Cook Like a Pitmaster from the Comforts of Home

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(Family Features) For home chefs looking to take their cooking skills to the next level, it all starts with a little inspiration and a few new skills. Turn family meals into extravagant adventures, take backyard barbecues to new heights and impress friends and neighbors with pitmaster-worthy recipes.

In fact, it can be as easy as turning on the TV. From beef ribs and barbacoa to curried brisket rice and pho rub beef belly spring rolls, viewers are in for a treat by tuning into season 3 of “BBQuest: Beyond the Pit,” a video series that dives into the long-held traditions, new flavors and everyday inspiration that make Texas barbecue legendary.

The show follows four themes that capture the essence of Texas barbecue: legacy and tradition; creativity and innovation; Texas trailblazers; and family and community.

You can bring barbecue flavors home and cook like a pitmaster with dishes recreated from the series and developed by “Hardcore Carnivore” cookbook author Jess Pryles, including Smoked Chuck Beef Ribs, Grilled Jalapeno Cheddar Meatballs and Szechuan Skirt Steak with Crispy Rice.

“Since launching BBQuest four years ago, it’s truly remarkable to see how much has changed and yet stayed the same when it comes to Texas barbecue, and that’s exactly what you see in season 3,” said Rachel Chou, Texas Beef Council’s director of consumer marketing. “There has been so much exciting innovation around cooking methods and international flavors while there’s still a huge dedication to long-held recipes and smoking techniques.”

Learn more about the show and find inspiration to bring the taste of barbecue to your kitchen at BeefLovingTexans.com.

Smoked Chuck Beef Ribs

Recipe courtesy of Jess Pryles on behalf of Beef Loving Texans
Cook time: 10 hours, 30 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1 slab beef chuck short ribs (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat smoker or pellet grill to 275 F.
  2. Pat ribs dry with paper towel; remove moisture on surface.
  3. Combine salt and pepper. Rub beef ribs well on all sides and ends with seasoning, coating generously.
  4. Place ribs in smoker and close lid. Cook 5-6 hours.
  5. In spray bottle, combine cider vinegar and water. Lightly spritz ribs every 30 minutes for first 4 hours of cooking.
  6. Ribs are ready when completely probe tender. If parts still feel tough, continue cooking.
  7. Once completely tender, remove ribs from smoker then wrap tightly in butcher's paper and place in small cooler to rest 30 minutes.
  8. To serve, slice ribs between bones.

Grilled Jalapeno Cheddar Meatballs

Recipe courtesy of Jess Pryles on behalf of Beef Loving Texans
Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Servings: 15

  • 1/2 cup tortilla chips, crushed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 fresh jalapenos, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 block (8 ounces) cheddar cheese, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. Place crushed tortilla chips in large bowl. Add milk and allow chips to soften about 10 minutes.
  2. After milk is absorbed, add beef, jalapenos, cheese, paprika, garlic and salt. Mix well to combine then scoop approximately 1/3-1/2 cup of mixture to form meatball; repeat with remaining mixture.
  3. Place meatballs on plate or tray and refrigerate 30 minutes to firm.
  4. Heat grill to medium for two zone cooking.
  5. Place meatballs on indirect heat side of grill away from coals or lit burner; close lid. Grill 25-35 minutes, or until meatballs reach 165 F internal temperature on meat thermometer.
  6. Remove meatballs from grill and cool slightly before serving.

Szechuan Skirt Steak with Crispy Rice

Recipe courtesy of Jess Pryles on behalf of Beef Loving Texans
Total time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2

  • 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 skirt steak or bavette steak (about 1 pound)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons milk or cream
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
  • cucumber, sliced (optional)
  • cilantro leaves (optional)
  1. In skillet over low heat, toast peppercorns until fragrant, swirling in pan to keep from burning, about 2 minutes. Allow peppercorns to cool slightly then add to spice grinder or mortar and pestle with five spice and salt. Crush until fine powder forms.
  2. Pat skirt steak with paper towel to remove moisture then season well with Szechuan salt on both sides.
  3. Place skillet over high heat then add 1 tablespoon oil. When skillet is hot, add skirt steak and cook 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or medium doneness (135-150 F), turning occasionally. Remove steak from skillet then tent with foil to rest 3 minutes. Temperature will rise about 10-15 F to reach 145 F for medium-rare; 160 F for medium.
  4. Lower heat to medium-high then add remaining oil and milk or cream. Add rice, pressing down gently with large spoon to form large, flat disc covering entire base of pan. Season with Szechuan salt, if desired, then lower heat to medium and cook 10 minutes until grains begin to turn brown and become crisp on bottom. Break up rice in pan to mix soft and crispy grains.
  5. Slice skirt steak across grain.
  6. To serve, place rice in two bowls. Layer with sliced skirt steak. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped scallions then place cucumber and cilantro on top, if desired.