“I was one of those kids who got his head bumped by my mother’s elbow a lot because I was always in the kitchen watching her cook,” recalls Keith Verellen. All those knocks grounded Keith in the art of comfort food, a basis he built on when he went on to expand his repertoire at various restaurants from Florida to Northern Michigan. While a part of that training was with the North’s legendary fine dining establishment Tapawingo, Keith’s heart is with food that brings friends and family together in a relaxed setting. Say, the ribs he pulls out of the outdoor smoker Saturday mornings at Pelican’s Nest in Bellaire, where he is manager and head chef. Our readers, who put Keith on Northern Michigan’s Top 10 List of Red Hot Best Chefs in Northern Michigan, tell us the gourmet burgers are not to be missed either.
Black Pepper Rub
- 4 tablespoons fresh ground pepper
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 racks of beef ribs
- 1 10-ounce jar of Brownwood Acres Original Kream Mustard
Mustard BBQ Sauce
- 1 10-ounce jar of Brownwood Kream Mustard
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup diced red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon of Frank’s Red Hot
- 1 tablespoon butter
Mix all rub ingredients in a bowl. Coat beef ribs thoroughly with Brownwood Kream Mustard. Then coat generously with the black pepper rub. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator.
Smoke the ribs at 250 degrees for three to four hours using sugar maple wood. You can also substitute hickory or mesquite. When the internal temperature of the ribs reaches 165 degrees remove them from the smoker and wrap tightly with plastic wrap (make sure they are sealed tightly). Turn smoker down to 200 degrees and cook the ribs for another two-and-a-half to three hours or until tender. Let ribs stand for 20 to 30 minutes and serve with Mustard BBQ sauce.
Mustard BBQ Sauce
Mix all mustard BBQ sauce ingredients except butter in a saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat, add butter to thicken. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.