Saturday, May 27, 2023


After a recent trip to Memphis, known for their amazing ribs, I wanted to give it a try! Memphis-style ribs are dry rubbed, smoked, and served with optional sauce on the side, coleslaw, and beans. After decided on which recipe I wanted to try, I began the nasty business of trimming the slabs of ribs. First you lay the slabs, bone-side down, and cut along the line of fat at the base of the ribs. Next you flip the slabs over and cut off the flap of meat in the middle of the rack. Save those portions to grill alongside the ribs. Lastly, flip the slabs over, bone-side up, and remove the membrane from the ribs by sliding a knife under the membrane at the edges and using a paper towel, pull the membrane off. Gross! 

This recipe calls for the ribs to be smoked at medium-low heat, which is 300-350 degrees. My husband was watching me, making me nervous, telling me that the heat was too high! I could tell he thought everything I was doing was wrong. He's like the barbecue police! So, when I served these ribs, I was delighted to hear him say, "These are the best ribs I've ever had!" Success!!! They had the perfect smoke ring, the perfect bite, and a fantastic bark! 

Memphis-Style Spareribs

Serves 4


For the Dry Rub
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground celery seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt

For the Ribs
4 lbs (2 kg) trimmed pork spareribs, in slabs
3 or 4 handfuls hickory chips, soaked in water
Your favorite barbecue sauce, to serve on the side (optional)


Mix all the dry rub ingredients in a bowl, and pat it all over the spareribs, rubbing it in well. Place the ribs in a dish, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or for up to 4 hours. Remove from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before barbecuing.

Prepare a charcoal grill for barbecuing over medium-low heat (300-350 degrees).

Place an aluminum drip pan half full of water in the center of the fire bed. Sprinkle some of the wood chips on the coals. Place the ribs on the grill rack over the drip pan. 

Cover and grill and smoke the ribs, turning them every 30 minutes or so and adding more wood chips, more coals, and more water to the drip pan as needed.

Continue to cover, grill, and smoke the ribs until they are fork-tender, 2 1/2-3 hours. (I stacked and wrapped the ribs in foil for the last 1/2 hour.)

To serve, cut the slabs into separate ribs and pile on top of a platter and serve proudly!

Recipe from Essentials of Grilling, by Williams-Sonoma.

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Wine Doors and Pizza Napoli 1955

I am recovering from Achilles tendonitis after visiting my beloved daughter in the Renaissance city, Florence. What a beautiful city that escapes the modern aesthetic, choosing to live in it's past of medieval and Renaissance history and breathtaking art. I last visited Florence 24 years ago, and I can say nothing has changed! As Emiko Davies says in her lovely cookbook Florentine, " In every nook and cranny, history seeps out onto the well-trodden stone streets and into the every day."

The first time I visited, I was just out of college, newly married, and surprise pregnant with my first daughter. Although it was very early, I was not able to enjoy the wine culture of Florence. Total bummer. Although, this time I was ready for a party and my 19 year old daughter was able to celebrate with me! Perhaps the best time I have ever had! 

I have to admit the weather was a little chilly and rainy the entire trip, with the exception of Rome (which I will post about soon). With umbrella up, I was surprised to stumble upon the most lovely wine door! Completely by accident! These small stone arch doors, which are supposed to mimic the noble Renaissance palazzos to which they are attached, sold wine to passerby's to help struggling aristocratic families sell wine from their vineyards. Brillante!

I happened to stumble onto the wine door on my way to Pizza Napoli 1955, located Via Dei Neri 73/R, 50122, Firenze, Italia. Tired, wet, and hungry, I was met with a chair to rest, glass of wine, and the BEST pizza I have ever had! The best part is that when my pizza de bufala arrived in all it's pillowy glory, it was heart shaped! So delicious! I highly recommend checking it out if you are ever able! Anyway, when I got home I searched how to shape a heart pizza! I still use my go to My Basic Pizza Dough and this video! Mine didn't turn out as good as Pizza Napoli, but they've got 67 years experience! Enjoy!

(This is Pizza de Rossa, my daughter's favorite!)