Naperville Eats: Sibling rivalry takes to the kitchen
By Judy Buchenot For The Sun February 13, 2013 6:44PM
Kevin Braner grates fresh ginger root for a marinade for a family flank steak recipe. | Judy Buchenot~For The Sun
3 racks of quality baby back ribs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
Favorite barbecue sauce
Skin ribs and cut each slab in half. Mix remaining ingredients and press evenly onto ribs. Wrap each section in heavy duty foil and refrigerate 12 hours or overnight. When time to prepare, bake rib packets at 300 degrees for two hours. After baking, carefully poke a hole into foil and drain. Allow ribs to sit for at least 15 minutes or longer inside a towel lined cooler. When charcoal grill is ready, spread with favorite barbecue sauce and grill 10 minutes each side.
Braner Family Tailgating Flank Rib Steak
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound flank steak
Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Place flank steak in a plastic zipper bag and pour mixture over steak. Refrigerate overnight. When ready to grill, remove steak from marinade and grill over hot coals. Let meat rest 10 minutes before slicing across the grain.
Updated: March 16, 2013 6:17AM
Matthew and Kevin Braner don’t watch much television because they have busy schedules.
Kevin, a Meadow Glens Elementary fifth-grader, serves as the goalie for his Naperville Sabres hockey team and plays tenor saxophone and clarinet. Matthew, a Kennedy Junior High seventh-grader, is involved in golf, plays alto saxophone and recently joined the Civil Air Patrol. But when they have a little free time, the brothers tune into the latest sports events as well as their favorite cooking shows.
The television chefs have inspired the brothers to take to the kitchen to strengthen their own culinary skills.
A while ago when their parents were out, the brothers were delighted when their babysitter proposed holding a “chopped contest,” a cooking competition where the contestants are challenged to make a dish using an unusual variety of ingredients.
“The babysitter hid the ingredients in our two ottomans,” Matthew says.
The boys each opened the hinged lids on the ottomans to find granola bars, bananas and a few other food items. Then Matthew and Kevin had to each create a dessert using the items. There was even a “culinary curveball,” referring to a special instruction complicating the contest. The curve ball for Matthew and Kevin was a requirement to use a zester on one ingredient in their dessert.
Kevin and Matthew have been able to combine their love of sports and cooking by preparing dishes for their family tailgating parties.
“We are big Chicago Bears fans,” Kevin says. “Whenever we can, we go to home games and tailgate with friends. My dad packs the back of the van to the brim with all the gear we need. We leave around 8 in the morning and try to get to the Waldron Deck. Then we park, unload and start cooking.”
Ribs, their traditional tailgate standard, need to be started the day before the game notes Matthew. The rub is mixed and applied to good quality ribs at least 12 hours before cooking them. The ribs are then wrapped in foil and refrigerated. On the morning of game day, the ribs go into the oven for at least two hours. After cooking at a low temperature, “we poke a hole to let the juice come out,” Matthew says. The ribs are then placed in a cooler lined with towels so they stay warm. The final grilling happens in the parking lot.
Kevin’s flank steak also requires advance preparation.
“We mix all of the ingredients the day before and then pour it over the meat,” Kevin says.
The steaks stay in the marinade until the family gets to the parking lot and the coals are hot.
“My dad likes to run the grill, but he lets us take turns,” Matthew says. “It’s a big charcoal grill. When everything is cooked right, it is really tender and good.”
Both boys like to experiment with cooking and baking.
“I make everything — my mom’s banana bread, spaghetti and meatballs — it’s something our whole family does together,” Matthew explains.
A while ago when their mom was having a difficult day, the brothers teamed up with their dad to cook dinner for her as a surprise. Matthew found a recipe for a pork tenderloin rub on the Internet, and Kevin came up with a colorful lettuce and vegetable salad.
“I didn’t expect the meal to be good, but it was really, really good,” admits mom Cathy Braner. “I am amazed at how well they do in the kitchen.”
Tailgating is over for this season, but soon it will be time for backyard barbecues. Kevin and Matthew share their tailgating recipes, which are delicious any time of year.