat being careful not to break up the lumps too badly.
Season to taste (more salt, more heat)
Transfer to an oven-safe serving dish (cast iron skillet)
Place uncovered oven safe dish with the blended ingredients in the smoker for 20 to 25 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Serve with warm with tortilla chips or pretzel crackers.

Kansas City, on the other hand, SCREAMS barbecue.

3-2-1 BBQ Ribs

Hardwood Hickory

The 3-2-1 method of smoking ribs takes the guesswork out of one of the favorites of the barbecue meats. I’ve long felt that a good rack of ribs (and, believe it or don’t, there are some bad ribs) deserves its own place on the food pyramid.

2 racks St. Louis-style back pork ribs
1/3 cup prepared yellow mustard
1 cup, divided apple Juice
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey, warmed
Barbecue seasoning/rub, to taste
1 cup favorite barbecue sauce
Remove the thin silverskin membrane from the bone-side of the ribs by working the tip of a butter knife  under the membrane over a middle bone. Using a paper towels get a firm grip, then pull the membrane off.
In a small bowl, combine the mustard, 1/4 cup of apple juice (reserve the rest), and the Worcestershire sauce. Spread the mixture thinly on both sides of the ribs and season with barbecue rub (Uncle Tom’s?).
When ready to cook, pre-heat the smoker to 225℉, lid closed for 15 minutes. Smoke the ribs, bone-side down for 3 hours.
Tear off four long sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil…two for each rack of ribs.
After about three hours remove the ribs from the smoker and place them on a large sheet pan.
Sprinkle half the brown sugar on each rack, top with half the honey and add half of the remaining apple juice.
Tightly double wrap each rack and return them to the smoker for another 2 hours
After two hours, remove the wrapped ribs from the smoker and remove the foil from the ribs.
Place the now-unwrapped ribs back in the smoker and give each rack a coat of barbecue sauce.
Close the lid for a half an hour. Give each rack another coat of barbecue sauce being careful not to allow the sauce to burn.
Remove from the smoker, place on a serving platter and allow them to rest for 15-30 minutes.
Cut the ribs into pairs and serve.

There ya have it. Ever the impartial middle-of-the-roader you have a recipe for either side of the megapalooza. Of, if you have no interest in football and are watching for the ads, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will be prancing and shimmying to the oldies during the half-time show.

On that note I bid you adieu for another session. Hopefully I’ll see you back at Uncle Tom’s Corner in a couple of weeks. Be safe and be warm.