Throw me a bone, and I mean that literally. I love all types of meats on the bone: chicken, lamb, pork, beef; yes, even goat and rabbit. I will say I love dove too, but only as a boneless breast stuffed with a jalapeno and cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and grilled. But that will have to wait for another column. I do, however, have a family member who won’t touch or eat any type of meat if it is served on the bone, not even Buffalo wings; she has to have them boneless. I tried to tell her that is nothing but a chicken nugget but to no avail. I don’t even pick that bone with her anymore; it is a touchy subject.
And by the way, where did all those bone sayings come from? Some say an ancient dice game played with polished bones, ugh. Others say it originates from the dining table. The expression to find bones in something means to find difficulty in something or a plan of action. And why soup? Do you find bones in your soup? Heck, sometimes I cook with bones in my soups and stews, My Cajun dishes often have bones in them and well, they are delicious! If I had lots of bones in my soup I guess it would be hard to eat. So if you have no bones in your soup or meal it means that you have no problems or difficulties.
But what about having a bone to pick with somebody? Or what about a disagreement being a bone of contention? O when you want to come halfway in an argument to make someone happy, do you say you throw them a bone? Well, if you throw me a big, fat, juicy bone, I would be more than content! And if it is a smoked roasted dinosaur bone, just call me Fred Flintstone. And yes, I found them here in Kingwood.
I finally had the opportunity to enjoy H-E-B’s talked-about dinosaur bones. Available only on Fridays after 5 p.m. – no bones about it – they are worth waiting for. Talk about big. Here is the blueprint: prime rib-rack of bones with quite a bit amount of meat still attached and seasoned with a secret seasoning. I could not get the secret recipe but I do know there was a large, Texas-size shake of pepper and salt on those big boys. They were smoked for hours and served on brown butcher paper smoking hot; fantastic! No need for barbecue sauce but it couldn’t hurt! Sweet onions, pickles and two slices of white bread accompany these ribs but I think Texas toast would have been more appropriate. All the same, it will take two people or one really hungry one to eat this prehistoric-size protein.
I don’t have the recipe (yet) for the H-E-B dinosaur bones but why don’t you “Please Join Our Table” as I share one or two of my favorite recipes with bones.
Here is a great chicken wing recipe, and no, it is not boneless!
Spicy Coca-Cola Chicken Wings (Cuban Style)
2 12-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola (or you can Texas it up and use Dr Pepper instead)
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, grated
4 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 large onion, grated
1/4 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, cut at the joints
Juice of 2 limes (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Combine cola, sugar, garlic, jalapenos, onion, rum, lime juice and soy in a large bowl, add chicken wings and coat well. Arrange chicken wings in a single layer in a deep oven tray and pour 1/2 of the cola mixture over the chicken. Bake for 3-3 1/2 hours or until sauce is thick and very sticky. Place leftover cola mixture in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Brush wings with remaining cola syrup. Place baking sheet with wings on the top rack, close to broiler. Broil for about 5 minutes or until skin is caramelized and dark brown. Turn halfway and brush with more syrup, then broil 3-4 more minutes.
Note: The wings will burn easily, so remove as soon as they're done. If you want to keep them warm, put an ovenproof platter on the bottom oven rack to hold wings as they've finished cooking. Just before serving, lightly dust with chipotle powder if desired.
My Greek Flavored Ribs
4 pounds ribs: pork, beef, lamb or goat
2-3 tablespoons Greek seasoning
1/2 teaspoon of the following: black pepper, rosemary, oregano and garlic salt (or any seasoning of choice)
1 jar barbecue sauce (your choice; my favorite is Texas Q Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce)
3 tablespoons Metaxa* or any good-tasting brandy or whiskey
2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke
2 cups water
Remove the white skin (membrane or silverskin ) from the bone side of the ribs. The easiest way is to put a paper towel in your hand and use that as leverage to pull it off. This lets the seasonings and smoke penetrate the meat. Cut the ribs into 2-3 rib sections. Season them with Greek seasoning and others (your choice). Place ribs on heavy-duty aluminum foil bone-side down and place them in a large pan. Carefully pour in 2 cups water, the Metaxa and Liquid Smoke. Seal up aluminum foil. Place in 325-degree oven and bake for 2 hours. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature. Discard juices. Cover ribs and place ribs in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. Bring to room temperature and start grill. Spread barbecue sauce all over the ribs, grill for 3-4 minutes per side and serve. My barbeque sauce has Metaxa and cinnamon flavoring in it, giving it a Greek kick.
Note: In a hurry use this trick; buy a spicy, sweet bottled barbecue sauce, add 2 -3 cinnamon sticks, 2 tablespoons Metaxa or bourbon and 1/8 teaspoon cloves. Simmer to infuse flavors.
*Metaxa is a brand of Greek amber spirits made by diluting aged cask-strength brandy with muscat wine and a recipe of secret botanicals, anise and rose petals.