Big Dan's Ramblings

Ramblings from a Boston Boy stuck in New York

Tag Archives: recipe

Ramblings | 2010 Year In Review

Big Dan's RamblingsIt has been a great year for us here at Big Dan’s Ramblings.  I started publishing posts in May of this year and have seen a fairly steady increase of hits every week.  The posts ranged everywhere from recipes to product reviews to a stretch where we were updating almost daily on Red Sox news.  Over this time, I have slowly started to find my voice and figure out where I want to take this blog.  It is still a work in progress, but we’re getting there.

Next year, I am committing myself to posting at least one unique post every week in addition to a weekly wrap-up post.  The goal is to build a regular readership here that will grow into a fairly regular blog.

As a unique kind of review, here’s a list of the top five BDR posts from 2011 based upon the number of views each one received. Read more of this post

Homemade Sauce and Ricotta Meatballs

My wife and I have been growing a garden since we bought our house a few years ago. Over the last few years, we’ve cut down our plantings to a few different crops that we use most frequently. At first, we were growing all kinds of peppers, beans, and even corn! And, we’ve had good luck with it. This year, due to the need for some more room in our yard, we’ve cut down on our plantings. However, we have followed the Square Foot Gardening method with great success this year. We have Roma Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, String Beans, Green and Red Peppers, Eggplant and Onions. Our Roma and Cherry Tomatoes have come in incredibly well this year. Since I’m not much of a tomato eater, I needed to find ways to use them. Being that I’m also a good Italian boy, I decided to try to make a tomato sauce from pure scratch.
Read more of this post

8th Annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party

Big Apple Barbecue Block Party

For more information, visit

The Eighth Annual Big Apple Barbecue Block Party takes place in Madison Square Park June 12-13, 2010, from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. The weekend-long event takes place every June and brings together the country’s top pitmasters who cook up their award-winning food for over a hundred thousand barbecue enthusiasts. Set against the beautiful backdrop of Madison Square Park, the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party attracts people from near and far to sustain and celebrate America’s authentic culinary and musical traditions.

Admission to the event is free. Take in the sights, sounds and smells of the event – from great live music to engaging seminars and cooking demonstrations – without ever dropping a dollar. The country’s best barbecue is available from top pitmasters for only $8 per plate.

Proceeds from the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party support the Madison Square Park Conservancy, the organization responsible for the beauty, ongoing maintenance, and programming of this historic park.

The Novice Smoker will be in attendance – taking pictures and testing all the food – for quality control reasons, of course 🙂 If you’re in the area, come on down for some good music and great food. And, the best part is that it all goes towards a great cause.

Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce Recipe

In preparation for my next attempt at smoking, I made some homemade BBQ Sauce.  The good folks over at were nice enough to post this recipe and I followed it to the letter.  If the early reviews – quick tastes by my wife and brother – are any indication, this recipe is a winner!

Kansas City Style Barbeque Sauce


  • 1-1/2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cups of your favorite ketchup (I used Heinz)
  • 1/3 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Liquid Smoke flavoring
  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic powder


  1. Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat.  Be sure to stir regularly during this step so that all the ingredients combine well.
  3. Once the mixture is at a boil, reduce the heat to medium.  Continue boiling until the sauce thickens.  Stir regularly during this step.  Thickening usually occurs after about 1/2-hour.

I took the author’s suggestion and let the sauce sit in the refrigerator overnight.  You can serve right away however.

Did you try this recipe?  How did you like it?

Tell what you think in the comments!

Dry Rub Pork Spare Ribs – Prep Time

My second adventure in smoking will be two slabs of pork spare ribs.  Once I again, I am deferring to the knowledge of the good folks over at Smoker for recipes and smoking suggestions.  It’s been so far, so good with these folks and they haven’t steered me wrong yet.  Unlike brisket, I have actually cooked pork spare ribs before.  However, the last time I cooked them, I used a slow cooker recipe that basically had me put a lot of BBQ sauce and some dark beer into a crock pot, dump the ribs in, let em cook for a hell of a long time, and then finish them on the grill.  They turned out quite well, but I now know that I could have increased the quality of my final product significantly just by preparing the ribs correctly.

Image courtesy of Smoker

Image courtesy of Smoker

Click on through to see how I went about getting the ribs ready for smoking. Read more of this post