Come February 21-24 thousands of food lovers will flock to the South Beach Food & Wine Festival for four days of unmitigated foodie bliss. There will be hard-core food connoisseurs travelling from Jamaica, of course as well as many Florida-based yardies working behind the scenes.
The event's closing party will see the launch of Ziggy Marley's Coco'Mon Organic Coconut Oil, with Food Network star Guy Fieri hosting the evening.
Several Jamaican top chefs have also been invited to showcase their signature dishes. Guilt Trip's Colin Hylton, Miss T's Kitchen's Anna-Kay Tomlinson and G's BBQ's Gariel Ferguson will serve up their authentic island bites.
Ferguson's SOBE jaunt will be kind of a homecoming for the entrepreneurial chef who grew up in Miami. He learnt on the job, beginning in his family's bakery, and from the age of 14 was telling his friends that he would return to Jamaica and open a 'Tony Romas'-type establishment. His Rib Cage venture and now G's BBQ are real-life manifestations of that schoolboy dream realised.
We paid a lunchtime visit to Gariel's newest venture G's BBQ in the Marketplace to get more details. We also sample some of his menu favourites, including his famous baby back ribs - which he actually taught his processor to butcher as a custom cut. The pulled pork sandwich is lusciously appointed with G's morish sauce. Who doesn't love a food spot with the slogan "hugged by smoke - kissed by fire"?
He shared with us that his South Beach dish will be his famous pig in a box with pickled onions and hardough bread.
The comfy spot by Gariel and his wife Gillian has something for everyone, with chicken and a lovely fish on a plank option. Home-made sides like cornbread, baked beans and mac with goat cheese, show the dedication to pleasing patrons' palates. As do his wife's pastries, including, crispy bread pudding with salt caramel and Bailey's Cream Sauce.
BBQ baby back ribs
3 pcs 11/2-2lb slabs of baby back ribs
6 garlic cloves
1/4 cup peeled and sliced ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup dry sherry or sweet vermouth
2 tsp pimento berries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp liquid smoke (optional if not cooking in a smoker)
For BBQ glaze
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion minced
2 medium cloves garlic
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs dry mustard
1 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs paprika
1tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350F. With tip of paring knife, loosen membrane on underside of each rack of ribs. Grab membrane with paper towel and pull off slowly in a single piece. Rub ribs with salt and pepper. Combine remaining ingredients in large roasting pan and add ribs, turning to coat both sides, and arrange meaty side down. Cover pan tightly with foil and cook until just tender, 21/2 to 3 hours. Transfer ribs to large plate.
Turn oven to broil. Fit roasting pan with a flat roasting rack and add water to cover the bottom of the pan. Place ribs meat side down and brush with glaze. Return roasting pan to oven (do not adjust rack) and broil until it begins to brown, 2-4 minutes. Flip and glaze the meaty side, applying the glaze every 2-3 minutes until nicely browned with bits of charring all over. Cut between bones and serve with additional glaze.
For glaze: Sauté garlic and onions until tender 4-5 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients except ketchup. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and add ketchup. Cook, stirring occasionally until reduced and thickened approximately 20-30 mins.
Gari's oven-roasted suckling pig
Keep in mind that the term suckling pig means different things to different people. A true suckling pig is still nursing and their primary diet is milk. They should be from around 9 to 20 pounds.
1 suckling pig 20lb
1/4 cup kosher salt (to sprinkle on pig after seasoning)
1/2 gallon spring water
4 heads of garlic
1/2 cup chopped ginger
3 tbs pimento
2 cup scallion chopped
1/2 cup chopped thyme (woody stalk cut off)
1 small green Scotch bonnet pepper
Rinse pig and dry skin, combine all marinade ingredients except kosher salt in a blender (you can do in batches), and blend until liquefied. Place pig in a large container pour over marinade and rub in generously. Marinade can also be injected (make sure to strain properly). Wet the skin with some of the marinade and sprinkle kosher salt all over the skin. Cover container or place in a plastic bag and allow pig to marinate for 12 hours or preferably overnight in the refrigerator with salted skin side facing up.
Remove pig from the refrigerator and allow it to come up to room temperature or 70F when a thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the leg, this promotes even cooking and a crispy skin. Place pig on a roasting rack, brush off excess salt, and wrap ears and tail with foil wrap to avoid burning. Heat oven to 350F and roast pig for 15 mins per pound until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the leg reads 170 to 180F. If the pig is getting too dark before fully cooked, place a loose foil tent over it to slow down the browning (don't wrap tight). When done, allow pig to rest for 20-30 minutes to allow juices to redistribute before carving (carving any large cut of meat too hot will squeeze out all the natural cooking juices).
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