The scent of barbecue wafts
This is the trophy awarded to Doug Mombell, winner of Marylcreek Drive’s Not Your Normal Rib Cook-off. The trophy was made by Don Tank and will undoubtedly be sought as a prize in the neighborhood’s future rib cookoffs.

Clackamas County must be one of the most food fragrant areas in the world. Not a weekend has gone by this summer that you didn't hear of some unique food event happening on a hill or dale somewhere in the county. You could have just followed your nose from one great barbecue to the next.

The scent wafting along Lake Oswego's Marylcreek Drive Aug. 31 must have put those within sniffing range high into hog heaven. The neighborhood was holding their first annual 'Not Your Normal Rib Cook-off.' Now one slab ofbaby backs is enough to catch the attention of those up and down the street; think how mouth wateringly tantalizing four slabs with unique sauces would have been.

This year's entrants included:

n Brenda Tank and her Brenda's Sassy Cajun Ribs aka 'Louisana Bell's Ribs.'

n Dian Connett with her Naked Ribs, which she guaranteed would 'Streak Across Your Palate.'

n Dian's husband Doug Mombell was a contender and put his Red State Ribs to the test. 'No Flavor Left Behind' is the motto of this recipe, which included over a dozen items in the sauce.

n Mary Easlick entered her Surprise Ribs, which left one asking, 'Where Did They Come From?'

More than 20 judges were asked to rank the ribs as being the Best, Good, Less Good or fitting into the Maybe Next Year category. After much deliberation the Red State Ribs was declared the winner by a leanest one-point margin over the Naked Ribs. That speaks to the quality of food coming out of the Connett-Mombell kitchen. Congratulations to you both!

Don Tank created a handcrafted wood trophy for the competition, which was presented to a beaming Mombell. I am sure it will be displayed prominently throughout the year and act as a reminder to neighbors that it is never to early to start working on a recipe for next year's competition.

Just down the road from Marylcreek Drive, in West Linn lives Thomas Palmrose. Palmrose has been adding the perfume of his grapewood fires to West Linn breezes this summer. He is using the grapewood to cook his Grilled Pigeon marinated in ancho chiles and tomatillos, which was his entry in the 2008 Mario Batali Tailgate Grilling Contest. Palmrose is a quarter finalist in the national competition!

The public will determine who advances to the next level of competition. Come on, friends - let's support our local fellow. Please go to and vote for Palmrose to advance to the next level.

Good luck, Thomas - I'm pulling for you to win!

On another note, In Good Taste opens in Lake Oswego Saturday at 6302 S.W. Meadows Road. The grand opening celebration will run from noon to 4 p.m.

I am honored to get to teach the first class that very evening starting at 6 p.m. Its one of my 100-Mile Sustainable Food classes and the menu includes Celebration Oysters, Sweet Corn Soup, SuDan Lamb Stew with Glazed Turnips and Pearl Onions, Fried Green Tomatoes with Fresh Corn Salsa, Green and Yellow Pole Beans Provencal, Blackberries with Rose Geranium and Red Wine Syrup over 1-2-3-4 Cake. Soup and Stew in the same menu? You'll understand why when you taste them! You can register online at www.ingoodtaste or by calling 503-248-2015.

Are you doing something fun with food? Entertaining on a shoestring or putting together some unique tailgate meals? I want to know! Send me an email or give me a call at the addresses below.

Bon appetite - Share the food fun!

Doug Mombell's Red State Ribs - No Flavor Left Behind

This three step process is styled after the barbecued ribs served at the Pink Adobe restaurant in Santa Fe, N.M.

Step 1: Prepare ribs.

6 lbs. Baby back ribs (leave in slabs)



Garlic salt

Using thermometer heat grill to 200ºF. Lightly season front and back of ribs with salt, pepper, garlic salt. Spread tin foil on grill. Lay ribs bone-side down on foil. For best results on gas grill light outside burners only for indirect heat. Cover ribs with foil. Check temperature once per hour. Cook slowly for 3 hours.

Step 2: Prepare sauce.

In a frying pan cook 4 to 8 slices of bacon. Drain, let cool, cut into ½ inch pieces. Chop two cups onions. Cook in frying pan with 5 chopped cloves of garlic, 1 heaping tablespoon of cayenne. Cook until onions are clear and soft. Remove.

Put the bacon, onions and garlic in a crockpot set on high and then add:

24 ounces of Heinz Ketchup

1/3 cup vinegar

1/3 cup lemon juice

¼ cup white corn syrup

½ cup black molasses

½ cup Worcestershire sauce

½ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1-teaspoon cayenne

1-teaspoon chili powder

1 cup bourbon

Salt to taste

Mix thoroughly. Bring to a light boil and then reduce heat to lowest setting. Cook for 3 hours; stir occasionally.

Set aside 1 cup of pineapple juice and Liquid Smoke to add to sauce 10 minutes before application to ribs.

Step 3: Coat Ribs with Sauce and Cook

After 3 hours of cooking at low heat raise temperature to 325ºF. Open rib packet but keep ribs on foil. Add pineapple juice and Liquid Smoke to taste to sauce, and then smear warm sauce on both sides of the ribs. Cook for 30 minutes, and then apply more sauce. Continue cooking for another half hour, or until ribs are tender. Remove foil and reapply sauce. Place ribs bone-side down on grill. Light all burners, using lowest heat setting. Grill bone side until ribs begin to crisp. Do not burn sauce. Turn ribs and cook until sauce and ribs are bubbling, taking care not to burn sauce. Turn ribs one last time to bone side down. Reapply sauce to top of ribs and cook until ready to serve. Cut into serving portions as small or large as you wish and serve on platter with extra sauce.

Doug Mombell, 2008 winner of Marylcreek Drive's Not Your Normal Rib Cook-off

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-635-8811 or by e-mail at [email protected] .

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