Michelle’s Barbecue Ribs..

Michelle’s BBQ Spare Ribs

So a couple of weeks ago i was cleaning up my office and came across a mysterious blue document envelope, and upon investigation of the contents realised that it contained my “long lost recipes” … well not so long lost, just 6 years.

In the move from Malta back home to Australia some how the folder got lost and therefore lost my spectacular rib marinade.

Now I have it and today I tasted it again to confirm it was actually the recipe and decided to post it for all to appreciate (not to mention my blog is backed up so it shouldn’t ever get lost again! )

Preparation is the key

I can’t state this in any clearer way, you can’t rush this, you need to prepare at least the day before. If you forget, forget this recipe, you can’t make it work.

Equipment needed (maybe..)

This is a fun bit… If you have a professional kitchen you probably have everything, If you don’t you do need a couple of things, and there are ways around things if you are missing stuff. So basically if you have everything you will have a stick blender, a good set of knives, a smoker, a good grill. some 90cm stainless steel deep food trays and a commercial fridge (takes the 90cm food trays)..

You probably don’t have a bunch of these so the one thing you need to make sure you have is a good sharp knife. Next, some space in your regular fridge, some deep baking trays. You don’t need a smoker or grill, just a regular oven will do. However, it does make it a lot easier to have some or all of the stuff.

I will run through this with the stuff I have and make alternative comment as and where possible.

The marinade…

For each 4lb (2kg) of pork ribs:

  • 1 cup (250ml) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Barbeque sauce (if you don’t have a smoker.. make it a smokey one.)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce (or Organic Tamari)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Worcestershire Sauce (Lea and Perins!)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Jack Daniels Bourbon
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 2 (large) cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dry/powder mustard (Keens or Colmans is best.)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Fresh Rosemary Sprigs (one per rack)

…some water as needed…

Now the hard part … cooking (Part 1)..!

Hark Big Boss Gas Smoker
Hark Big Boss Dual Burner Gas Smoker

Its the hard part because you have to do it in two parts, first is the day (or night before) before…

Now if you’re as fortunate as me to have a beautiful wife that likes to buy you things, you might end up owning one of these beauties, the Hark Big Boss Gas Smoker. If you don’t (nor any other smoker) its not the end of the world, it just means you need to artificially add the smoke to it, which is usually switching the brown/barbecue sauce to one with a really smokey flavour. So either way preheat it to 350F (175C) and get your favourite smoke going (for me its a mix of apple wood chips and mahogany shavings.)

Use your sharp knife (really important this.. sharp!) to cut the racks into half unless you really want to cook them as a whole rack (I don’t recommend this, especially for beginners as they will fall apart later.) Then put a tray under the racks if a smoker to catch the drippings and put the pieces on the shelves. If using an oven, just cover with foil and seal the edges as you want to catch the drippings.

Cook for 90 minutes (1 hour, 30 minutes), then allow to cool.

Make the marinade…

Seems simple, and it is. Just leave the rosemary sprigs out, and use a garlic crusher and whisk if you don’t have a stick blender, otherwise if like me, just chop the garlic and give it all a good blend. When it’s all nice and smooth just put it to one-side and wait for the ribs to cool.

When the ribs are Part 1 cooked and cooled you need to put marinade in the dripping tray and give it a good stir/scrap to get all the flavour from the ribs mixed in the marinade. Next transfer the ribs from the shelves of the smoker to the tray meat side down and ensure the ribs are fully coated. Cover the tray with foil and put it in the fridge overnight, or as I do, back in the smoker (cold climates only!) You may need to add up to a cup (250ml) of water to ensure there is enough marinade to get on all the ribs and keep the meat submerged.

The easier part … cooking (Part 2)..!

Gas Char Grill
Gas Char Grill

Put your oven or smoker on a very low setting 120F-150F (50C-65C) and put the ribs, tray marinade and all back in the oven for at least 2-3 hours. If you have a gas char grill or BBQ grill you can skip the next step, don’t so next I turn up the smoker (or oven) to 350F (175C). I put the ribs back on the shelves for 30 minutes.

Having no char grill I switch on the oven (top grill) and using a basting brush I keep basting and turning the ribs under the grill. If you’re lucky enough to have a char grill, just put the ribs on it on a medium heat and keep basting. In both cases you want to turn them around four times to keep them moist and build up a char.

Meanwhile, take your marinade tray from the smoker or oven, and put it on the hob(s) and put them on a low heat you want to reduce the marinade (particularly if you added water) to a nice thick and sticky sauce. Baste the ribs directly from this whilst reducing so they’re all done together.


Serve with chips or wedges and salad, but above all…


Is sena tajba!

So as my first post this year, something quite enjoyable… steak (for 2 so multiply up as your needs require) a very simple and enjoyable recipe that is extremely easy to make!

Simply Steak!

Preparation and cooking time: Approximately 20-25 minutes.


Half a Fresh Lemon
2 Angus Fillet Steaks
1 Small Capsicum (bell pepper)
1 Medium onion
2 plum tomatoes
Half a pint (250ml) of beef stock.
1 tablespoon cornflower.
Salt and Pepper (Cracked Peppercorns, not the ground powder!)
Olive oil as necessary.
25-50ml Cold Water


Preparation and cooking:

Chop Onions into small pieces, followed by capsicum and tomatoes.  Place onions and capsicum into a dry pan on low heat. Put a dry skillet on a high heat (Note: I have a wok burner and use that as you need LOTS of heat – electric cookers will need lots of extra time to warm up.) Grind/crack some pepper into the skillet, by this time the pan with the onions should be making a quiet sizzle noise, give a good splash of olive oil and mix to ensure everything is coated in oil. When the onions start changing colour, place lid on pan to keep the steam in.  Stir and monitor. when the capsicum starts changing colour, add the chopped tomatoes and stock.  Bring to boil, lower heat to continue simmering without the lid/cover and add cracked pepper and salt to taste.

Meanwhile, the cracked pepper and skillet will start smoking, at this point place both steaks squarely in the skillet.  Crack some more pepper over the steaks.  Squeeze half of the lemon over both steaks, and add salt to both.  After a few minutes turn both steaks and squeeze the other half lemon over each steak.  Continue cooking to your preference (do not turn the steaks over.)  Remove both steaks to a clean wooden chopping board and allow them to ‘rest’.  Place cornflour in a cup or small jug, add a small amount of COLD water and mix well, pour mix into simmering sauce stirring well to prevent lumps forming, remove heat immediately and continue stirring.

Serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables or chips and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.

Vodka Marinated Steak


Vodka Steak
Vodka Marinated Steak

250g Local/Maltese Steak
2 teaspoons of black peppercorns
1 Shot (25-30ml) Russian Standard Vodka
1 teaspoon salt
1 Clove of Garlic
Half an Onion
Half a capsicum (bell pepper)
Stock Cube & Cornflower or Instant Gravy
Half a pint of water (cold if using cornflower, otherwise hot)
Splash of Worcester Sauce

First the preparation/marination (24 hours prior to cooking)…
Crush peppercorns and Salt together, finely chop the garlic, mix it all together in a small bowl (just larger than the steak) with some olive oil. Put the steak in it, and push it down, turn the steak and repeat until the steak is totally covered (add a little more olive oil if necessary). Put the shot of Vodka in the bowl over the steak add a little more oil so the steak is not quite covered. Cover bowl with glad wrap/cling film (or put it’s lid on if it’s tupperware).. put in the fridge.. 12 hours later give it a shake and put it back in the fridge.. The steak must be left for at least 24 hours.
To cook:
Heat a griddle or fry pan as hot as you can get it (do not put oil in it).. When hot put the steak in and wait 1 minute. Pour half the marinade on top of the steak.. Wait 2 minutes more, and flip the steak, wait one minute and add the rest of the marinade to the top. Cook to your preference by turning it over no more than once!
At the same fine chop the onion and capsicum, fry lightly until the onion starts to go transparent. Add the stock cube and thickening agent (cornflower with water), or the instant gravy (about half a pint needed).. bring to the boil stirring continuously and as soon as it starts boiling pour over the steak which is still in it’s pan (do this about 2 minutes before you remove the steak).. Turn off the heat to the steak and let everything sit in the pan together for 2 minutes.  (It will simmer whilst it is cooling, do not stir, or touch it for the 2 minutes, this will cause parts of the gravy to become thicker than others which what you want.)
Serve with chips and vegetables, or salad and put a splash of Worcester sauce in the gravy after serving….

NOTE: If you like your steak more than ‘medium’ don’t bother with this recipe as it won’t work.  This recipe works best for those who like medium-rare steak!


Salmon Alla Shells

Preparation time less than 5 minutes. Cooking time 15-20 minutes.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  • Salmon steaks or slices for each person
  • 1 red chilli (not hot, remove seeds)
  • 1 medium onion (red or white)
  • 1 can of condensed chicken soup (powered soup can be substituted)
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • A small quantity of dill
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Finely chop the onions, and the chilli and place them in a warm fry pan, with a little olive oil. Allow them to fry gently. As the onions start to turn brown, add the Salmon (skin down if they are slices) and turn up the heat.

After 2-3 minutes add the chicken stock, and the condensed chicken soup. Cover and allow to simmer before reducing the heat.

Simmer for 10 minutes or until Salmon is no longer “pink”, add the chopped dill, and leave to stand (rest) with no heat for 5 minutes before serving.

I served with creamed potatoes, fresh carrots and peas.