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True story: Last summer, my friend and I were walking home, smelled barbecue, and decided right then and there we needed a grill. We walked into a hardware store, bought a grill, and went to my apartment to make dinner. We grilled out almost every weekend after that, off the fire escape out my kitchen window, and it. was. awesome.

That little Weber made it through the move, and now we’ve upgraded to grilling in my alleyway, standing upright and everything.

So now that the weather seems to have made a change for the warmer, I’d love to share with you what we grill, as a summer installation, to show you how easy it is, with a $30 grill and no experience at all.

But first, a smoothie cleanse update:

Day 5. I’ve been so busy at work that I even worked through some of my usual snack times. Feeling good.

Day 6. So excited to hear news about the new job I barely even noticed I was eating like a rabbit. But I also think my stomach is getting smaller as an adjustment to the amount of food I’m eating now.

Day 7. Ok, I had a bag of lentil chips. So what?

Day 8. Obviously, weekends aren’t good for cleanses. I grilled ribs and corn and we had mashed sweet potatoes, fairly healthy, but I also had some adult beverages…which totally ruined my streak. I’ll just skip this day? Yes? New rule: weekends are break time. Deal.

Ok, so recipes. Each weekend that we grill, I’ll give you the full meal that we put together, including the obligatory cocktail, of course. 🙂

This week, I chose ribs as our meat. I’m from Memphis, which means there’s only one right way to do ribs: dry rub with a “mop” sauce, and then a thicker barbecue sauce to serve with if you want, but they should be so moist and delicious that you don’t even need it. Then we had some mashed sweet potatoes and our usual grilled corn, because it’s so simple but incredibly delicious. This time around a had only previously-husked cobs in the fridge, and I won’t ever do that again. It just didn’t taste the same. So here I’m going to explain how to grill husked corn on the cob, instead.

Also, keep in mind that I don’t measure anything (and that this meal is meant for about 3 people). Like, ever. So my spice measurements are serious guesses. It really all depends on your own taste buds and what you like, so use your own judgement in deciding how to put together your dry rub seasoning and mop sauce. Enjoy!

Dry Rub for Ribs:
2.5 lbs baby back or pork back ribs (one rack)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon ginger powder (personal preference)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Sauce for Ribs:
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (check for gluten)
1-2 tablespoons hot sauce

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup Tamari gluten-free soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Grilled Corn:
3 corn cobs, husk on
Butter, salt and pepper

THE DAY BEFORE YOU GRILL: For the ribs, you’ll need to remove the tough membrane on the underside of the ribs, on the bone side. It’s a thin, opaque-ish layer that will make your ribs pretty tough if you leave it there. Take a butter knife and carefully separate the membrane from the bone, and use a paper towel to grab it and rip it off, slowly. It won’t all come off in one piece, so you’ll have to keep working at it, but it doesn’t really take that long. Then place your ribs on a sheet pan lined with foil. Dump all your spices together in a bowl and mix well. Then thoroughly cover both sides of the rack with the dry rub, leave no centimeter of meat uncovered.

ribs pre-cooking

Seal with more foil, lots of foil, and refrigerate over night.

DAY-OF GRILLING: Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the ribs from the fridge and let them come to room temperature while the oven preheats, then bake for about an hour and a half (I put them in at 11AM and took them out around 12:35PM).

While the ribs are steaming in the oven, peel and chop the sweet potatoes and place in a large pot of water set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork tender.

Peel back the husks from the corn (remove ONLY the outer layer or two of husk, let the rest hang down near the base), and remove all the silks from the corn. Replace the husks, and soak the cobs in the sink or in a large bowl (so the husks won’t burn when you put them on the grill).

Drain the mashed potatoes and transfer to a bowl, mash and mix in all the ingredients (soy sauce, salt and pepper, brown sugar and a little ginger powder). This is really to taste so add whatever you want. We’re just looking for a smooth, slightly salty flavor to pair with the crunchy skin of the caramelized ribs.

Make the mop sauce in a measuring cup or bowl and get a basting brush ready.

Set aside your sweet potatoes, take out your ribs and get your corn and sauce: to the grill!

Ribs just out of the oven after 1.5 hours of steaming

Ribs just out of the oven after 1.5 hours of steaming

Start with the corn since that will take the longest (I have a tiny grill, we can only do things one at a time). Corn is definitely one of the easiest things to grill, you literally just put it on and forget about it for a while. Rotate every couple of minutes to keep any one side from burning, and after about 12 minutes just check inside. You want to see kernels that have really popped in color, are a bright yellow, and a little sweaty inside. Then remove to a plate and carefully season with butter, salt and pepper.

Remove the tin foil from your rib pan, and with a sharp knife carefully cut between the bones to separate the ribs into 4-6 pieces (I do about 3 bones a piece). Push aside your coals a bit so that the ribs aren’t going over direct flames, you don’t want to char them right away. Place your rib pieces in warm spots, away from the flames, and baste with the sauce you made. Grill for about 2-3 minutes and then flip the ribs, basting again with sauce. Do this a couple of times until your sauce has caramelized and the ribs are as browned or charred as you prefer (but don’t over do it, you don’t want to dry out the ribs that you spent hours slowly cooking to perfection in the oven).


Remove to a plate, baste with more liquid, and let cool.

Dig in.

Memphis Ribs and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Amuse yourself (and freak out neighbors) with cat on leash.

logan on leash

Need a cocktail? This week we just had a few shots of potato vodka with Trader Joe’s Strawberry Lemonade and frozen strawberries for ice.

What do you like to grill? Have anything you’d like to see us tackle? I’m thinking we definitely have to get down to the harbor soon and bring home a massive snapper…

Happy grilling!