By Chef James Briscione


I’m not going to insult you with another basic ‘how to grill’ post. I won’t bore you with talk about how to set up your fire so that one side of the grill is hotter than the other so you can sear foods and cook larger, denser cuts at the same time. I won’t waste your time reminding that 30 to 60 minutes before cooking you should remove meats from the refrigerator and season them. And I’ll certainly not rattle on about patting meats dry before you cook them, then brushing them with oil and seasoning again with salt and pepper immediately before they hit the grill.

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

You already knew all of that, right? That stuff is for amateurs, and you’re serious griller who’s ready to take this weekend’s cookout to the next level. So let’s talk ribs. The secret to the best ribs ever to come off your grill is… your oven! Slow roasting your ribs in the oven before finishing them on the grill is the best method we’ve found for juicy, falling from the bone ribs that don’t require an expensive smoker or low temperature grilling set up.


First, remove the membrane from the bone side of the ribs. This tough sheet of connective tissue can not only leave your ribs chewy, but also prevents the meat from absorbing the seasoning and spice of the rub.

rib trio


Now, about that rub. We’ve been through many different formulations here and have settled on the below recipe. Smoked salt and paprika enhance the finished the flavor of the finished meat, but you could use regular salt and paprika if necessary. The sugar in the rub is crucial. Think of it like micro-brine; the sugar works with the salt to help retain more moisture. The bottom line: sugar in the rub makes your ribs juicier.

  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper 


To prep the ribs for the first stage of cooking (in the oven), lay them over a large sheet of aluminum foil, fold up the sides and pour in 1.5 fl oz (3 tablespoons) of cider vinegar. Then seal the foil, leaving enough room for the packet to fill with steam as it cooks. The vinegar helps tenderize the meat, while keeping it moist. Cook in a 325˚F oven until the meat is tender, about 90 minutes.

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Remove the ribs from the oven, open the foil and allow the meat to cool. Baste the meat occasionally with the juices collected in the foil as it cools. Cut the ribs into potions and reheat on the grill, brushing with BBQ Sauce as they cook.

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Photo Credit:



Hot off her feature in The New York Times, Chef Vicki Caparulo, taught a refreshing summer class last week called Light, Quick and Easy Summer Pastas. She highlighted recipes that you can serve hot or cold and often make ahead of time, which is a perfect time saving option if you are looking for a quick dinner or good picnic options.

Chef Vicki noted that offering pasta as a primi appetizer can often take the pressure off a dinner party host since one pound can serve 16 people. Follow it with grilled fish and a salad and you’ve got an easy, no-stress summer menu!

Below is a recipe from her class that was a crowd favorite.

Penne with Arugula and Prosciutto
Yields: serves 4

1 pound penne rigate (ridged)
¼ pound thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 pound baby arugula
2/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
¾ teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Bring a large post of cold water to a boil for pasta.

When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. When the water returns to a boil, cook the pasta until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta.

Return the pasta to the pot, add the prosciutto, arugula, cheese, zest, and salt and pepper to taste and toss. Drizzle the oil over the pasta and toss again, adding some of reserved cooking water if pasta seems dry.

Serve immediately.

With summer officially here, many people are stocking their fridge with chilled white wines and seasonal, refreshing beers. It has long been a ritual to switch from red to white during this time of year but a recent article from The New York Times highlights ways to take your red wine with you year round.

According to the editor Eric Asimov, “most wine drinkers reach reflexively at Memorial Day for whites, as if they’re the equivalent of white belts and shoes: enjoyed for the summer and stowed after Labor Day. I hate to say it, but that thinking is as dated as instant coffee; sure, you’ll have something in your glass, but why deprive yourself of so much pleasure?”

While a good white wine is always refreshing, you can always chill your red wines to give them a summer feel or perhaps integrate into cocktail.

For more exciting talk about summer drinks, see below for our upcoming recreational classes at ICE:

6/11 – Tasting Like a Master
6/22 – Evening of Champagne
6/25 – Everything’s Coming Up Rose
7/20 – Wine cocktails
7/28 – Great Rieslings
8/3 – Summer Beer Tasting

Bottoms up!

Couples cooking classes are always a big seller in ICE’s Recreational Cooking department, so it was only natural that cookbook author and ICE alumna Sarah Copeland created and taught a newlywed class. Earlier this year Sarah published her first book, The Newlywed Cookbook, a colorful and locavore recipe-filled guide encouraging couples to cook together.  But you don’t have to be recently married to enjoy the book’s seasonal recipes and vibrant photographs! I brought my fiancé Luke along (yes, I know, we aren’t newlyweds yet) for a Sunday supper at ICE last week.

While we followed a menu based on recipes from her cookbook, Sarah emphasized the importance of good quality ingredients. We washed and prepared baby arugula, parsley and chervil for a Window Box Green Salad and Sarah passed around a favorite extra virgin olive oil for tasting that we used in a classic vinaigrette.  Luke and I channeled our Italian grandmother as we prepared potato-Parmesan dough and gave our best shot at rolling gnocchi. We found that making those little pillows are a task best done with a partner, as it cuts your prep time in half and leaves more time for eating! We tossed the finished gnocchi in an herb butter sauce with fresh, haricots verts and wax beans.  To complete our dinner, Sarah swapped out basil for the citrus-like herb sorrel, which she used in a hand-chopped pesto that we served over seared arctic char with sorrel pesto.


As summer continues to heat up, we thought that a cool strawberry salad recipe from the ICE Culinary Arts curriculum would be the perfect way to savor the season. Balsamic vinegar mixes with fresh strawberries to come together in a tangy, sweet sensation — certain to please and tantalize taste buds! But best of all, the prep is quick and easy, so you can pop it in the fridge and get back to your summer fun.

1 quart strawberries
2 ounces granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Thin chiffonnade of 3 sprigs mint, basil or tarragon More…

We make our living behind the stove. Day-in, day-out chefs sweat it out in the kitchen, ensuring that others are well-fed and having a great time at the table. So you would think that on their day off chefs would stay far away from the kitchen and the thought of cooking. After all, how many surgeons do you know that operate in their spare time?

Give a chef a day out of the kitchen and he (or she) will be thrilled. He’ll happily let someone else cook for him — even if that means grilled cheese sandwiches with a side of potato chips (but only if they’re kettle cooked). But give a chef a week off and you’re bound to find him back in the kitchen after 24 hours. And so goes my story with a week in Watercolor, FL just down the road from my hometown, Pensacola. A big beach house with the entire family, means lots of time to cook and plenty of willing mouths to eat. More…