Hickory Clinton Smoked Ribs

Amer-she-can Week, Main

There are no prizes for people that guessed HRC – my fave triple-barrel – is the culmination of Amer-she-can Week. I mean, it was a week celebrating her historic nomination AND independence day after all.

But I was here on official duties – and again, no prizes if you guessed … because I’m too selfish/ a hoarder and wouldn’t give them out if I had any – I’m taking over from Nigella the wonder dog as HRC’s campaign manager AND, wait for it, will be appointed her Chief of Staff after she wins the election in November.

Now don’t worry, Nige and I haven’t fallen out – Annelie is still suffering from her cage-fight induced amnesia and despite excelling in her studies in medicine to cure her ailment, Nigella feels she is needed at home to offer Annelie more support and kindly shoulder tapped me to take over the campaign.

Hizza, Annelie and I have long been friends, having met in Yale in the ‘70s. Annelie was helping me run a scam while I worked as the Executive Vice Dean Chancellor – Hizza knew something odd was up, discovered the scam and got us sent to prison.

While you would think that going back to prison would be the worst, I knew that we’d spend our lives in and out of jail and had prepared for my return by stashing cigarettes around all prisons I had attending thus far, to use as a bartering tool if and when I returned – yes people, I am the person that inspired the character of Vee in OITNB.

Fun fact, I also faked my death by getting run over during an escape too. THIS IS NOT MY REAL NAME.

Anyway, back to Hiz.

We fully expected to go to priz again, so were more impressed by the fact that we were brought down by someone smarter than us and sought her out upon our releases. She was kind enough to take pity on those two junkie grifters she caught all those years before.

Seriously – wouldn’t my life make a killer movie on Lifetime?

Anyway, HRC saw our intelligence shine through our oft scummy behaviour and called upon us to assist in vetting and selecting most of Billy’s high-level positions, running her Senate campaign in the early noughties and acting as unofficial advisors during her time as Secretary of State.

Since we’ve been busy – what with her campaigning and me experiencing resurgent fame – it has been hard to be able to have a physical catch up. Thankfully when I got the call to replace Nigella, I quickly cleared my schedule and am ready to focus on the campaign.

But don’t worry guys, I’ll be able to keep up this anthropological endeavour thanks to time-travel!

Anywho, HRC has this renewed energy after finally securing the nomination and we spent our cook-up plotting the best way to bring down Trump – other than simply letting his mouth end his chances, obviously – and her preferred look for the sequel Clinton White House.

Remember, I’m also her interior designer.

So given the breadth of important topics we had to cover, I needed to make something hearty enough to fuel our beautiful minds and my Hickory Clinton Smoked Ribs are the only thing worthy of the honour.

 

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While yes HRC had requested an international take on the celebratory week, I had to go with something all American for the next POTUS!

Smoky, sweet and a just damn delicious, the pork just falls of this slow-cooked ribs and into your salivating mouth. Seriously, these are amazing and smoking liquid is my new favourite thing.

You get smoked flavouring, you get smoked flavouring – EVERYONE GETS SMOKED FLAVOURING.

Anyway, happy Fourth of July / Amer-she-can Week – you’ll be seeing me whispering in HRC’s ear for the next few months like a hybrid of Gary and Amy. Enjoy!

 

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Hickory Clinton Smoked Ribs
Serves: 4-6, dependent on sides and greed.

Ingredients
2 long racks of pork belly ribs
2 tbsp hickory smoking liquid
100ml orange juice, freshly squeezed
5-10 rosemary stalks

Dry rub
2 tbsp ground fennel seeds
5 cloves, ground
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tbsp smoked paprika
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves removed
5 cloves garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper, to season

BBQ sauce
½ cup ketchup
1 tsp hot sauce
¼ cup molasses
3 tbsp apple juice
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp hickory smoking liquid

Method
Get out your glorious ribs and baste them on either sides with the smoking liquid, cover and refrigerate for about an hour.

Preheat the oven to 160°C.

Combine all the ingredients for the dry rub, remove the ribs from the fridge and rub the spices into the ribs – again on both sides. Spread some rosemary on the base of a large baking tray that will just fit the ribs and pour over the orange juice and any of the remaining hickory smoke you used the basting. Yes, it seems like a lot but I want the smoke to really hit me. Plus … it seems stronger before the cooking.

Anyway, cover the baking tray tightly with a couple of layers of foil – really tightly –  and bake in the oven for about 4 hours. You’ll know they are done when you try and lift the rack and they start to fall apart and make you salivate.

While the ribs are making your kitchen smell amazing, get to work on the BBQ sauce – which is super difficult – by combining all of the ingredients in a measuring jug.

When your ribs are done, remove from the oven and turn on the grill. Baste the ribs, liberally, with some barbecue sauce and grill – watching the entire time to avoid setting off the fire alarm and getting a massive fine – for about ten minutes or until they are brown, caramelly and sticky.

Devour with chips and slaw and any extra barbecue sauce.

 

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Pork Bunedict Cumberbatch

Main, Party Food, Snack

I hate to admit when I am wrong, but it turns out that my tentative friend Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t “the worst thing to come into this world, an abomination to those that call themselves actors and a right prat to boot,” which I was quoted as saying in the Page Six after being ejected from a party with Ramona Singer and her duelling, multi-directional eyes.

Even more than that, I hate to admit that he is actually bloody charming and I have high hopes for his contribution to the MCU.

But mostly, I hate the way I don’t hate him. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all … anymore. Plus – now I think he is oddly babin’.

Yep – I’m officially a (tentative) Cumberbitch!

While our date obviously started awkwardly, with me listing in excess of 638 things that I’d done to him that required an apology, he took it all in good spirits. I don’t know if he is one of those people that doesn’t register that I’m being deadly seriously when saying something horrible, extremely naive or just *shudder* nice, but he viewed some of my nasty comments as if I was joking about having said them and got straight into discussing how to forge a positive relationship moving forward.

Benno recently wrapped filming on Doctor Strange so there was much to discuss about how the film will impact the broader universe … and more importantly, my future role in it as a male Pepper Potts-esque love interest.

Given our history of hate, I didn’t want to invest my time in crafting a recipe for him – what if the date went south, you know – so I borrowed a recipe from my new favourite blog The Woks of Life and repurposed it as a Pork Bunedict Cumberbatch.

 

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I have an obsessive addiction to BBQ Pork Buns however they’ve always been something I am terrified to make, then I discovered The Woks of Life and they seemed far less daunting.

Plus, if I fucked them up I didn’t have a relationship with Benny to ruin. Then. Now I do, I guess.

It feels so weird to think that we’re now friends – enjoy!

 

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Pork Bunedict Cumberbatch
Makes: 10.

Ingredients
BBQ Pork
1.3kg pork shoulder
2 tbsp raw caster sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp five spice powder
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp white pepper
1 tbsp sherry
1 tbsp tamari
½ tsp sesame oil
2 tsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp molasses
1 tbsp oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp hot water

Dough
7g sachet dry yeast
¾ cup warm water
2 cups plain flour
1 cup corn flour
5 tbsp sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 ½ tsp baking powder

Filling
1 tbsp vegetable oil
⅓ cup finely chopped shallots
1 tbsp muscovado sugar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 ½  tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp tamari
½ cup chicken stock
2 tbsp flour
1 ½ cups diced Chinese roast pork, from above

Method
BBQ Pork
Cut the pork into long, thick strips. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large, shallow/dish and remove a couple of tablespoons of sauce for later before adding the pork. Give it a good rub down to coat the meat in the marinade, yes it is a little disgusting but there is something about it that is so visceral and connects you to your meal – hello, energetics. Obviously you could just stir it with a spoon too – either way, when you’re done, cover it and place it in the fridge overnight.

Preheat your oven to 250C.

Line a large sheet pan with foil and place a metal rack on top. Lay the pork on the racks, leaving space around each strip and place on to the highest rack of the oven. Leave any excess marinade in the bowl for basting.

After about 20 minutes, flip the pork and baste with excess marinade and add water to the bottom of the sheet pan to prevent burning or smoking from the drippings.

After a further half an hour, turn on the grill and allow the pork to crisp on the outside and add some colour. This should take only a couple of minutes – do not walk away, lest you want to set of the fire alarm.

Remove from the oven, baste the pork with the sauce you reserved the day before and allow to rest for about 15 minutes.

Buns
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast into the water and allow to rest until it is foamy and glorious.

While that is frothing away, sift the flour, cornflour and sugar together. When the yeast is ready, add the flour and oil.

Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on to the lowest setting and leave to knead for about 5 minutes or until a small ball is formed. Place in a large oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and allow to prove for 2 hours.

While the dough is working on proving itself to you, get to work on the meat mixture. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat, when it is nice and hot, add the onion and stir-fry for a minute. Reduce the heat to low and add the sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and tamari. Give it a quick stir and allow to cook until it is bubbling before adding the stock and flour. Cook for a further few minutes or until starting to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped pork, stirring to combine. Set aside to cool.

After the dough has made something of itself, return it to the bowl of the mixer, add the baking powder and knead it again on the lowest setting until it is smooth again, adding water a teaspoon at a time if it looks too dry. Trust your gut here people, I did. Cover with a damp cloth and leave to rest for 15 minutes.

While resting, cut out ten 10x10cm squares of baking paper and add water to the steamer and bring to the boil.

When ready, roll the dough out into a long tube and divide into ten pieces. Flatten each piece into a 12cm diameter disc, leaving more dough towards the centre, add a good chunk of the filling and bring the dough together to close the bun at the top. Place on a square of parchment and repeat the process until all done.

Steam the buns for 12 minutes over high heat, three of four at a time depending on the size of your steamer, making sure the water does not touch the buns.

Devour.

 

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