My Favourite Steak Rub

Posted on: 30 April 2010 No comments

As fond as I am of the fairer sex, cooking for them can often be a right pain in the swiss. There is quite simply, nothing more irritating than a woman who will eat a burger but for some reason won’t eat a steak? Or they’ll eat a chicken goujon but never a wing? Only women ever do that, FACT.

Women are also ten times more likely than men to refuse something that is still on the bone. As in a nice chop or a full fish, especially with the head still intact. Openly carnivorous women in modern western societies,  are as rare as mannerly Parisian waiters.   A recent episode of “Come Dine With Me” featured a lady who admitted to being such a meat lover that,”when my dog dies, he won’t be buried. He’ll be cooked and eaten.” Respect. My kind of bird. Did I mention that she was also a burlesque dancer? Mucho respecto.

I am not going out of my way here just to do a blokey rant and vent steam. My point is actually a relatively practical one. If you have a female guest, it’s very important to check beforehand how much of a carnivore she is. You don’t want to present her with a dirty big €12 T-bone that’s oozing sticky juices and then she suddenly says, “I only really like meat when it doesn’t resemble what it looked like when it was still alive.  The green beans look  lovely though!” When entertaining ladies, get the all clear beforehand. And then prepare the following.



  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of a decent sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated or dried garlic (most Pakistani or Arabic food stores will stock this)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated or dried onion  (again most Pakistani or Arabic food stores)
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds
  • 3 small shallots, sliced thinly


Get a clean jar. Empty everything into it except the shallots. Close the lid tightly.  Shake it all up for about half a minute.

Heat up a dry wok, ie with no oil in it, slowly toast the shallots until they are all nicely browned. Chop them up finely and mix them up with the rest of the rub and again shake.

I love ribeyes steaks. Fillets are boring. They’re dry and always need a sauce. A decent ribeye cooked to medium on a griddle pan or barbie that’s seasoned with this steak rub is all you need.

Get your griddle pan or barbie as hot as you possibly can. Tenderize the steak with a fork by stabbing it loads of times on a board. Then massage a little olive oil into it.

Throw the steak on for about a minute, then turn it. There should some nice charred lines going along it.  Put about 1 – 2 teaspoons of the spice mix onto this side of the steak by rubbing it on with a knife or something.  Let the other side cook for about a minute, then turn it over with a fork but let the lines of the pan or barbie criss-cross the other way so that you’ll be left diagonal charred lines on the steak. Repeat with the other side of the steak so that each side has the same amount of seasoning and is left with the same char lines.

Let it sit for a few minutes before you get stuck in.


Posted on: 23 April 2010 No comments

The boyos over in The Revenue Office are dead chuffed with themselves. They sent out a press release today stating that they managed to get back €1.1 million from bogey bankers.  Not for nothing lads, but Seanie Fitzpatrick has probably dropped that much bread on his gold plated toilet seats. This is exactly the kind of headline that would depress a cheerleader. There is absolutely no doubt about it, Ireland is in financial ruin and the country is led by spineless morons. Our parents and grandparents may tell us that it was much harder in their day, but they never owed so much money as this generation does.  And our kids and their kids will still have to bear the brunt of it all.

Many people speak of “green shoots” in the economy – potential opportunities to lift us back to financial greatness and keep us busy in the future. That’s not enough for me. I genuinely need to see good things happening here and now, just so I can keep a smile on my face.   Exposing yourself to and learning about other races of people,  is one sure fire way to remain inspired and content.  And one of the only good things about modern Ireland, is that you can do all that without leaving your own neighbourhood.

It’s all about the foreign student visas. Supposedly, even a course in The Bertie Ahern School of English will get you a work permit for a year or so and that’s how so many types of nationalities are here now. Like for instance, Brazilians. There must be thousands of them floating around Ireland at the moment, counting the days to the start of the World Cup.

If Ireland’s’ political and financial woes are getting you down, then might I recommend a visit to Sabor Brazil on Pleasant Street, Dublin 8 for some gastronomic enlightenment and mood enhancement. I popped in last year and had their feijoada, a Portuguese stew that is the national dish of Brazil now – kinda like their version of our Batterburgers in curry sauce… The feijoada there is delicious and comes with all the trimmings – pan fried cabbage with garlic, pickled chillies, slices of orange and farofa, which is toasted tapioca flour. When I asked them how a good feijoada was made, two members of staff came down to me and told me in great detail how it should be done. We then spoke about their food experiences in Ireland and what other things they liked to eat and drink. Very cool people.

Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, I lashed out a pot of my own and used the Brazilian staff of The Sugar Club as guinea pigs. Their criticisms were firm but fair (unlike my management skills). Apparently, my beef was overcooked and the stew wasn’t seasoned enough. The following recipe below came from my second attempt, which they happily approved of.

Anyhoo, feijoada is one of the nicest stews you’ll ever have. Well worth giving it a go. And if you’re lucky enough to bag yourself a hot date with a Brazilian and served them a well presented plate of it,  that will surely be the dealbreaker.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups of chopped onions
  • 2 tablespoons of  chopped garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound Polish sausage(you can’t get the Brazilian ones in Direland, I tried, get the Polish ones instead in any of the Polish stores), sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 pound of stewing beef, cubed into half inch pieces
  • 1 cup of smoked bacon lardons (Aldi or Lidl do grand ones)
  • 1 pound baby back spareribs (also known as shortbacks), cut into individual ribs
  • 1 pound black beans, (place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with cold water; soak the beans overnight in the refrigerator). There is a Brazilian food store on Clarendon St
  • 10 cups water or enough to fill the pot
  • 4 cups Sautéed collared or kale greens
  • Hot sauce
  • 4 cups cooked white rice
  • Garnish: 1 orange, halved and cut into thin slices and Farofa.


In a large heavy pot, over medium heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and garlic. Crush the bay leaves and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the sausage. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. Add the cubed beef and ribs and fry for a few more minutes. Add the beans and water. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Adding water as necessary to keep the beans covered.

Using the back of a ladle, mash 1/4 of the beans. Re-season with salt and pepper if needed. Remove the rib bones, at this point the meat from them should be falling off quite nicely.


Loads of boiled rice, sautéed cabbage or kale with chopped garlic going through it and if you want to keep it real then you gotta garnish the plate with orange slices. Then put some farofa on a wee side plate with some of them pickled chillies and hot sauce ( again, buy them in the Brazilian Food store on Clarendon st.). Go the whole hog and make some caipirinhas to lash back with the grub.

I first had this stew years ago in Newark, New Jersey where there has always been a geansaí load of Portuguese and Brazilians. There they fill up half a shotglass with the stew juice, top it up with hot sauce and knock it back so that you can prepare your palette for the main event. Us Jersey folk are naturally hard so I wouldn’t recommend doing that at home…

Davis Family Pork Ribs

Posted on: 16 April 2010 3 comments


Last night, I raised a glass to one of my American Uncles, Eddie
Davis. He passed away yesterday peacefully, surrounded by family. He
was a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, a rocket
scientist for NASA and a lover of fine whiskeys. A great bloke.  I will miss him.

Like many a Yank family, us Davis’ love a nice bit of barbecue action. And all week long I’ve  seen the vagrants along the Grand Canal drinking tinnies from 11.30 am with their tops off. That can mean only one thing, the Irish Summer has officially started! With the ever so slightly hotter season finally upon us, now is the time to start char grilling some meat on the barbie. It is your God given duty to do so, as important to the Nation’s identity as knacker drinking with your upper torso exposed to the elements.

The following recipe is a culmination of  the efforts  of three of my stateside Uncles, hence “Davis Family Pork Ribs.” The dry spice mix is my Uncle Brian’s. Many moons ago I spent a night in his house during a Christmas break. On the way to his gaff in his car, he asked me what my favourite food was. Anything barbecued I told him. So we had a cook off in the garden. I held an umbrella over him as the Pennsylvania snow started falling down. I love that. He said he was gonna lash out a barbie and not even the most severe weather conditions prevented him. My aforementioned Uncle Eddie showed me how to make the thick, gooey, sweet and spicy basting sauce. And my Uncle Jimmy shared with me the best secret ever to making your ribs perfectly tender, so that the meat just slides off the bone. Cook them overnight in cellophane. His ribs would have to be my death row meal.

Before you get started, here are some essential facts about Babyback ribs. Do not get them confused with spare ribs. Babybacks have more meat on them as they are taken from the top of the ribcage between the spine and the spareribs, below the loin muscle. Spare ribs are from the pork belly and have more fat on them. They are the ones that you tend to get from manky Chinese takeaways. Many butchers over here call babybacks, shortback ribs – in case they don’t know what you’re talking about.




2 Whole racks of Babyback Pork Ribs

For the dry spice mix: Combine the following together

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon mild chili powder
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne

2 tablespoons of salt

For the basting sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon of ground chili
1/2 cup red wine or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup molasses
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt


For the sauce:

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.

Add the onions and cook them until they are slightly browned, should take 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and chillies, and cook for 1 minute. De-glaze the pan with the vinegar and lime juice and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, molasses, mustard, bay leaves and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until thick, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain.

For the ribs:

Rub the spice mix generously all over the ribs. If you like you can remove the membrane on the bone side of the ribs before you put the spice on but I like to leave it on.

Wrap the ribs with a few layers of cellophane. Get it as airtight as you can.

Here comes the funny bit. Throw the ribs into your oven with the cellophane still on but at a 80 degree heat. The cellophane will not melt and don’t let any eco warriors tell you that the cellophane gives you toxins. That’s total bollocks.

Leave the ribs in the oven for as long as you can. Feel free to lash them in the oven before you go to bed and take them out 8 hours later. Definitely leave them in for a minimum of 6 hours.

After you’ve done that, remove the cellophane. Drain off any fat and stick it into the sauce. Let the ribs sit for a while and then baste them with the sauce. You can grill them on your barbie or just stick them under your grill in the kitchen. Give them another basting with the sauce if you can before you finish grilling them.


Some baked potatoes and sour cream with some decent coleslaw and as much beer as you can swill. If you have guests round and you want to look like the mannerly type, it might be an idea to have some bowls of water with slices of lemon in them so they can wash their sauce stained hands. There’s always a chance one of them will pull a Tony Montana and drink the water and eat the lemon.


15 August 2014


21 July 2014


30 May 2014

Little J’s Slow Cooked Ribs

25 April 2014

Jason & Brenda Byrne’s Veggie Chilli

21 March 2014

Omar’s Jamaican Stew Chicken

21 February 2014