By Mr. Derek Gean (Leonard Wood)August 10, 2017
When it comes to smoked meats and festive potluck parties, the Smiths are a "go-to" couple on Fort Leonard Wood.
Sgt. 1st Class John Smith, Warrior Tower Complex noncommissioned officer in charge, senior instructor, is known for his skill at making "fall-off-the-bone" ribs and "tender" brisket, while his wife, Andrea, Public Affairs Office, administrative support technician, is always making treats for her coworkers and setting up pot-luck lunches.
The Smith duo serves as this month's inaugural GUIDON "Foodies of the Fort."
On Aug. 2, John smoked some ribs in the shadow of the Warrior Tower, while Andrea prepared some side dishes.
"I started smoking these ribs around 7 a.m.," John said as he prepared for an 11:30 a.m. lunch with coworkers. He said he learned his secrets from an uncle who owned a barbecue restaurant.
With Andrea working with John, the pair have been known to come up with "great" smorgasbords of treats.
The following is Q and A with the Smiths.
Q. There is no doubt you have a love for cooking, do you consider yourself a foodie? How so?
John: I don't know if I would consider myself a foodie. My wife and I love to cook together and try new recipes. Usually, I am the one who smokes meat and she is in charge of the sides and desserts.
Andrea: I consider myself a foodie because I have a love for food. When I bake, it brings joy to others and sometimes it is the love that goes into making the food that means the most.
Q. What is your specialty dish?
John: My specialty dish is smoked brisket, ribs, and pulled pork. I am best known for my ribs, though.
Andrea: I am known for my baking. I love to bake almost anything from scratch. I am known for cupcakes, cakes, and my cinnamon rolls.
Q. Why do you think your coworkers call on you when it's time to have a party?
John: My coworkers think of me if they are craving smoked meat. Most say my ribs and brisket are the best they've ever had. So, if they want something smoked, they call me up.
Q. How did you acquire your love of cooking?
John: I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my mom growing up. She taught me most of what I know today. I enjoy it because it brings friends and Family together. Sometimes the company that comes with the food makes it better.
Andrea: I grew up learning how to bake and cook from everyone in my Family. Holidays were always spent in the kitchen preparing food. To this day, autumn is my favorite season, because I relate baking with apples, ciders, and pumpkin pie to my grandmother.
Q. Do you and your spouse work as a team in the kitchen? Is there anything you like to cook together?
John: We absolutely do. We have a rhythm and know how to share counter space (sometimes). Communication is most important.
Step 1: Coat the ribs in the Family secret dry rub. Step 2: smoke at 225 to 230 degrees for two hours with apple wood. Step 3: Coat ribs generously with brown sugar and wrap in foil. Step 4: Place back in smoker for 2 to 3 hours. Step 5: Slice and serve after a 20-minute rest.
Andrea's cinnamon rolls
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup milk warm (115 degrees)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter (softened)
1 teaspoon salt
5-6 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar packed
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine (softened)
Cream cheese icing:
1/2 cup margarine or butter (softened) -- I use margarine
1-2 cups powder sugar (depending on how sweet you want your icing)
1/4 cup cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dissolve the warm milk and sugar in large bowl. Add yeast and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Allow mixture to develop. Add butter, salt, eggs, and flour to the bowl of a mixer and mix until smooth. Pour the milk/yeast/sugar mixture in the bowl. Using a dough hook, mix well until well incorporated. Cover the dough in bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Roll the dough out on a floured surface, until it is approximately 17 inches long by 13 inches wide and 1/4 inch thick. (Dough will be very soft, make sure you use butter or any non-stick spray on your hands to keep the dough from sticking) Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
To make filling, mix brown sugar and cinnamon. Spread softened margarine over rolled dough. Sprinkle the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture evenly over the surface of the dough. Roll the dough down to the bottom edge. Cut the roll into 2 inch slices using a knife or a piece of string. Place the cut rolls in the prepared pan. Cover and let them rise again for another 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a very light brown. While the rolls are in the oven, beat margarine and softened cream cheese in a mixer. Add vanilla and powder sugar. Mix on high until icing is smooth. Add more powdered sugar as desired. When rolls are out of the oven, spread icing over the top.
(Editor's note: "Foodies of the Fort" highlights some of the "best" cooks around the Fort Leonard Wood community. If you would like to nominate someone, email their name, Fort Leonard Wood affiliation, and why you think they would be a good choice, to firstname.lastname@example.org).