Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: May 16, 2024

Lamb is an often overlooked meat, but it’s got a lot going on! The flavor of lamb is slightly sweet and mild. There are earthy notes and a hint of gaminess. So what’s so great about racks of lamb? For one, it is tender and juicy. For another, it makes one impressive presentation that’s nothing short of elegant. And last, but not least, Lamb is a versatile meat. It pairs with a wide variety of herbs and spices (rubs) like those we make at CusoCuts, marinades, and sauces. You can pan-sear it, grill it, or roast it. Shopping for Lamb Count how many people you are having for dinner. Each person will need one rib. Buy prime or choice cuts. After that, it’s up to you to pick your rack of lamb recipes. Here’s one.  Pistachio-crusted Rack of Lamb Ingredients  1 rack of lamb with 1 rib per person 1 c finely minced pistachios 2 cloves minced garlic 2 tbsp lemon juice 2 tbsp honey mustard Spices to taste ** Extra Virgin olive oil Honey balsamic salad dressing ** There are several all-natural spice blends we make at CusoCuts that pair with lamb. Cuso’s Coconut Rum Seasoning: This blend also goes great with nuts, so it’s a win-win. Cuso’s Grass Seasoning: Matches the earthiness of the lamb Cuso’s Gravel Seasoning: For an extra textural layer Instructions Set the oven to 400F Brush on the mustard as a binder Mix your chosen seasoning with the nuts Press this mixture into the rack of lamb (get everywhere!) Transfer the lamb to a cast iron frying pan Put a little olive oil into the pan over medium-high heat Sear the rack of lamb on all sides for 3 minutes. This makes your crust golden brown Move the lamb to a roaster Cook for 25 minutes for medium rare (135F) Rest the lamb for 10 minutes before serving Use the honey balsamic as a finishing sauce PitMaster’s Memo: Rack Facts A three-ounce piece of lamb has half the daily value of protein. On average, a rack of lamb weighs 2 pounds A crown roast of lamb comes from two racks, carefully tied together Lamb chops are the result of cutting in between the bones You will get 8 lamb chops from a rack of lamb Lamb is healthy. It provides vitamins B1 and B2 Sides Beet salad with feta Couscous  Polenta Ratatouille Rice Pilaf Desserts Apple Crisp Berry cobbler Coconut pineapple flan Orange zest cheesecake Raspberry cake From the Bar Belgian Ale Iced coffee Mint ice tea Mojito Pinot Noir

Smoked Prime Rib

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: May 14, 2024

Smoked prime rib is succulent, thanks to fantastic marbling. This steak cut comes from the cow's rib, so it hasn’t been overworked. This means tremendous tenderness. Whole prime ribs are big guys. You’ll want about a dozen people to consume it. The average weight is a hefty 12-16 lbs. When serving, offer two ribs per person. While you might only think of smoked prime rib as a holiday serving, it doesn’t have to be. Ask your butcher to cut the prime rib into a size suitable for your family. Tips: Shopping for Prime Rib Besides the size of prime rib you want, there are other tips for shopping for prime rib. Look for USDA Prime Grade Examine the meat's color and marbling. It should be bright red with lots of little white veins throughout.  With or without bone? A bone-in prime rib often has a richer flavor. Boneless is much easier to carve. Check the sell-by date on the package. Make sure it’s thoroughly sealed and has no odd odors. Steps Before Smoking Before you can smoke a prime rib, you must take care of a few tasks. Turn the meat over so you can see the bones. There will be a silver membrane over them. That needs to go. Use a knife to loosen the edges of the membrane, then pull it off. Cut in between each bone to make a little pocket (do not go all the way through). This is a great way to get your barbecue rub into the prime rib. Speaking of which… Using Rub I suggest either making your own rub or finding a commercial blend you like. I use: Cuso’s Gravel Seasoning Cuso’s Grass Seasoning Cuso’s Maple Bourbon Seasoning If you’re thinking of tinkering with your own, look to spices like garlic powder, onion powder, citrus zest, oregano, basil, paprika, and thyme. Gettin’ to the Grill Preheat the smoker to 250F Once you’ve treated the meat with rub, put in a meat thermometer and leave it over indirect heat with the fat side up.  Smoke for two hours (100F). Increase the heat to 400F to create a great crust When the meat thermometer reads 135F it’s medium rare Rest the meat (be patient, it’s only 10 minutes) Serve PitMaster’s Memo: Ribeye vs Prime Rib Both these cuts of meat have rich flavors and textures. Not too amazing. They are sort of kissing cousins, coming from the same part of the cow.  Of the two, Prime Rib takes longer to cook. You want to trust the low and slow mantra to coax a better flavor profile. Many grillers go heavy on the seasonings for Prime rib.  Rib eye is a fancier meat, being the best part of the ribs. Ribeye is smaller, so you can cook it for an intimate gathering. It takes a beautiful sear in cast iron, just toss in butter and cook three minutes per side. Sides Asian style green beans Buttermilk ranch rolls Herbed sweet potatoes Roasted carrots Spinach rice Desserts Apple cobbler Bananas foster Carrot cake Mochi Rhubarb sorbet From the Bar Blackberry soda Brown Ale Dark n’ Stormy  Cabernet Malt Scotch Whisky

Smoked Tomahawk Ribeye

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: May 09, 2024

hen you want to receive a stunning “WOW” from your guests, a Tomahawk steak is the cut for you. It is simply huge. The perfect tomahawk steak isn’t difficult to achieve. Just give it a little love with barbecue rub, and it’s good to go. What is Tomahawk Steak? A Tomahawk Steak, sometimes called a cowboy steak, is unique because the ribeye steak remains on a long rib bone. It really does look a bit like a tomahawk axe. When your mind is on a dramatic presentation, the tomahawk is an ideal centerpiece.  Getting to Know Your Steak The Tomahawk isn’t all “looks.” The bone insulates the meat during cooking, resulting in a very juicy and flavorful steak. If you’re thinking about treating yourself, this steak is indulgent. It’s usually 2” think with great marbling.  Grilling and smoking tomahawk ribeye is the way to go. It gives you the opportunity to obtain that coveted crust, rich with the barbecue rub(s) you put on it. My favorite all-natural blend is  Cuso’s Dirt® Seasoning, which I frequently use for this and other steak cuts. Smoking Chips or Pellets This steak holds up to the bold flavors of hickory. Oak is a little milder. Mesquite is earthy. Fruit woods like apple and cherry are mild and slightly sweet. Nut woods like pecan are, well, nutty! Pick whichever one you like.  Ingredients: 1 tomahawk ribeye steak Seasoning including salt and pepper Olive oil Instructions Preheat the smoker to 225F. Let the tomahawk come up to room temperature while the smoker heats up. Apply olive oil all over the steak Season the steak** Place it in the smoker where there’s indirect heat Smoke for 2 hours or until it reaches your preferred level of doneness. 135F is medium rare. Rest the meat for 15 minutes Slice the meat against the grain for serving ** Other CusoCuts blends suitable for smoked tomahawk ribeye include: Gravel Seasoning for great texture Maple Bourbon Brown Sugar for sweet heat Smokey Garlic Buffalo: amps up the smokey flavor and brings a little kick PitMaster’s Memo: Why Buy Tomahawk Steak Tomahawk steaks are a little pricy, but they are worth it. You don’t have to always get tomahawk steaks for special occasions. But when you do, making something like a double tomahawk steak is nothing short of impressive. You are creating a memory! A properly prepared tomahawk steak is rich, tender, and juicy. Their size makes them sharable. Consider using them for a communal dining experience.  For the passionate griller, a tomahawk steak is fun. You can experiment with time, temperature, char level, and rubs to discover your perfect recipe. Side Dishes: Beer-battered onion rings Creamed spinach Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips Mexican street corn Roasted root vegetable medley Desserts: Berries (with whipped cream or ice cream) Caramel apple walnut pie Chocolate lava cake Creme brulee New York Cheesecake Beverages: Bourbon on the rocks Espresso Hoppy IPA Malbec Sangria

Grilled Rack of Lamb

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: April 22, 2024

I confess. I love making rack-of-lamb on the grill. While people seem to set it aside for special occasions, there’s no reason not to pull out some chops (you can cut them from the rack). You could also make something vibrant and texturally inviting, like Herb-Crusted Leg of Lamb. If you’re nervous about making a Grilled Rack of Lamb, it’s not really that hard. Grilling is an art, and at first, your jitters are normal. Just stick to a tried-and-true recipe, and you can’t really go wrong. What Is Rack of Lamb This product is an unsplit primal rib cut. If you’re looking at a cow outline, this piece comes from ribs six through twelve. These will become two rib roasts. If you want to make a crown, the two roasts must be sewn together so that when they stand up, they look like a crown. Note: your butcher will help you, or they may even have one prepared during the holidays. Tips for Success Treat the rack with marinade and, if you wish, barbecue rub. Both help keep the rack tender. If there are any exposed bones, wrap them in foil so they don’t burn. Watch your lamb like a hawk. It should not cook beyond the medium rare stage for the best results Place your lamb on the grill fatty side down initially. ** ** People disagree on this point, but this is how I roll. Ingredients 8-bone rack of lamb ½ c Extra Virgin Olive Oil 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 5 garlic cloves 10 mint leaves ½ tbsp oregano ½ tbsp basil 2 tsp pink salt 1 tsp cracked pepper Honey mustard Cuso’s Grass Seasoning Instructions Combine everything but the honey mustard and Cuso’s Grass Seasoning in a blender. Transfer this to a coverable container Lay out the rack of lamb inside If you are in a hurry, leave this in the refrigerator for 5 hours. Otherwise, marinate overnight.  Preheat the grill to 500F (close the lid) In the meanwhile, remove the lamb from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels. Cover the rack of lamb with a thin coat of mustard Sprinkle the meat all over with Cuso’s Grass Seasoning.** Place the lamb on the grill, starting with the fat side down. Grill for 5 minutes and then flip. Wait another 5 minutes Check the meat’s temperature using a probe at the thickest part of the meat If it’s not 135F (medium rare), move it to indirect heat for a little longer. Be careful. Lamb can go from perfect to overcooked in the blink of an eye. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving. ** If you’d like something with a kick, use Cuso’s Hot Honey Seasoning instead. PitMaster’s Memo: Lamb in History Lamb has been part of humankind’s diet for thousands of years, starting in Mesopotamia. It was from there that people in Central Asia and Africa obtained their meat. In pastoral society, lamb played an important role. It was not simply food. You could get lamb milk and use their wool, for example. Christopher Columbus brought ewes and rams to America with him. As time passed, lamb became somewhat of a delicacy reserved for special celebrations and important guests. Some European aristocrats even requested it over beef Sides Asparagus with brown butter Chickpea feta salad Greek lemon potatoes Minted baby peas Roasted Mediterranean vegetables Desserts Fruit compote Lemon bars Mint mousse Poached pears with caramel sauce Sticky toffee pudding From the Bar Amber ale Chamomile tea Mint julep Shiraz Single malt

Buffalo Pork Ribs

By: Jack Mancuso

Date: April 15, 2024

In 1964 the Anchor Bar & Grill in Buffalo began using Frank’s Hot Sauce for grilling chicken wings. A new sensation (Buffalo Wings) was born. But this hot sauce tastes great on all kinds of things, including pork ribs. In this recipe for Buffalo Pork Ribs, I combine Frank’s Sauce with a little brown sugar and a tasty Cuso’s all-natural rub for that sweet-heat balance. Then, a layer of smokiness rounds out a delicious main course.  Ingredients 2 slabs baby back pork ribs Olive oil ¼ cup Cuso’s Smoky Garlic Buffalo Seasoning 1 tbsp brown sugar (if you want more sweetness) 1 tsp liquid smoke (for extra smokiness) 1 cup Frank’s Original Red-Hot Sauce 1 stick unsalted butter Instructions Turn the ribs over and remove the silver skin from the underside Mix the Cuso’s Seasoning with the brown sugar (if you are using it) Pour a scant amount of olive oil on each rack of ribs Spread it all over Dust the ribs with Cuso’s Smoky Garlic Buffalo Seasoning Wrap the racks individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight The next day, bring the ribs to room temperature Preheat the smoker to 250F Cut the ribs individually. A cleaver comes in handy here. Spread them on the smoker grate Leave for 3 hours Check for doneness (205F). If they’re not quite ready, let them smoke a bit longer While the ribs smoke, make your sauce Combine the hot sauce, liquid smoke, and melted butter together Toss the ribs lightly in the blend and serve PitMaster’s Memo: Getting Saucy When you have people over who are not fond of hot sauce, you can change the flavor profile of this dish easily. Rather than Cuso’s Smoky Garlic Buffalo Seasoning, use our classic Roasted Garlic Onion  Seasoning. Toss the pork ribs with a favorite barbecue sauce, Asian-style sauce, or perhaps honey mustard. Other Cuso Cut’s Rib Recipes 3-2-1 Ribs Taco Ribs How to Barbecue Baby Back Ribs Bourbon Jam Baby Back Ribs Sides Bacon bowtie salad Black-eyed peas and greens Brocolini  Cajun potato salad Roasted cherry tomatoes Desserts Banana pudding Bourbon praline cake Brown sugar molasses pie (Shoofly) Honeyed cornbread Peach Crisp From the Bar. Fruit punch (non-alcoholic) Gin and tonic India pale ale Peach bourbon Zinfandel

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