It took me many years and many tries to make some good ribs. Sometimes I make a dry rub for them, and sometimes I use a wet marinade. This time, it was dry rub time.
Ingredients – ribs
2 TB paprika
1 TB sugar
1 TB salt
1 TB garlic powder
1 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 slabs of baby-back ribs (about 2 lbs each)
The ribs have been rubbed.
Method – ribs
Take the silverskin off the back of each slab of ribs. This is an important step so that when the ribs shrink and separate as they cook, it allows the rub to permeate the meat. Combine the seasonings in a bowl with a small whisk. On a baking sheet (with a lip) rub the seasoning generously over both sides of each rack. Wash hands! Set baking sheet aside while you light the grill. You want to set the grill so that the ribs will cook in indirect heat. For charcoal grills, I use natural wood charcoal lit in a chimney, allowed to turn white and place the coals in the middle with one slab on either side. If you can’t hold your hand over the grill rack for more than a couple of seconds because it is too hot, adjust the vents, or close them completely as you are cooking, to maintain a steady, but not scorching heat. You will need to refill with the natural charcoal about halfway through cooking. Place the ribs on the grill, cover and turn them every 15 to 20 minutes for 2 1/2 hours. Wrap in foil and hold in an oven on the lowest setting until serving time. They will be tender and juicy with a nice smoke ring, but not mushy. Serve with my sour orange bbq sauce, if desired. You may also brush them with bbq sauce in the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, being careful not to let them burn.
Also, I had intended to make Julia’s potato salad in a red, white and blue version, but I could not find any Peruvian or crimson potatoes, so I went with Florida golds.
Ingredients – Julia Child’s Potato Salad (It’s pretty close, anyway.)
2 lbs Florida gold potatoes, or red potatoes
2 TB cider vinegar
2/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup finely chopped celery
4 slices crispy bacon, crumbled
2 TB finely chopped pickle (either kind)
2 hard boiled eggs, shelled and sliced (I use a handy egg-slicer)
3 TB finely chopped scallion
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup of homemade or purchased mayo
Method – potato salad
Peel the potatoes and slice into just under 1/2″ thick slices. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise first if they are large. Boil until just tender and immediately take off the heat (reserving a cup of the cooking water) and place in a bowl. Add the cider vinegar to 1/3 cup of the cooking water and pour over the potatoes. Toss and set aside. Combine all other ingredients and toss carefully. Check for seasoning. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
Ingredients – Champagne Gold Pineapple Cole Slaw
1 pound of shredded slaw (it comes in bags to make life easier)
1 tsp champagne vinegar
2 TB sugar
start with 1/4 tsp sea salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper (taste for seasoning later)
1 cup of homemade or prepared mayo
1 pint of diced gold pineapple
Method – cole slaw
Place the pineapple in a colander and let drain over a bowl. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the slaw. Add the slaw. Test for seasoning. Chill until serving time