Today is Friday, and not just any Friday – it’s particularly joyful and exciting because it leads into a long weekend. Many of us think of this as the last weekend of summer (although of course it’s not technically), but it is a time for celebrating, relaxing, and preparing for the fall and winter seasons ahead.
To me personally, this Friday and weekend is filled with anticipation – my Clemson Tigers will face off against the Georgia Bulldogs tomorrow night at 8pm – and the NFL season begins on Thursday, September 5th. Although I now live in the South, and have for 9 years (gosh, that is hard to believe!), in a culture renowned for its passion for college football, the NFL’s New England Patriots are easily my first and most true football love. I can barely stand the week+ long wait for our week one game on Sunday, September 8th vs. the Buffalo Bills.
Last week, Nick and I decided to make an investment in our fall weekends, which are (clearly) devoted annually to football. Our backyard and driveway are our tailgate spots (although if he had his way, we’d own a Winnebago and be hauling down and up the road to Clemson, Chicago, and Foxboro as time and schedules permitted). The more cost effective solution at this time was to purchase a smoker and elevate our tailgating approach – and so we did.
Tomorrow, we’ll be trying our hands at ribs for the first time, as well as beef brisket, which we had great success with already. Check it out below:
How’d we get there? In a nod to both my Maine roots and our current home state, I purchased Stonewall Kitchen’s Carolina Rub a couple of weeks ago with football Saturdays and Sundays in mind.
The directions said to apply a generous amount of the rub to the meat, which I interpreted quite literally.
From there, onto the smoker it went. Nick used mesquite wood chips for this smoking venture.
The smoking portion of our program lasted about 3 and a half hours. Nick is very good at tasks like this – he has the patience required to wait and simply enjoy the process and mouthwatering scents. I’m not particularly patient, so this timeframe felt torturous to me. Perhaps I’ll become better at the waiting game as time goes on.
The brisket ended up tasting every bit as good as it looked and smelled. It had a good, smoky flavor, which the rub complemented very nicely. I made Ben’s Peppery Potato Wedges as our side dish, with a yummy Dijon mayo that I whipped up with sour cream, mayo, dried basil, dijon mustard, a teeny bit of horseradish, and salt and pepper.
Do you have any tips for smoking ribs? Recommendations for sauces or sides?
Have a very Happy Labor Day!