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Tex Mex BBQ Spare Rib sauce

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have a fellow Army Vet Friend with Huntington's, as well as Agent Orange effects, we believe, who is in a nursing home now.

He is a Mexican born and raised in TX. now in a Michigan nursing home.  Because of my wanting to please him with a taste of home,  I've have had to learn how to make some Authentic Mexican food, that I take to him from time to time.  He really appreciates the good stuff, as compared to the food served at the home.


I love & respect Ricky Negron as my brother-in-arms!  I want to give him all the comfort I can before he dies.

Dying is the "only" result of Huntington's.  I'm going to grieve greatly when he passes on.  He has made such an impact on me.


I've learned how to make Red Enchilada sauce without any tomato in it.  Real refried beans, enchilada and true Mexican Rice.

I wish I knew more recipes for him.  But he does LOVE my meatloaf.  You just can't get good meatloaf around here" he says.   LOL


But now, I want to take him some of my smoked food too.  I was wondering about using my roux based red sauce without any tomato, as a starting point for a sauce for a rib sauce.  It would only be a base and I would add other things to it.  But am wondering if the flour would burn or change taste in the smoker. (CGSP)  Or should I just add some Cumin to another sauce recipe?  He loves the Cumin taste in things.


Any experience of yours with a roux based sauce,  or ideas about whether or not to use roux, that you can share with me is greatly appreciated!


Thank you,



If anyone wants that Complete Enchilada Dinner recipe that Ricky loves so much, let me know.  I'll be glad to post the recipe.

None of it is smoked in the recipe, but now that I have a smoker, that may change.  lol

post #2 of 13

First of all a sincere Thank You for honoring one of America's Heros in this way. You're da man!

Second, I'd like the Mexican recipes.

Third, I think of my WSM as a charcoal fired oven. I can cook anything that requires 350* or below in it. If I need more than 350* I go indirect on the Kettle. Direct on the Kettle is like the stove. Therefore, I think I can cook anything outside that can be cooked inside. I say go for it.
post #3 of 13

Nice of you to honor a friend. I'm sure it means the world to him.

As for sauce, a couple things. First, all the Tex-Mex ribs I've had have been smoked/grilled with a fairly heavy rub but no sauce. Then served with what seemed like a BBQ sauce based on red chile sauce. If you wanted to sauce them during the cooking process, I'd use the enchilada sauce you already know how to make and add cumin, ground dried chiles and raw brown sugar if you can find it. (Not turbinado, but the little cones of brown sugar that you have to grind to use). That should get you in the ball park.

As for a roux thickened sauce, I'd be wary of using one if you're going to baste with it during the cooking process. You might end up with a pasty, charred mess.

What I'd do, since I don't really know how to make any genuine Tex-Mex sauces, is get a jar of Renfro's hot green salsa, a jar of enchilada sauce and a small can of Chipotles in Adobo. Then I'd dump them all in my food processor with a tablespoon of ground toasted cumin seeds, a tablespoon of chili powder, the juice and zest of a lime and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Mix that all up and you should have a dark, smoky sauce with a good bit of heat and a ton of flavor.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you, and thanks for the replies.  But I am not "Da Man".  Just a friend & brother.  Period.


Now that I've thought more about it, there must be a reason I've never seen a recipe using a roux thickener for BBQing.


So I will stick with tried and true.  Use the flavors I want and reduce down to thickness I like.  Last thing I want to do is spend hours only to get a pasty nasty que.  Ick!


I don't like a lot of sauce on my BBQ anyway.  When I do use some, like today, I barely brush it on.  It's just for flavor.  I don't need it wet enough to help me swallow.  LOL


Bama, I will find that recipe and post it in recipes forum soon.


Added Edit

I couldn't find an appropriate recipe forum to fit this into, so I'll just post it here for you.

Edited by fpmich - 10/5/13 at 3:10am
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Complete Enchilada Dinner (Yields 6 dinners)



Refried Beans from scratch (Yield: 6-7 cups)
First the soup
1 lb. Dry Pinto, or Black Beans
1 tsp. Marjoram or Oregano
2 tsp. Black Pepper
2 tsp. Salt, added during last 1/2 hour of cooking soup

Sort & remove debris. Place in pan of water, swish to rinse, and remove any floating beans. Drain water, & refill to 3X level of the beans. Soak overnight. Rinse beans next day & add water to about 1" above beans & bring to simmer in heavy pot (Dutch oven), Cover bring to boil on high heat.Put in pot 275* F oven for 1 ½ to 2 hours, You can cook in crock pot on high for about 3-5 hours. Check water level either method, to keep beans just barely covered while cooking. Test Beans. Squeeze 3-4 beans from different areas. If all are soft & tender, they’re done. If even just one is a little hard, cook longer.

Needed for 1 lb of cooked beans.
4-6 Tbsp. Bacon Grease
2 Tbsp. Real Butter (‘Not’ Margarine)

Refried part is best done in smaller batches. (Just divide beans, grease & butter amounts)
Heat bacon grease in heavy pan on med high, until quite hot, but not smoking. Ladle beans into pan with juice keeping juice below top of beans. Bring to low boil & using a fork or potato masher, mash beans half way, leaving chunks & some whole beans. Reduce heat to low & stir to prevent scorching. Add bean broth if too thick, or more drained beans if too thin. Cook until slightly thinner than you prefer. They’ll thicken on plate. Stir in butter at end, & serve. Freeze any leftover bean soup for next time.


Mexican Rice (Yield: 4 ½ -5 cups )
1 cube. Chicken Bouillon
1 tsp. Paprika, smoked, or regular
½ tsp. Chili Powder
½ tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes*Optional*
½ tsp. Dried Cilantro *Optional*
---End Spices---
Put spices and bullion cube Spices in small bowl.

2 ½ Tbsp. Butter
1 sm. Onion, diced
1 clove. Garlic, diced small
1 ½ cups. Rice, dry, uncooked

In heavy skillet over med, to med high, melt butter well and add onions and garlic and dry rice. Stirring constantly for 5 to 10 minutes, toasting rice until tan or light brown.

Add all spices plus,
1 ½ cups. Diced Tomatoes, or salsa, drained
1 ½ cups. Tomato juice or water combined and stir it well.

Bring back to simmer, then turn down heat to "very low". Cover, and let low simmer undisturbed 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat, leaving it covered, and let stand at least 10 minutes or more. Then uncover, and gently with fluff with chopsticks, skewers, or meat fork, before serving.
Do not scrape bottom if stuck!
Freezes well.

Enchiladas (Yields 6)

Meat Filling:

1 tsp. Black Pepper
¾ tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika, hot or mild
½ tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Cilantro *Optional*
---End Spices---
Combine Spices in small bowl.

1 lb. Lean Ground Beef (85/15 or 90/10)
1 lg. Onion, diced medium
2-3 cloves. Garlic, diced fine
8 oz. Green Chilies, drained, mild or hot
2 cubes. Beef Bouillon

Dice onion & garlic while browning meat.
Brown & break up meat in skillet on med high heat until pink is gone and water evaporates mostly. Drain off excess grease, if any. Add onions, garlic, chilies, beef bouillon, and spices. Cook and stir occasionally until most of the moisture is gone, but not too dry. Remove to bowl until assembly.

Mexican Red Sauce:
1 tsp. Smoked Paprika, hot or mild
1 tsp. Chili Powder
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Black Pepper
½ tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
1 tsp. Dried Cilantro *Optional*
---End spices---
Combine Spices in small bowl.

2 Tbsp. Bacon Grease
½ stick. Butter (¼ cup)
¼ cup. Flour
3 cubes. Beef Bouillon
2 ¼ cups. Water +/-

Over med. high heat, in same skillet meat was cooked in, melt grease & butter until foam settles a bit. Add spices, bouillon, & stir 1 min. Sprinkle in flour, stirring quickly and constantly for 3-4 min. After 3-4 minutes of cooking the flour, add the water, a little at a time, & whisk constantly, 4-5 minutes to remove any lumps. Cover & simmer on low for 5-6 minutes. Then uncover and continue to simmer until you have a thin, to medium thin, sauce. Will coat back of spoon well. Add water and cook a minute if too thick. Remove from heat to cool.

Assembly: Preheat oven to 350* F.

12-16 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese.
6 - 8 Lg. Tortillas

Add 4 to 6 oz. of cheese with the cooled meat in bowl & mix.
Using a large platter to work on, coat tortilla's, on both sides, or dip in sauce, to coat. Approximately 1/3 from bottom, mound & press meat about 1" high and wide, across the tortilla to within 1" of ends. Gently, but firmly, roll it up and place flap side down, in a well greased 9" or 10" wide baking dish. Continue until dish is full (about 6-8 enchiladas).   Top with remaining cheese to your liking, & spoon leftover sauce over top of that. Bake uncovered 30-35 min. @ 350* F. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving.
Freezes well, but put extra sauce on ones to be frozen. Reheat from frozen, covered, in 350* F. oven about 50-60 minutes. Remove cover for last 15 min. Or nuke on high until hot. Either way, when hot and bubbly, it’s ready!

Plate enchilada in middle of plate, with rice and beans on opposite sides. Garnish as you wish.

Shredded Lettuce. Tomato, diced. Avocado, fan sliced or diced, chopped green onion, and a dollop or two of Sour Cream, Crema, or Creme Fraiche. Salsa is a good thing too!



Change any spice, meat,  or ingredient to your liking.  I see no reason this can't be made on a grill or smoker.


Enjoy!  Ricky did!


When he saw me pull out the baking dishes from the box, and started plating it up, he said "OH YEAH!  That's what I wanted!"

post #6 of 13

Excellent.  Thanks!

post #7 of 13

I'm deeply saddened about your Brother in Arms, and only wish the best for him and you. It lightens my heart however to have you speak of him so fondly and to brighten his days with your visits and food! 


From reading the above responses, I think they gave you sound advice and your follow through plan should definitely work. 


Thank you for posting the recipes and I am going to copy them over to Beef as well. I won't move this thread, but just copy the Enchiladas post. 


Many thanks for your service and your friend's! Maybe you should name the sauce you create after him!


BTW here's the link to your Complete Enchilada Dinner 


post #8 of 13

Thanks for the recipe, I will be making this.



post #9 of 13

I'm not religious per se but.....God Bless You for what you are doing for your bud. I'm X-Army, '65 to ''68, and am sadly seeing many Vets my age pass on from complications due to where they served. The best we can ask for is to slip away peacefully in our sleep after a coupla enchiladas and a cold beer....Willie

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your help SmokinHusker. 

I thought of that forum, but the recipe had so much more than beef, that I just wasn't sure where to post it.  Guess I could have broken it up and posted it 3 different threads in side dishes, but didn't want to do that.


Don't be saddened for Ricky.  He is a honorable man, true to his beliefs, country, family and friends.  He is a joy to know!  He knows his outcome, accepted it, and still has a better sense of humor than I do.  In his mind, he didn't do anything special by volunteering for 3 tours in Vietnam back then.

Pretty much how most servicemen feel about their service.  No big deal, just doing our jobs.

And that's Ricky to a tee!  "I'm not a hero."  "I just learned to duck and survived." is his words about it.


His Huntington's has progressed so far that it is very hard to understand what he is saying.  I have to be very patient, don't prompt any words, or he gets pissed.  LOL  So I've learned to just listen, glean what I can, and ask him if I have it right.  Usually I do, but it is getting harder to do.

The sad part is that his mind is still as clear as anyone's.  It's his diseased body, that is letting him down.  Many people think folks like that are mentally off, but they aren't.


He's my Army buddy, even tho' we didn't serve together, and  I only met him a few years ago.

I think Ricky only likes me because I call him Sarge, (which he hadn't heard in a while) and... because he can con me into learning how to cook, his style food.  LOL



Ricky was just a funny acting man who used to walk into the store my wife ran.  Some of the clerks were afraid of him, because he was somewhat spastic in movements, waving arms and etc. and talked a little funny at the time.  Don't label weird people too quick.


My wife came to know him a bit, and learned he was a neighbor who live about 4 miles from us.

After a year or so,  of saying "Someone should help him", ... we realized.... "we were the someone."  Many phone calls to vet agency's produced nothing.  We were it!

A burden?  Sometimes.  Sorry?  NEVER!.


Just before he got real bad and needed more assistants than he was getting from VA dept.  (What a joke they are!  At lease in this case.)  His DAV case worker told us Rick was just faking to get attention.  His DAV case worker also used to use Ricky's money as his own.  He's lucky my wife didn't kill him, when that became apparent.  Of course to the government run VA, it wasn't apparent at all, so nothing came of it.


This was when we applied for, and got, POA for Rick, and got him proper care.


The nursing home people, where he is currently at, were very quick to call him "combative", because of him waving arms around when excited or making an objection to something.  We've finally educated them, that it is just the Huntington's spasms that caused the great arm waving  and etc.   He was their 1st Huntington's patient, and they just weren't up to date on it.  Now they are much better, and understand Ricky and appreciate him.   Don't label and write off weird people too quick. 


They may just be a friend/neighbor you didn't know before.

Edited by fpmich - 10/5/13 at 3:13am
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Chef Willie View Post

I'm not religious per se but.....God Bless You for what you are doing for your bud. I'm X-Army, '65 to ''68, and am sadly seeing many Vets my age pass on from complications due to where they served. The best we can ask for is to slip away peacefully in our sleep after a coupla enchiladas and a cold beer....Willie

Salute to you Chef.


I'm also Army. I was 22 years old when I went to serve in  68 -71, but I was one of the lucky ones.  Served most of my time in the states and almost a year in Korea.  Didn't know the fear, that real war vets had coming their way.

I was fired on twice while on patrol, but dove behind rocks, and never fired a shot back.  Just hunkered down.  Didn't know where 1st shots came from.  No sense shooting randomly.  Give your self away.


But if I could've have had a clue as to where....... well...


And you're right Willie,

I too, hope to go quick and comfortable.  Don't guess we got a choice though.

Edited by fpmich - 10/4/13 at 1:59am
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

I have a link to the you tube that gave me the basic recipe and showed how to do it.  It's a very good vid.  He too, was tickled when I told him of Ricky liking his recipes.  But I don't think I'm allowed to post external links.  Kind of confused on this, cause some links are external and some aren't.  So I guess if you want the link, just PM me?

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

I didn't need to sweat the Mexican flavor versus just this goofy Caucasian guys flavor on ribs.


We went in to have dinner with Ricky tonight.  I took some already done ribs, refried beans and potato salad.  I had 1 and 1/2 racks for the three of us.  I gave him some of my ribs, and only ate 3 ribs myself, when I saw how much he was enjoying them.  He devoured them!


I asked him if I could move to Texas and survive with them, he just laughed, and said "yes".  We all enjoyed our dinner together.


And the nursing home even provided a very light and lemony cake for desert, that went well after the rib dinner.  It was the most light and fluffy cake I've ever had.  And the flavor of lemon was just right, to cut the heaviness of the rib  dinner.  Not bad for an institutional cake!  I loved it!

And I'm not a cake person usually.



Tomorrow we are taking Rick to a Harvest Dinner at the local American Legion Post near there.  He knows a few people there too.


Please say a prayer for our friend that his suffering will be minimal, throughout.


Thank you,

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