After the Super Bowl and Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July may be the best holiday for guys. Even though it doesn’t involve football, it does involve many of men’s favorite things: fire, sharp instruments, meat, and beer.
This Fourth of July weekend, men all across America will be pouring into Home Depots and Lowe’s stores to buy new grills.
This might take a while — grilling used to be simple; it’s not anymore.
Today you’ll have to choose among everything from “entry level” gas grills to “luxury” grills with more stainless steel than the space station. For the serious grill master there’s even the Big Green Egg.
Then you’ll have to choose between coals, lava rocks, and flavored wood chips. And while you’re at the Lowe’s, you might as well buy some wood and nails for the addition to your kitchen you’ll be building to store all of the grilling accessories you’ll end up buying. I mean everybody needs his own branding iron, right?
I get it. The Fourth of July, just wouldn’t be complete without nighttime fireworks and the aroma of smoky barbecued ribs. So I’m here to simplify things by showing you how to make succulent, fall-off-the-bones ribs the old fashioned way: with an oven and a grill, an honest-to-goodness, no-frills grill.
Here’s what you do: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Season your ribs with dry rub, wrap them in foil, and bake s-l-o-w-l-y for 4 to 4 1/2 hours until moist and meltingly tender. Then transfer them to a hot grill, slather them with barbecue sauce, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes per side for that irresistible chargrilled Fourth of July taste.
Pile the ribs high on a platter, place it in the middle of the picnic table, and prepare yourself for prolific praise.
Smoky Maple BBQ Ribs
Makes 6 servings
This recipe calls for spare ribs the larger, meatier cousin to baby back ribs, which take longer to cook, 4 to 4 1/2 hours. If possible, place ribs in the refrigerator for several hours, up to overnight, after applying the dry rub. Otherwise, refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
5 lbs spare ribs
1/4 cup of your favorite dry rub, or a simple blend of salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon maple extract
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavoring
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
A couple of pinches of salt
1. For the barbecue sauce, mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. For the ribs, cover a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Check the back side of the ribs. If you see a thick white membrane, you’ll want to remove it. Using the tip of a knife, slide it under the membrane and pull off. Using your hands, massage the dry rub into the meat until coated all over. Cover with plastic wrap, place on the prepared sheet, and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to overnight. Remove plastic wrap. Place ribs back on the sheet, and cover with more aluminum foil, sealing the edges closed.
3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Bake ribs in the center of the oven for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Be careful when opening the foil as steam will escape. The meat should be cooked through, white with no pink showing. Grab the bottom of a bone and gently tug; the meat should be tender and start to pull away from the bone. After baking, remove ribs from the foil and discard the pan juices.
4. Pre-heat grill to high. Transfer ribs to the grill, and brush both sides with barbecue sauce (adding sauce too early will cause the sugars to burn). Cook, flipping ribs and adding sauce a couple of times, until grill marks appear, about 5 to 7 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to a large, clean platter, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice the ribs, and serve with extra BBQ sauce and lots of napkins.
Photo Credit: Fireworks, Flickr creative commons: bayasaa