Kansas City-style barbecue refers to the specific regional barbecue style of slowly smoked meat that originated from the pit of Henry Perry in the early 20th century in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City Classic Ribs

Preparation time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes

For the marinade:

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 cup classic barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup white or cider vinegar

For the ribs:

  • 2 racks pork loin ribs, about two pounds each with the membrane removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine marinade ingredients in medium bowl and mix well. Place ribs in a large zipper bag and pour in marinade ensuring ribs are fully covered. Set aside and marinate for 2 hours, or overnight in refrigerator.

Set up two-zone fire for indirect grilling with charcoal by situating charcoal on only one side of grill, leaving other side void. Heat to 400 degrees F.

Lightly oil grill. Remove ribs from marinade and dispose of excess liquid. Place ribs, bone side down, over direct heat and cover grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Then turn ribs and cover for another 6 to 8 minutes. Continue this process for 45 minutes to an hour or until ribs are tender.

Once tender, move ribs to void side of grill and coat with barbecue sauce. Cover grill for another 6 to 8 minutes.

Remove ribs from grill and cover with butcher paper or aluminum foil. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Slice ribs into individual pieces and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from: Ardie Davis/Family Features. Visit www.kcmasterpiece.com for additional tips and flavorful grilling recipes

Kansas City Strip Steak

Whatever the steak cut is, be it an old favorite or something new, there are certain factors you should consider in choosing a steak.

Marbling, the amount of fat distributed within the meat, is the most important indicator of quality for consumers, says Randy Waidner, corporate executive chef for Chicago-based Gibsons Restaurant Group.

“There’s more flavor, more tenderness,” he says.

The USDA grades beef quality and labels cuts accordingly, and marbling is a major factor in determining the rating. “Prime” has long been considered the best, followed by “Choice” and “Select.”

Kansas City strip (also known as New York strip, top loin, Delmonico, shell steak) is sold bone-in or boneless

Here are tips on buying and preparing steak.

Speak up. Tell the meat cutter or meat counter person what you’re looking for. How many people are you feeding? Do you want individual steaks or a big Flintstones-size slab to share? Does he or she have any tips on cooking it?

Read the label carefully. Look for the name of the cut, quality grade and, possibly, cooking instructions.

Think big. Steak size is not mere machismo. A thicker steak cooks more slowly on the grill so there’s less risk of overcooking it, says James Peisker, co-owner of Porter Road Butcher in Nashville, Tenn. Go no thinner than 1 to 1-1/4 inches, he says.

Prep: Bring steaks to room temperature before grilling. Sam Garwin, butcher and food business consultant, recommends rubbing coarse salt generously over the meat 10 minutes before cooking. The salt will promote a brown and crusty exterior, she says. Garwin doesn’t like seasoning meat with black pepper before grilling. The pepper burns and turns bitter, she says. Peisker, however, does pepper his steak before cooking it. It’s still delicious, he says.

Sear: Place steaks over direct heat. Sear 3 to 5 minutes a side to build char, says Randy Waidner, corporate executive chef for Gibsons Restaurant Group. Don’t try to force the steak off the grill rack; the meat will release itself when ready.

Finish cooking: Once seared, move the steak away from direct heat. Cook over indirect heat, covered, until desired doneness is reached.

Test for doneness: An instant read thermometer works well. Foodsafety.gov, a website operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends a cooking temperature of 145 degrees, which is around medium doneness. Voggler uses his thumb instead. Raw steak is “loose and mushy,” he says; the meat firms up as it cooks.

Rest steaks: Let the steaks rest for 2 to 5 minutes, Peisker says so that the juices redistribute inside the steak.

Source: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, via Tribune News Service

Herb Frittata Roll-Ups are actually easier to slice if rolled a few hours ahead and left to set in the refrigerator. Slice cold, and let return to room temperature before serving. They’re perfect for cocktail parties or a buffet brunch; stick a toothpick in each roll, and pass them around.

Herb Frittata Roll-Ups

For the pesto:

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

For the frigate:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

For the pesto: In a mini–food processor combine the basil, parsley, olive oil and salt, and process to make a smooth paste. Scrape into a small bowl, and stir in the mayonnaise. Refrigerate while you make the frigate.

For the frigate: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, scallions, thyme and salt until smooth. Heat a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add half of the egg mixture, and quickly swirl the pan to make an even layer.

Cook until the bottom is set, about 1 to 2 minutes, then flip (using a wide spatula if it needs coaxing). Cook until the underside is light golden and the frittata is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the remaining oil and egg mixture. Let the frittate cool.

To assemble, spread half of the pesto on each frittata, spreading it almost all the way to the edges. Roll each frittata into a tight cylinder. Cut each rolled frittata into ten pieces.

Makes 20 pieces.

Recipe from: “Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian,” by Lidia Bastianich

Lidia’s Italian version of this American favorite leaves out the mayo and replaces it with bright flavors reminiscent of salsa verde. They can (and should, because they taste better after the flavors blend for an hour or two) be made earlier in the day and kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve. The filling can easily be mixed by hand or in a mini-processor.

Italian Deviled Eggs

  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cornichons
  • 1/4 cup finely diced zucchini
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped drained capers in brine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish

Halve the eggs lengthwise, and remove the yolks. Put the yolks in a mini–food processor (or in a bowl, if you’re working by hand), and add the mustard, vinegar and salt. Process to a paste. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a stream to make a very smooth mixture.

Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl, and add the cornichons, zucchini, roasted peppers, capers and parsley. Mix well to combine.

Stuff or pipe the mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Makes 24 halves.

Recipe from: “Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian,” by Lidia Bastianich

These meatballs can also be baked on parchment-lined sheet pans in a 400-degree oven until crisp, about 20 minutes. Though they are wonderful served with the suggested sauce, they can also be served baked until crispy, with a drizzle of balsamic reduction.

They are versatile and can be served as bite-sized snacks at a cocktail party or on a platter in a buffet.

Meatless Meatballs with Cheese and Quinoa

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the meatballs:

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 medium zucchini (6 to 8 ounces), grated on the coarse holes of a box grater and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups grated Grana Padano
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs, plus more as needed

For the sauce: In a medium Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and salt. Slosh out the tomato can with 3 cups water, and add that to the pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. This sauce should be a little more watery than most if you are serving the meatballs in it, because they will absorb a lot of the liquid.)

For the meatballs: In a large straight-sided skillet, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 365 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the zucchini, quinoa, parsley, thyme, and salt until well mixed. Stir in the grated cheese and panko. The mixture will seem wet; let it sit for 5 minutes so the crumbs absorb the liquid. If it is still very wet, add a little more panko, until you can roll the mixture into soft balls.

Roll heaping tablespoons of the mixture (or use a small ice-cream scoop) to make about 36 meatballs. Fry, in batches, until crisp and golden all over, about 4 minutes per batch, making sure the oil returns to 365 degrees F between batches. Drain on paper towels, and season with salt. Remove bay leaves from sauce when ready to serve.

Serve the meatballs warmed in the sauce, or with the sauce on the side for dipping (in which case you can reduce it a bit more to thicken it).

Makes about 36 small meatballs, serving 8 or more as an appetizer.

Recipe from: “Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian,” by Lidia Bastianich

This can be served warm or at room temperature, as part of an antipasto buffet or as a side dish. Serve lots of grilled or toasted bread alongside; if you have some peperonata left over, it makes a great frittata filling.

Stewed Savory Peppers

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 2 medium onions, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 6 small (or 4 large) bell peppers (red, yellow and orange), cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup pitted oil-cured black olives
  • 1/4 cup drained capers in brine
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • One 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • Grilled or toasted country bread, for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large straight-sided skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the anchovies. Cook and stir until they dissolve into the oil, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook until they begin to wilt, about 4 minutes.

Add the peppers, and season with the salt. Add the olives, capers and red pepper flakes, and get everything sizzling; then add the tomatoes, slosh out the can with 1 cup water, and add that to the pan. Cover, and cook until the peppers begin to droop, about 10 minutes.

Uncover, and cook until the peppers and onions are tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful, about 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve with a basket of grilled or toasted bread on the side.

Makes at least 8 servings.

Recipe from: “Lidia’s Celebrate Like an Italian,” by Lidia Bastianich

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