Thursday, October 30, 2008

Minnesota Barbecue

Well, I am back from my trip to Minnesota. I started out in Duluth, where I spent a night, and then headed up to International Falls to visit my old friends Bruce and Donna. I have known them since grade school, so that is going way back. Another friend, Chris, who is Donna's cousin also came up to stay a few days. I have known him since grade school as well. Now that is going way back.

Sadly though, I never got around to taking any pictures. I don't know what I was thinking. Really should have too. Especially the one where Bruce and I made a venison shank and squirrel stew. Now Bruce already had the venison shanks and squirrels in his freezer so we didn't have to actually go out and kill them ourselves. I know, Sarah Palin would say we were wusses.

After spending about a week in International Falls I drove to Ely where another couple of friends of mine, Jon and Ruthie have a lovely house on Wolf Lake. I did manage to get a few pictures here when we went into town and had a few beers in a new brew pub, BoatHouse.

The BoatHouse in Ely

Ely is a pretty small town up in Northern Minnesota and fell on some hard times when the iron mines started shutting down some time ago. It has reinvented itself as a bit of a tourist town now due to its proximity to the Boundary Waters, a large chain of lakes that are prized for canoeing, fishing, and camping. One of the benefits is neat bars and restaurants like BoatHouse.

And it is a real brew pub too. They make their beers right on the premises.

The Brewery

They have the ability to brew up to, and I think this is right, twelve different beers. Currently they are just brewing two. This is primarily due to the fact that they a relatively new operation and are just ramping up and it is getting to be winter when both beer drinking and tourism tends to drop.

Well that didn't stop us from enjoying a few of what they did have to offer.

The Mysterious Chinese Woman And Ruthie Conversing

Jon And Bar Man Drinking

The following morning I headed down to Minneapolis where I was going stay with my friends Rico and Sandy. I told Jon and Ruthie that I thought Rico would be barbecuing ribs for me because he knows that I really like them. And I was right.

Slaving Over The Grill

As you can see, grilling in the dark requires special equipment. Rico is in the last stage of his preparation. First he puts a rub on them and then smokes them for several hours. Next he puts them in an oven and finishes the cooking at a low heat. Finally he applies some of the barbecue sauce his wife, Sandy, makes and crisps them up over the grill. Believe me, they are truly delicious. Bar Man likes to smoke and grill too, but even I have to admit Rico's ribs are truly inspired. In fact, he recently won second place in a rib contest sponsored by an American Legion. I wonder what the first place ribs tasted like.

I was wondering why Rico was wearing a Hawaiian style shirt on a relatively chilly day. When I went down to his basement bar I saw why. He was selling them for $20 apiece. Well, not really. He actually gave both me and our friend, Jerry, one for free.

Three Amigos, Rico, Jerry, And Bar Man

Jerry and his wife Pat are also old friends of mine and Rico and Sandy had invited them over for the barbecue feast. We all settled down to a truly delicious meal and a rollicking good time.

The Whole Crew Chowing Down

The next day included a breakfast in a Bloody Mary, bingo, and a meat raffle. More on that in my next posting.