Tag Archives: ribs

American Independence

what a perfect day
what a perfect day

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The Fourth of July fell on Friday this year, the perfect day of the week if you ask me. It has been in the mid-90’s the last few days but the heat wave broke and was in the low 80’s for July 4th. Combine that with a good breeze and the day was perfect for being outside.

We decided to BBQ ribs at the house and with Will and Sondra driving up from North Carolina, we gathered the family for an old fashion BBQ. Like most of my stuff, my BBQ books are packed in a box so I searched the internet for a new rub and sauce recipe. Not long after I put the ribs on the grill the smell was amazing. It had this spicy notes to it and with the hickory smoke, the combo was a good one. I modified the rub a little to add some more kick and I think it was a good idea in the end. When the rest if the family showed up to the house, Will said he could smell the ribs as they drove down the street. So far so good on cooking them.

fourth_of_july_2014-13The rest of the afternoon we hanged out on the deck. Greg and I smoked cigars and everyone sampled a myriad of beers that I purchased the day before. I love days like this. Days I get to sit back, smoke cigars, drink good beer and chill with family.

After four hours on the grill the moment of truth was reveled. For the first several hours I was able to keep a constant 225 temperature in the grill. The last few hours were a little tougher but for the most part all afternoon I had a constant low heat. To me, this is the critical part of BBQ. Anyone can make a rub and put it on meet. To cook it at the right temp for several hours is what makes you a BBQ master. With Matt’s help I pulled off the ribs from the grill and they looked amazing. One rack I had trouble getting out so I was pushing on one of the bones to free it and the whole bone just popped right out. All indications pointed to perfectly cooked ribs. A sample a few minutes later confirmed, I had an exceptional set of cooked ribs. With all the family gather I felt some pressure to perform and I came through with flying colors. Everyone agreed they were amazing.


After dinner Will, Sondra, and Maggie packed up their gear and headed to Washington, D.C. Will and Sondra wanted to catch the fireworks before heading to North Dakota. I thought about going but I was in a really good groove so I stayed with everyone else at the house. We light off a few roman candles and watch the fireworks on PBS instead. I know it is not the same as being there, but we didn’t have to fight the crowds to see the show.

It was a long day but a good day with the family. The weather was absolutely perfect all day with cool temperatures and a good breeze.  The ribs came out amazing and all the sides hit the spot. I hope next year to have the Forth of July party at our new house and invite everyone over there to celebrate.

Rib Off

slow cooked over charcoal, baby back ribs
yum! slow smoked ribs

After some great beer, food and seeing moe. perform the night before, Sunday was time for more food and relaxation.  During my bachelor party we setup a date to get together and have a rib competition.  Last year it was meat loaf and that was great, this year we changed it up and did ribs.  Several people bailed at the last minute or just didn’t show up but we still managed to have a good crowd to watch the Skins play and eat some ribs.

The game started at one that afternoon and we talked first about eating at the start of the game, then it changed to half time, finally at 4 regardless of if the game was over or not. Like most family meals we ate later then planned at 5. I must say that it certainly was worth the delay.  Nancy and I got a late start out of the houses because we had to get the grill into the Jeep.  I could have used my dads gas grill but when you are cooking ribs, who wants to cook on gas?  Matt even offed to drive my grill up but I was certain we could get it in her Jeep, boy was I wrong.

It was close to 2 by the time we got my grill assembled at my dad’s house and ready to start firing up the charcoal.  Matt was not running late but thankfully waited till I was ready before starting his own ribs.  Even thought this was not a competition in the strictest sense, he would not tell me what recipe he was using.  I think I intimidated him by saying I was cooking three racks using two different rubs/sauces.  For weeks Nancy and I have been testing out different recipes to find the perfect one for this competition. Since I still had many of the ingredients from the last batch, I just decided to do two. I did the famous maple ribs and a newer one, dinosaur ribs.

With the ribs finally on the grill, all Matt and I could do now was sit back and relax. We drank a few beers and talked about the previous nights show.  In the background the Skins were playing the Dolphins but that was not much of a game, certainly not worth watching.  Two hours later we pulled off the ribs to the delight of the assembled family, everyone was eager to get their figures dirty.  With the cooking done I finally found out what recipe Matt used, the red eye one from the same book I have which calls for coffee and chili powder in the rub and sauce.  To top the evening off my dad and Pat got a cake to celebrate my birthday the following day.

Despite the Skins loosening it was a great day.  I got to cook some great food, drink a few beers and spend lots of time with the family, even my brother and Audrey came out.  The weather was perfect that afternoon, most of our time was spent outside so I of course smoked a cigar to pass the time.  We have already started work on the next “competition” which might be chili if we do it in winter or wings if we wait till spring.

Labor Day 2011

family picture
isn't technology wonderful

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This year there was no Buffett show during the long weekend so Nancy and I took the opportunity to just relax after a long few weeks. On Sunday my Dad got the family together at his house to enjoy some of my famous smoked ribs. All summer we have talked about cooking the ribs for him and Pat and this weekend was the perfect opportunity. Upon hearing I was cooking ribs many decided to show up: Bobby, Tracy and the kids, Matt, and even my brother and Audry. The two of them never show up to any family events so it was a surprise to see them there.

Nancy and I arrived at three so I could start cooking the ribs.  I had the rub and sauce already done before arriving, just needed to prepare the ribs my dad got.  After getting them on the grill it was time to relax and enjoy a few beers while the ribs slowed cooked. One thing I really love about ribs is there is very little that needs to be done while they cook, all the works is in preparing them.  About 90 minutes into the cooking process I add some more charcoal and a few more handfuls of wood chips and that is i.  Almost three hours later I pulled them off and they looked incredible as always.  I brought them into the house and the vultures circled as they cooled off. All the sides had been prepared and the table was set, just needed the meet.

After dinner we celebrated Bobby’s birthday which was in a few days. Got a great shop of him blowing out the candles with his kids.

slow cooked over charcoal, baby back ribs
yum! slow smoked ribs

After a successful dinner and it not being a school night, everyone enjoyed the cool summer evening and sat on the deck for a few more hours. Pat and Tracy eventually get the kids ready for bed while the adults setup a family poker game. It is becoming a tradition that we have a couple $5 buy in games when we are all together. I couldn’t hang and decided to take a nap on one of the outside couches, the cool weather was making me sleepy. Eventually everyone called it quits and we headed home well past midnight. That evening over dinner we talked about a rib off when football season started and we are working on a date that is good for everyone. I will cook the same recipe, been very happy with the results so far, and hope to bring home a trophy.

Dirty Thirty

I don’t know how this saying came about, but your 30’s are called the “dirty 30’s.”  I have been in my thirty’s for a few years and there is nothing dirty about them.  I will say that most people have grown up and will continue to grow up while in their 30, becoming more responsible with each passing year.

The last of the 20-somethings, Nancy, had her birthday on Sunday so we celebrated with some friends and family at the house.  I was in charge of cooking and Nancy wanted ribs, mac and cheese, and grilled vegetables for the evening.  For an appetizer I cooked a kick ass brie dish that was completely gone in no time.  The mac and cheese receipt was taken from a grilling cookbook.  For the ribs I was able to use my new rib rack that Matt got me for Christmas and rib cook book that went along with it.  The three racks I purchased fit nicely in the rack and I got to cooking around 4pm.

I was busy in the kitchen prepping food when our guests started arriving about 5:30.  I was so busy getting things ready I completely lost track of the time and didn’t start cooking the ribs till almost 7:30.  We planned on eating around 8 so I blew that time out of water real quick.  In the end there where two 45 minute cooking seasons before the ribs were finished.

To prepare the ribs I used a maple and brown sugar rub and separate maple glaze for the ribs and I must say they were fantastic!  I was a little worried about the time it would take to cook everything and the ribs not coming out good.  In the end the cook time took longer than I estimated but the ribs where cooked perfectly and everyone loved them.  It was a good feeling that for 10 minutes the house was quit.  All evening the the house was filled with conversation and commotion, you could hear a pin drop while everyone ate the ribs.  We ate two racks for diner and later in the evening we finished off the last rack as a late night snack.  The only thing I screwed up was the timing, but that didn’t matter when the food was finally served.

I started the ribs off for 45 minutes of indirect heat on the grill, to this I added a handful of smoking chips to each pile of coil.  After the initial 45 minutes it was time to add more coals and start the vegetables cooking.  I got a second pile of coal going and put the ribs right over the head, flanked on each side by vegetable skewers.  I also used this time to apply a generous amount of glaze to the ribs.  Half way through the basting process while talking to Nancy I see the door open and someone yelling “there is a fire in the kitchen” with the fire alarm going off in the back ground.  I couldn’t believe it and being right in the middle of basting the ribs I couldn’t do much about it.  I asked Nancy to investigate for me and she confirmed that yes there was a fire in the oven.  The mac & cheese was suppose to brown under the broiler and I put the food to close to the burner so the crust caught on fire.  I never panicked, I just calmly put the lid down on the grill and walked in side.

Everyone was gather in the kitchen not sure what to do.  Tracy was desperate to put the fire out, scurrying around looking for a fire extinguisher I suspect.  First job was to stop that damn fire alarm, so I barked at Bobby to pull it off the ceiling and take it outside, now I could hear myself think.  I grabbed an oven mitt and pulled out the casserole dish from the oven, indeed it was on engulfed in fire.  Then as the calm person I am I blew out the fire, crisis over.  The mac & cheese was a little worse for ware but everyone was safe and the house was still standing with no damage.  I looked at Nancy and asked if that was enough excitement for her birthday.  The casserole didn’t look pretty, but I scrapped off the burnt crush, reapplied a fresh layer and put it back in the broiler much lower from the heat source.  After the only emergency of the night was over I went back outside to tend the ribs while everyone else went back to talking, smoking and drinking.

Another 45 minutes passed and it was time to pull the ribs off the grill.  At this point it was well past 9pm and I was nervous.  I had never cooked ribs before and I was not sure how they would turn out.  Would they be cooked enough, burned, taste like crap?  I didn’t know.  When I opened the grill lid to look a quick scan revealed the vegetables looked perfect and ribs didn’t look burn, but I was only looking at the underside so not a good judge.  As I brought the three slabs into the kitchen everyone has assembled to watch, which is typical when someone in the family grills.  I laid them on the cutting board and flipped them over…..they looked amazing!  The next test, doneness.  When I cut into the first one it was perfectly cooked with just a bit of juice.

After eating it was time for a nap, everyone was so full the food coma was quickly setting in.  To jolt use back to life the smokers all had a cigarette in the cold, another round of shots and time for a little dancing.  For Christmas Nancy got Dance Party 2 which we played for almost 2 hours.  Of course the the fellas didn’t fell much like dancing but after I got up there and showed them how it was done everyone loosened up.  We traded off between everyone and had a grate time shacking our booties.  I know Nancy took a few videos and I don’t even want to see what I look like, I probably look like a fool but it certainly was fun.

Another cigarette outside which brought us just past midnight and officially Nancy’s birthday.  A quick happy birthday and some awesome cookies Matt made and it was back in side.  This late in the evening we lost Nicole and Jeff but the rest of use stuck it out for a round of poker.  It is becoming something of a tradition that when the family gets together for a party we get at least one round of poker in.  The stakes are only $5 but it is a ton of fun talking shit.  We killed the last rack of ribs while playing, had to satisfy the midnight munchies and the ribs certainly hit the spot on that.

The next morning the ladies where not feeling well.  Both Tracy and Nancy had a lot to drink, I think it was the jello shots that put them over the edge.  Thankfully Bobby was feeling good and made some kick ass omelets for everyone using the grilled vegetables and left over cheese from the night before.  The rest of the day Nancy and I didn’t do crap.  It was a lazy day spent watching tv and getting a few things done around the house.  I personally couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday