Monday, January 16, 2012

MasterChef Tryouts Submission and Cast Iron Therapy Original Recipe: The Winston.


Yesterday I promised that my next post would be something to knock your socks off. Well here it is, my latest original recipe, the Winston. I’m not going to say this is a quick thing to do, and there’s a few different recipes involved in the making of this.

I’ll just lay out what the Winston is before I get too far into storytelling mode.

It’s an open faced sandwich with a buttered and grilled French roll, slathered with an aioli, which is topped with slices of grilled country style rib glazed with root beer barbecue sauce, slather with even more root beer barbecue sauce, and top all that with a generous pile of light and tangy honey mustard barbecue sauce.

What brought about the Winston? It was actually the dish I came up with to serve to the professional taster for the MasterChef casting call a few months back. While I haven’t been selected to be on the show (at least I don’t think so!) I can state this one awesome fact.

The taster went for seconds. Not trying to brag too much, but he didn’t do that for anyone else on my row! Ok, maybe I’m bragging just a little bit. But there you have it, not just from my opinion, or even my friends’ opinions, but also the actions of a professional taster.

Why the Winston? I wanted to showcase the ribs which has been a friend favorite, but in a way that mitigates the lack of impact of it coming straight off the grill, and I didn’t really trust the tasters to completely remove the last of good temperature from their calculations of how good a dish is. An open faced sandwich sounded like a good idea to me, and was met with hearty approval from my chums on Google+. I’d say the results show that their faith was not ill placed!

For those of you who are curious about the MasterChef tryout process, here’s a handy picture to get you started. This laminated piece of paper highlights what all the preparation, hard work and waiting comes down to in the end.

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Anyway, a quick recap of what goes on at the MasterChef tryout for the curious.
  • Bring a dish, they claim they won’t judge temperature so don’t worry about that.
  • Stand in line for a long while.
  • Finally make it in, have three minutes to set up your dish, try not to hyperventilate.
  • Talk with a casting person interview style, one question.
  • Explain to a taster what you made.
  • And in all likelihood, be disappointed you aren’t selected for the show while holding out a foolish hope they’ll call you soon.
  • Then go to SantaCon*

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*Only applies to San Francisco Casting Call in 2011, may not apply in other cities, seasons, or years.

I had a lot of fun there and met some really hilarious people. Hopefully I’ll see one of them on TV!

Ok, back to the food!

First you want to prep as much stuff as possible before hand if you want this as hot as possible. First the big time prep things.

Prepare some barbecue sauce.

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Make up a batch of coleslaw.

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Whisk up some homemade aioli. I follow Ruhlman’s method, replacing vegetable oil with good olive oil and add a clove or two of minced garlic midway through, once you’ve got a good emulsion going.

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Then the other easier things. Buy some soft French rolls (the kind of Vietnamese sandwiches is great) and slice them in half. Sourdough works well too. Get some butter out of the fridge while you’re at it.

Now to get to the meat of the project. It’s pretty much the same as the last recipe, except with this application go with country style ribs for easier cutting, as there’s much less bone involved, and makes for an easier piece of meat to slice into pieces for a sandwich.


As per the usual recipe (check it out here) nothing much changes. We’re seasoning some pork ribs aggressively, cooking it over low heat, wrapped in foil, on the grill for a few hours and brushing it with lots of root beer barbecue sauce and grill it a bit longer without the foil to give it a wonderfully sweet and slightly sticky coating, so that you end up with a salty, sweet and smoky piece of grilled meat.


Yeah, it’s kind of like that. Cover and rest your meat while you take care of the next step.


Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat.


Lay your sliced rolls onto the skillet, and press down with a sturdy spatula. Once you’ve got them a nice warm brown with a toasted buttered surface, flip them over, and press again to warm the bread through.


Slather your toasted bread with aioli. If a friend is terrified of mayonnaise for some unusual reason that you are too kind to judge her for, replace aioli/mayo with barbecue sauce. She will love you and say you are great and buy you nice things in the near future.


Slice your rested ribs up and layer generously on the rolls.


Brush on some more of that good barbecue sauce.


And finally, top it with the coleslaw.

Bask in compliments, and enjoy. While it might not get you onto a reality TV show (you need a reality TV show personality for that) it’s still a delicious dish that will impress!

Next time, be prepared for something completely different.


Guidelines and assembly:


  1. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium to medium high heat.
  2. Toast bread halves in the skillet, cut side down, adjusting heat as necessary to get a nice toasted texture, pressing down with spatula.
  3. Flip over rolls, press down to heat through, then remove to plate.
  4. Spread bread with aioli.
  5. Top with slices of ribs.
  6. Slather with ribs with more barbecue sauce.
  7. Top with generous scoop of coleslaw to cover sandwich.


  1. I'm curious on the cooking time for the country style ribs (I looked at the Root Beer BBQ Ribs entry, but those were regular ribs). We've successfully grilled ribs before, but country ribs are definitely more meaty. Do you have to change the cook time a lot to keep them from drying out?

    1. Hey, thanks for reading! I pretty much treated the country style ribs the same as the regular ribs. What it lacks in bone, it makes up for in fat, so you're not at a big risk of having your meat dry out so long as you exercise good temperature control and use indirect heat. In the odd case that you somehow have some fairly lean country style ribs, wrap them with foil tightly and you should be fine.

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