We decided to fire up the big smoker and smoke a load of ribs for the holiday. The local grocery had really nice meaty St Louis style on sale so I picked up a large slab of them. On the way out I happened to notice a refridgerator case loaded with these brown boxes and a big SALE sign on the case, curious I went and took a look……….the boxes contained “Swifts Premium Ribs Tips” and weighed 10 pounds, the price was reasonable so I threw one in my cart and decided to give them a try, I figured I would cook a few of them along with the St Louis ribs. What I discovered upon arriving home was that inside the box, vacumn packed was one big block of rib tips, they were frozen solid, all crammed together. I set the box into the bottom of the fridge to defrost. On Sunday night I separated all the now defrosted tips and discovered there was a LOT of them, I set them and the slab of St Louis style into a simple brine for overnight. Bright and early Monday morning Mick set up and stared the smoker while I formed a few burgers and made some potato and pasta salads. When the smoker was ready I started laying on all the ribs after giving them a simple rub, they covered the whole bottom rack of the smoker………I did say there was a lot of them! I let them smoke for 7 hours and then built a small fire on one end of the smoker to cook the burgers and hot dogs, can’t be a cookout without them! The ribs came out perfect, just about fall off the bone, very moist and tender with great smoke flavor, the fat on them just melted away. It turns out we didn’t really care for those ribs tips, they were mostly small round bones connected by a little meat and were quite a bit of work to eat, if you are trying to cut back on your food intake I might reccomend them as it will take you an hour to get the equivilent meat of one regular rib. The St Louis ribs on the other hand were absolutely great, very meaty and succulent, we’ll stick with this type from now on.
I will give you the recipe for the pasta salad I make, it has become very popular over the years and people request it when we have to bring something to a gathering. The Potato Salad I made is below.
Matties Pasta Salad
1 pound of your favorite small pasta, cook, drained and cooled
2 small cucumbers, peeled and diced
1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced on diagonal, white and green parts
3 stalks celery, diced or cut on diagonal
5 Roma tomatoes, diced or one basket of grape tomatoes cut in half
1/2 teaspoon Accent seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup light mayonaise
Cook the pasta of your choice and drain, rinse well with cold water and place into a large bowl. Chop all the vegetables and add to the pasta, mix well.
Into a small food processor or the mixer cup of a Ninja (if you have this great machine) add the mayo and the Accent and pepper and mix together. You may like more mayo but as the vegetables will make liquid it will thin out as it sits, this is not a heavy mayo salad, you can add more mayo if you’d like but try it with the 1 cup to begin with and stir it after a few hours to see if you want more. This is best made the day before you need it so all the flavors come together.
If you want you can also add some shrimp or crab and make this a meal, my sister likes it that way. I came up with this salad many years ago and so far there hasn’t been one person who has eaten it that doesn’t like it, even if they never before like a pasta salad. Give it a try and see how you like it.
3 pounds of red skinned potatoes, diced and steamed until tender
1 large stalk of celery
1 small onion
1 cup Hellmans Mayonaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons sweet relish
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 hard boiled eggs
I steam the diced potatoes in a pressure cooker for 4 minutes, I put the diced potatoes on a trivet in the cooker so they don’t get watery.
When potatoes are steamed and still hot sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, set aside to cool. In a Ninja or food processor place the celery, onion, mustard, mayonaise, salt and pepper, blend until it is smooth then pour over the cooled potatoes and mix well. Chop the hard boiled eggs and add to the potatoes along with the relish and the parsley, mix all together very well and then refridgerate until it is cold, stir again before serving, if you need it you can add a little more mayonaise.
Note: You can also leave the celery and onion chunky, just dice it and add to the dressing and mix well, in that case you would not have to do this in the Ninja or food processor and it could all be put together by hand.