“Cooking” with the Tax Guy
By Mark Batchek
Ok, first and foremost this is not an essay on how to “cook” your books for the best tax benefit available under the new tax law. This is a pleasure read about one of my passions. Now that we have that clear, one might say “Great, I might as well read a passage on how to plan the perfect wedding,” written by a plumber; however, I hope that is not the case. Before I entered my 20+ year career in the tax world, I spent a long time in kitchens across the Southeast, finishing up my culinary career in Atlanta, Georgia. I learned so much throughout those years, and cooking is now one of my favorite ways to pass time on my off hours.
From January to April every year, I spend most of my time at a desk and behind a computer following tax law and forms. After the tax deadline passes, you can find me at the stove or behind the grill, no laws to follow, with open imagination and creativity in blending tastes and textures. I do not have a specialty, as I can cook anything from a simple breakfast to a 5-course feast. I have 3 children that have become quite spoiled, but at the same time they have developed fine palettes at their ripe young ages of 13,13, and 16 years old. Some of their favorite dishes are; “Dad’s Oyster Rockefeller,” Louisiana Barbequed Shrimp, Parmesan Crusted Sea Scallops, Lightly Blackened Halibut with a Cajun Cream Sauce and Rubbed and Barbequed Baby Back Ribs. Do I have your mouth watering yet? Mine is….
My favorite style of cooking is what I like to call “Empty the Cupboards.” It is basically saying “let’s see what I have and create the best tasting thing I can by using my imagination.” As you can probably tell, I enjoy adlibbing, not following recipes, and just creating as I go. Cooking is a great stress relief for me, and after spending long hours following tax law and regulations, I can open up and prepare a delicious meal for all to enjoy.
I will leave you with a recipe for ribs that will have you questioning if you will ever order them off of a restaurant menu again. I promise.
Ingredients: 2 racks of Baby back or St. Louis cut pork ribs, Rib Rub, your favorite BBQ sauce.
For the rub, combine ½ cup brown sugar, 4 tsp. kosher salt, 4 tsp. black pepper, 4 tsp. smoked paprika, 2 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. onion powder, 2 tsp. dry mustard, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. celery salt, ½ tsp. cayenne pepper. You may add any other spices that you may like as well.
Directions: Pat ribs dry and place on a long sheet of heavy aluminum foil (enough to wrap entire rack of ribs). Prick the ribs with a knife between each bone on the back side of the ribs. Generously rub both sides of the ribs with the dry rub mentioned above and wrap the ribs, forming 2 individual packets. I like to complete this step the night before and store in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove ribs from refrigerator and let stand for about an hour. Place rib packets (bone side down) on a sheet pan and bake at 275 degrees for 2 to 2 ½ hours or 300 degrees 1 ½ to 2 hours.
Remove from oven, cover the racks of ribs with your favorite BBQ sauce, and finish on a hot grill for just a few minutes each side to caramelize the BBQ sauce. You can do this under the broiler in the oven if you prefer.
The ribs will fall off the bone. They are delicious and I hope you enjoy!