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5 Recipes for a Top Gun Meals n Movies Night
March 24, 2016
sous-vide-ribs, top gun

When it comes to certain movies, they’ll always hold a special place in your heart. Top Gun is one of those movies for me. As a kid growing-up in the 80s, Top Gun fueled numerous young boys desires to join the military and become a fighter pilot so they could be just like Maverick. I was like many other boys during that time period and dreamed of getting my pilots license, doing well academically so I could join the military and head to Top Gun school where I would be the best of the best and get the cute girl too.

Obviously none of this ever happened, except for getting a really good-looking girl, but I still get pumped up watching Top Gun to this very day. Naturally when I heard my wife had never seen Top Gun I was stunned. How in the world had she heard of Tom Cruise but never watched Top Gun?! I feel like a part of her childhood was stolen from her, or was this movie really only a guy thing?

Watching Top Gun with someone seeing it for the first time is a real eye-opener. All the classic one liners I thought were so awesome come across extremely cheesy in this classic action-romance thriller. While I enjoyed hearing some of my favorites, my wife is cracking up at how ridiculous some of the dialogue is. We rewind a few times and I hear it again and I guess she has a valid point. Some of them are pretty bad when you hear them from a different point of view. Oh well, Top Gun will always be a classic no matter how goofy the dialogue is.

Thankfully the food featured in the famous Great Balls of Fire scene never gets old since it’s from my hometown—Kansas City! I always try to find an excuse to have BBQ. Hell, I’d have it for breakfast if it was socially acceptable. This famous Top Gun scene takes place at a restaurant called Kansas City Barbeque in San Diego, CA.

This restaurant was visited by the location director on the film when he just wanted to grab a beer while scouting locations for the movie and he thought it would be a great place to shoot. He brought back the film director, Tony Scott, to check it out and the rest is history.

Although there really isn’t a lot of food in Top Gun, the scene in this restaurant makes up for it because of the food you get to pick from. Even though you don’t see a lot of actual BBQ items at the tables, Kansas City Barbeque has a website you can visit where their menu is available to look over. From here you have a wealth of wonderful food to choose from.

Food We Saw:

  • Charles Kurg @44:10
  • Kansas City BBQ restaurant @1:01:45

Like I said before there really isn’t much food throughout the film, but the restaurant menu for Kansas City Barbeque provides numerous possibilities. It’s difficult to make out what exactly is on the table while they’re in the restaurant. From what we could tell it appears there are BBQ sandwiches, onion rings, popcorn and Budweiser beer. I couldn’t see many items clearly when I watched the movie to plan the menu so I decided to revert to the restaurants online menu to make my selections—with a few of my favorites of course.

Before I get into what I made for Meals n Movie night, I need to explain the cooking technique I used for the main dish. It’s called sous-vide cooking, French for under vacuum, where your food is sealed airtight in plastic bags and submerged in water at a controlled temperature for longer than your used to with traditional methods. Temperatures are much lower than what you expect but your food is cooked evenly and properly without overcooking the outer layers which ensures moisture retention for your food.

The results are amazing and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced while cooking for myself at home. Sous-vide cooking does require additional cooking equipment I’m certain you don’t have sitting around the house. If you want to read more about sous-vide cooking, and I know you do, there’s a lot of information out there about it. If you’re interested in purchasing what we use at home to achieve amazing results you can get it from Amazon and have it in just a few days thanks to Amazon Prime.

“Tastiest Ribs I Ever Had Mav” – BBQ pork spare ribs sous-vide style



sous-vide-ribsThe steps to achieve the same results are going to take a little bit of time, so stop right now, go grab a beer or a glass of wine since you’re going to comb over this a few times to make sure you take it all in to prepare.

Since I had never cooked ribs sous-vide style before, I reached out to some experts online to gain my footing. After reviewing a couple different cooking times, 12 hours @145°F or 63°C, 24 hours @152° F or 67°C, or 36 hours @165°F or 74°C, I decided to go with the 24 hour option. I chose this option because it was said to be a little less meaty than the 36 hour cook and a little less juicer than the 12 hour cook; the best of both worlds without giving up too much.

With my overall cooking time selected, I needed to add the rub soak and cooking time together to make sure dinner would be ready on-time. Dinner was planned for 6 pm on Sunday, so everything concerning the ribs needed to start around 6 pm Friday night with cooking to start on Saturday morning at 6 am…so much for sleeping in. We have a toddler, so who do I think I’m kidding about sleeping in?!

Once you figure out cooking timetables, turn your ribs over, meaty side down, and remove the white membrane from the back of the ribs using your hands and a paper towel. Apply the rub by coating the ribs with a generous layer on all sides; shake off any excess. Place your ribs on a baking pan or large casserole dish, cover, and place them in the refrigerator for 12 hours.

After 12 hours set your precision cooker to 152°F (67°C) and remove the ribs from the refrigerator. Cut your rack of ribs into 3-4 piece sections and place them into vacuum seal bags and add four drops of liquid smoke (shake bottle before you add droplets). To achieve better sealing results, fold down the top edge of your vacuum seal bags a couple inches before placing your ribs into the bag. This way any food debris or juices is on the inside portion of the bag and not the outside surface, which will negatively effect how well the bag seals.

If you don’t own a FoodSaver you can use Ziploc bags. It takes a little bit more effort to ensure you get the air out of the bag though. Once you’ve added the ribs and liquid smoke to the bags don’t seal them shut. Instead, submerge one bag of ribs at a time into the sous-vide bath and use the water to displace the air surrounding the ribs inside the Ziploc bags. Allow the top of the Ziploc to slowly sink into the water and close the seal once you get as much air as you possibly can without burning yourself or allowing water in the bag.

Cover the pot you’re using with a lid or aluminum foil. Let ribs cook for 24 hours at 152°F (67°C). Water will evaporate, but not as quickly as you’d expect if you cover the bath. Over a four period I noticed just under half a liter had evaporated. Before I went to bed I added an additional liter to the bath to ensure there was enough water overnight.

About 15 minutes before the ribs will be done, fire up half of your grills burners and set them to medium heat. I have a Weber gas grill and there are only three burners, so I turned on two of the three leaving the middle burner off. Let the grill heat up for 10 minutes and clean of the grates with a wire brush.

Remove your ribs from the bath when cooking is complete and open the bags. Remove each section of ribs from their bags and using a paper towel gently dry them off.

Grease your grill with a little vegetable oil to prevent any sticking. Add ribs face up on the coolest portion of the grill. For me it was over the middle burner since it was off. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until ribs are heated through and dry to the touch. Apply a generous layer of sauce and move the ribs to the hotter section of the grill still face up. Cover and cook for about 7-9 minutes or until sauce is mostly dry. Add another layer of sauce. Cover and cook for 4-6 minutes or until sauce is sticky to the touch. Remove ribs from the grill and add one final layer of sauce before they arrive at the table.

“Great Balls of Fire” Onion Rings (Baked)


  • 2 large sweet onions, sliced into 1/2-inch rings
  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (don’t get Italian style like I did)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • Pan spray

Prior to baking, tenderize onions by placing the sliced rings into a large baking dish and pour 1-quart buttermilk over them. Not every onion will be submerged, which is fine. Cover and store in the refrigerator to tenderize for four hours prior to breading.

Preheat over to 425°F and remove tenderized onions from the refrigerator. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. In a large bowl combine flour, cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Take one onion at a time and remove it from the buttermilk and dip it in the egg whites. Shake off excess egg and dip it into the breadcrumb mixture and coat it evenly on all sides.

Remove breaded onion rings from breadcrumb mixture and place it on the baking sheet. Do not overlap coated onion rings and once the baking sheet is covered with breaded onions, spray the tops with the pan spray to help them get crispy.

Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes or until they’re brown and crispy. Halfway through cooking make sure to flip onion rings over so they can brown on the other side. Allow 5 minutes to cool before serving.


Cheesy Top Gun One-Liners Corn Bake


  • 30 oz frozen whole kernel corn (thawed)
  • 8 oz pkg of cream cheese cubed
  • 6 oz of sharp cheddar cheese sauce (Cheez Whiz)
  • 4 strips of bacon diced
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a small skillet cook diced bacon. Spoon out bacon pieces and place them on a plate with a paper towel to remove excess grease.

In a four-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and garlic powder to make a roux. Stir in milk, cream cheese and cheddar cheese sauce.

Cook by stirring constantly to prevent scorching until thickened and bubbly. Stir in corn and bacon. Transfer mixture to a two-quart casserole dish and bake for 45 minutes.


Bush’s Dinner Dressed Up Baked Beans


  • 28 oz can of Bush’s Best Original Baked Beans
  • 1/4 cup white onion diced
  • 4 strips of bacon diced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar (according to taste)
  • 4 tbsp yellow mustard

In a small skillet cook onions and bacon until onions are translucent, roughly 5 minutes. Spoon out onions and bacon in an effort to remove as much grease as you can and set them aside.

In a medium saucepan combine Bush’s beans, brown sugar, mustard, onions, and bacon over medium heat. Slowly bring to a low simmer to blend ingredients.

If you prefer your beans a bit sweeter gradually add more brown sugar according to your taste. If tangy is more your speed add more mustard. Once you find your ideal mixture, cover and set to a low temp to simmer for 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

Goose’s Garlic Green Beans


  • 1 pound green beans
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add green beans, garlic salt, and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Add water and cover and steam 4-6 minutes. Steam longer for softer green beans or if you prefer more crisp vegetables shorten steaming time.

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