Tag Archives: grilling

Sweet and Spicy Ribs

Cooking ribs takes some dedication and patience. The only things that makes a good rack of ribs are the sauce and a nice crunchy bark. (Notice I didn’t say marinade or rub? – “Aint, nobody got time for that!”) Sure there are some folks that do all of the above – wait, let’s break it down.

Marinade – if you marinade ribs, most of the marinade will be absorbed by the rib bone -when was the last time you ate a rib bone?

Rub  – (aka “burn”) There is almost no fat on ribs (where it counts) and none of that flavor will be able to “hitch a ride” into the meat  – like an Eye Round Roast; it will just burn like flash paper on the outside of the rib rack.

Sauce – effectively a marinade with a more intense flavor profile that is cut with broth or water to cover the meat during a long cooking process. Using a sauce on low heat over a longer period of time, better penetrates leaner cuts. Never boil a lean cut in a sauce – there is no point – Willy Wonka already tried to make a similar chewing gum.

We are going to make a sauce for the ribs that has intense flavor, similar to my Lake House Ribs, but this time – they are going to be sweeter and richer:

The Sauce:

Chili Powder
Tomato Paste
Brown Sugar
Sesame Oil
Olive Oil
Beef Broth

Note: make enough sauce to cover the ribs 1/4 of the way up; you never want to completely submerge the bone! But poor some sauce in the center of the rack to help penetrate the flavor.


Cook the rack(s) in the oven on 275 for 4-5 hours, top side down. (patience)

Next, preheat your grill to 450 degrees, and “slap those ribs” down (face down) for about 4 minutes to start the barking process. Reduce the heat to low and move the racks to the top shelf (face up). Maintain a temperature of about 415 degrees lid down. We are trying to caramelize all those sugars we added in the sauce.

Baste every 5-6 minutes with the pan “juice,” flipping the rack(s) every second baste. You should flip three times until the rack is face up again.


First baste


Third baste

After cooking the meat for the last 5-6 minutes, during the third baste, remove the meat and let it rest for 5 minutes under the cover of aluminum foil. Then cut with a serrated knife and serve warm.



Enjoy with some good friends and beer!



London Broil

Preparing London Broil is less about the seasoning and more about the cooking process and service prep. London Broil is a really tough meat and it can stay tough throughout the cooking process.

If you don’t like your meat’s internal temperature medium rare to rare, do not cook this cut of meat (period)!

So, “London Broil” – really the only cut of meat with cooking instructions in the title. To broil something, you basically subject it to high heat for short periods of time.

We are going to start with a room temperature cut of meat – as always (but this time its important).

London Broil:

Garlic (powder or minced)
Olive oil (light sprinkle)

Preheat the grill to 500+ degrees (520). Sear the slab on both sides for 2 minutes (if it sticks to the grill, let it sit for another minute to properly caramelize and release).

Note: Orient the meat on a 45 degree angle from the grill slats if you want the “fancy” grill marks.


Move the meat to the top shelf on high heat for another 3 minutes per side. At this point the grill temp should be about 540 to 550 degrees.

Remove the London Broil from the grill and let rest wrapped in tin foil for 10-15 minutes.


You’re going to want to slice the meat on a rough 60 degree angle from perpendicular. In other words, place your fork 2-3″ from the leading edge and slice on an angle to the surface of the front edge. Cut thin, .25″ slices.


Congratulations you just made the meat malleable!IMG_2484

Serve with a tall beer! Doesn’t get any simpler than that!

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Cerebral Dad partners with Blue Apron!

What an exciting and unexpected announcement! My very first partnership!

Cerebral Dad has partnered with Blue Apron. Their mission is “to make incredible home cooking accessible to everyone.” They are also a great source to find the hard-to-find ingredients you watch online cooking shows use and think, “That looks amazing, but I cant get any of that stuff at my grocery store!”

Cerebral Dad will be able to post using exciting new ingredients! I don’t use recipes, but If I did they have some pretty amazing dishes!

I’m also going to be able to offer you great new deals, like: 2 Meals Free on Your First Blue Apron Order.

Blue Apron has great relationships with local farmers to bring you the freshest ingredients, when you need them. I’m not just saying that to brown nose – I actually find it amazing!

In a future segment “Cerebral Dad Live” we can make something together! It’s a segment where you get to see my ugly mug and we get to make something amazing together with a focus on segments of the site, like Brainy Bites, Dad Tech or just Grilling and Cooking!

What do you want to cook?

$20 Off Your First Blue Apron Order

Slight Disclaimer: Affiliate partnerships like this one is how CerebralDad.com will make an income. I promise I wont be obtuse, and I’ll only make affiliations I think are interesting and beneficial to my readers (wherever you are). So if you see I’m being annoying about it, call me out – otherwise thank you for your support and don’t be afraid to take advantage of some coupons, discounts and deals (multiple times).

Blackened Catfish with Pinapple Mango Salsa

Catfish is probably the best grilling fish you can buy – second only to Salmon in my opinion.

IMG_2258To prepare the catfish for the grill, you’re going to want to pat it down with a dry paper towel to get any moisture off. Getting rid of the moisture layer is important because, later, when we put the other ingredients on, the water barrier will steam the fish and we obviously want to “grill” it.

Next, we coat the fish with olive oil and heavily coat it with our blackened seasoning:

Blackened Seasoning
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Celery seed
Black pepper
White pepper (optional)
Cayenne pepper
Mustard powder

IMG_2261Cook the fish 3-5 minutes on each side. Put she shiny flat side down first. You will be able to visually see it clouding half way through. At this point check the under side of the fish. We want to make sure it separates easily from the grill without sticking. If it’s being stubborn let the fish caramelize a few more minutes. Gently (yet swiftly) flip the fish.

Move to the top shelf until edges are crisp (“Blackened”).

IMG_2260Pinapple Mango Salsa (this is good!)
Diced Pineapple
Diced Mango
Minced Mint
Minced Cilantro
Chopped Jalepeno
Chopped Red Onion
Lemon Juice
Salt (optional)





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The Art of the Sear

When grilling the sear is important. It basically dictates the end result and flavor profile. And although the end result can be achieved through several different paths, i.e. “Cooked meat,” the argument is flavor.

IMG_6537I hold the belief, searing meat does actually seal moisture inside the cut of meat and result in a juicier finished dish. It gives grilled meat dishes an incredible depth of flavor. Additionally, it gives meat an appetizing color and kills off any bacteria that might be hanging out on the surface of the meat.

IMG_6602Searing over high heat caramelizes the surface of the meat, which enhances the savory ‘meat’ flavor and fills the finished dish with complex layers of nutty caramel and coffee-like bitterness. In technical terms, this is called a Maillard reaction. Most of us happen to find the end result quite delicious. Without searing, meat dishes can taste flat and boring.

I find this especially true with poultry.

Preheat your grill to 420-500 degrees Fahrenheit. The thicker the cut of meat you’re grilling, the hotter the grill needs to be.

Now the question is, “How do you know if you have a good sear?”

A good way to tell without lifting the meat too soon (you never want to do that) is to watch for the bones of a bone-in cut to start to bleed – then leave it cook another 1-2 minutes at temperature. Bone-in cuts are great practice for this reason. It will allow you to “get the feel for” searing on the more challenging boneless cuts.

Happy searing!

Wing-ed lunch

IMG_2161Grilled some wings for lunch. This is my “quick” fall off the bone wing recipe.




Chili powder
Garlic Powder
Sesame oil

IMG_2165When grilling, bring the grill to temperature before placing the chicken on.



IMG_2163Sear the chicken face down for 3-4 minutes. Searing slightly crisps the skin and seals in the moisture needed for proper cooking. I then immediately transfer the wings to the top shelf and reduce the heat to medium for 8-10 minutes (lid closed) and flip – cook for another 8-10 minutes. At this point the skin should be blistering and bubbling. Its important that you don’t break the skin at this point.

IMG_2166Keep an eye on the wings – the goal is to roast the chicken to a red-ish color until you start to see the skin near the joints break away slightly. Cook for another 5-7 minutes on high (lid closed)

Serve with a cold beer.