Recipe: Square Mile Cider Brined and Smoked Ribs

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When it comes to ribs, slow and steady wins the race. For Jake Neilson — associate brand manager at Oregon’s…

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A good baking session can have magic healing powers — especially a cider-fueled baking session, which then transcends into cure-all territory. Add cinnamon-spice and everything nice and you’ve got warm and inviting vibes wafting out of your kitchen for hours, just in time for the holiday season. When you’ve had a hard week or are nursing a routine case of the winter blues, go ahead and treat yourself to all of the above over the weekend.

Meat braising season has officially arrived and there are few better bedfellows for this slow-cooking process than cider and pork. True — any alcohol will add to the aromatic and flavor profile, bonding with fat and water molecules, like in a brine, marinade or braise — but cider in particular offers a natural bounty of flavors that intrinsically combine with savory, tender pork create a harmonious dish that surges the palate without being too sweet or spicy.

As far as cruciferous vegetables go, Brussels sprouts can sure get a whole lot of mileage. Roast them up in the oven with nothing but a coat of olive oil and dash of salt, and they can nearly become akin to some sort of healthy miracle French fry in terms of savory, salty snackability. Pan-fry them, sear them, add bacon or lemon or… braise them in cider?
Yes, the cider you have stocked in your fridge may very well be the final component you need to give pan-fried sprouts a lift.

Cooking with cider is nothing new at Carr’s Ciderhouse in Hadley, Massachusetts. The family-run operation has been working with all sorts of ways to incorporate apples of all forms into their cuisine. From winter coleslaw with a cider syrup vinaigrette to BBQ sauce made with an apple cider vinegar, the fruits bring a whole new angle to traditional methods.

Apple-based spirits have a long history in America (think back to colonial days). In fact, two of the oldest distilled spirits in the United States, apple brandy and applejack, have been served during important political gatherings, used as currency in exchange for labor, given as gifts to international leaders and even served as a delicious alternative to water in times before water was clean and convenient.

To say that gazpacho is an old dish would be a bit of an understatement. While no one is 100 percent sure how the dish originally came about, it is clear that it originated in the Andalusian region of Spain and that it has distinct influences from Ancient Rome. Gazpacho remained almost entirely in Andalusia until the 19th century, when the wife of French emperor Napoleon III fell in love with the dish and popularized among the court. The rest, as they say, is history.

With nearly everything on the menu at Bull City Ciderworks made in house, finding impressionable flavor is guaranteed, particularly when it comes to the ciders and how they’re incorporated into dishes.
Harry Monds, chef at the ciderhouse in Lexington, North Carolina, says he used to not enjoy cider, often thinking it was way too sweet. That all changed after trying the many different varieties that Bull City had to offer.

Known as the “Onion Capital of Canada,” Thedford is a small community in Ontario and home to Twin Pines Orchards & Cider House. Growing, pressing and fermenting on the property gives this producer the title of “estate winery” and their Hammerbent Red sparkling cider is a best of the orchard blend, using Red Court Cortland, Northern Spy, Ida Red and Golden Russet apples.

The charm behind pork’s 1980s nickname as “the other white meat” can still bring a smile to meat lovers faces. The sheer versatility of the dish makes it a home cook’s favorite, but it can often be hard to decide just what exactly to do with the meat. You can bake it, grill it, sear it on a skillet, serve it with fruit or with vegetables, make it spicy or sweet. It’s enough to make your head spin.

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