Crock-Pot Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

ribs

Who doesn’t love a good, charred, meaty rib slathered in rich BBQ sauce? I know I do and these ribs are so delicious and absolutely perfect for your next summer BBQ! Unlike traditional rib recipes which can be time-consuming this recipe is as easy as 1-2-3 and produces a perfectly tender and super yummy piece of meat. The recipe comes from one of my most favorite cookbooks, The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook 10th Anniversary Edition: Every Recipe and Every Review From All Ten Seasons .

Aside from the recipe being foolproof, the BBQ sauce is divine! You’ll never go back to a bottled version again. You can make a batch of this BBQ sauce anytime and use it on chicken, burgers or any other grilled meat. Save yourself time when making the sauce (and the ribs!) by mixing together a batch of the spice rub ahead of time. Triple the recipe and store it in a small spice jar in your cabinet. Anytime that you need a flavorful spice rub or you want to make homemade BBQ sauce you’ll have the mixed spices already on hand.

This recipe calls for St.-Louis style ribs however, when I was in the store they were out so I went ahead and used bone-in country-style ribs instead. They were nice and meaty and worked really well in this recipe. As a bonus, since they come individually cut there was no need to trim the ribs beforehand or separate them after cooking.

Lastly, to finish the ribs the recipe has you using your boiler which is perfectly fine and simple however, I chose to finish them off on the grill. Follow the same steps as if you were broiling the ribs only instead of putting them under the broiler, put them on the grill for a few minutes until nice and charred. The ribs had the amazing smoky flavor of the grill as if they had been cooking on there for hours but with the simplicity of having being cooked in the slow cooker. This meal was a HUGE hit in my house. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the ribs

  • 2 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3 lbs of St. Louis style ribs (each rack cut in half)  OR bone-in country-style ribs

For the BBQ sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 6 tbs apple juice
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions

For the ribs – Combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic in a bowl. Reserve 1 tbs of the spice rub for later use in the BBQ sauce. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and coat all over with the spice rub.

Arrange the ribs vertically with the thick ends pointing down and the meaty side against the interior of the slow cooker. It is fine if the ribs overlap. Cover and cook until ribs are just tender. Low setting, 6-7 hours OR high setting, 5-6 hours.

For the BBQ sauce – In a medium saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, apple juice, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, pepper, liquid smoke and the reserved 1 tbs of spice rub. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced down to a cup, about 10 minutes.

To finish the ribs – Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack in the pan. Using tongs, transfer the ribs, meaty side up, to the rack. Let the ribs sit for about 10 minutes to allow the surface to dry out.

Adjust the oven rack 3″ from the broiler and heat. Liberally brush the ribs with about 1/2 cup of sauce and broil until bubbling and beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven, brush with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

**Tip – The BBQ sauce can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.**

Fresh Mango Salsa

Mango Salsa

This mango salsa is deliciously light and refreshing and a cinch to make! I used it to top my pulled pork tacos but it’s also great with chips or as a topping for grilled chicken. I found the original recipe on the Cookie and Kate blog site, click here to check it out. I made just a few slight changes to the original recipe to suit my own tastes. I completely took out the cilantro as I do not like the flavor and instead I used a little bit of fresh parsley. Also, instead of using 3 mangoes I used just one but also added in a diced English cucumber for extra crunch. Feel free to follow the original recipe or be as creative as you wish with this salsa. Some other great additions are diced fresh pineapple, diced tomatoes, scallions, fresh corn, or different types of sweet and hot peppers. Play around and find a combination that you love.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe mango, diced 
  • 1 English cucumber, diced with skin on
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 1 large lime, juiced (about ¼ cup lime juice)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

In a serving bowl, combine the mango, bell pepper, onion, parsley and jalapeño. Drizzle with the juice of one lime and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. For best flavor, let the salsa rest for 10 minutes or longer. Serve cold.

Pulled Pork Taco.jpg

Fresh Summer Corn Salad

corn salad

A few summers ago a friend of mine brought this amazing fresh corn salad to a BBQ and it was love at first bite! This dish is everything a summer salad should be, it’s light, fresh, and so flavorful. It’s a great side dish for burgers, sausages, steak, and other grilled meat. I really enjoy it because it’s a nice change of pace from the standard grilled corn on the cob and it’s also very easy to pull together.

This recipe for Fresh Corn Salad comes from Ina Garten and in all the times that I have made this dish I have followed it exactly except to also add in a small, finely diced, red pepper. I like the extra little crunch and flavor that the pepper brings to the salad. You can also try substituting in other flavored vinegar however, I think the sweetness that is added from the apple cider vinegar is perfect so I’ve stuck with that.

When making this salad, be sure to not overcook the corn, you’re just looking to cook out the starchiness but you want it to stay nice and crisp, not mushy and chewy. Three minutes in boiling water is all you need and then immediately place the cobs of corn in ice-cold water to stop the cooking and set the color. This dish can be served at room temperature but I think it’s better when it’s nice and cold so that the veggies keep their firm crisp texture.

Ingredients

  • 5 ears of corn
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1 finely diced small red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned fresh basil leaves

Instructions

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the corn for 3 minutes until all of the starchiness is gone. Drain and place the corn in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process and set the color. Once the corn is completely cooled, cut all of the kernels off of the cob cutting as close to the cob as possible.

In a large bowl, toss the kernels with the red onion, red pepper, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil and combine. Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

homemade bbq sauce

There is nothing better in the summer than grilled meat dripping in thick, sticky BBQ sauce and while there are plenty of great tasting ones to choose from in the supermarket I’m not always thrilled about the ingredients that they contain. So instead of resorting to the bottle variety of BBQ sauce, I make my own! It’s so simple to make and there are literally countless recipes and variations to choose from.

I adapted this BBQ sauce recipe from one that I came across online by Jamie Deen, he used the sauce on his BBQ Baby Back Ribs . The sauce came out really great, it was a nice mix of sweet and spicy however, it did have a strong vinegar taste initially so I adjusted the seasonings to create a more balanced flavor. I added in 1/2 cup of brown sugar for a little extra sweetness plus a 1/2 tbs molasses. I also cut back on the amount of cayenne pepper that was called for, I added only 1/4 tsp and the resulting sauce was plenty spicy.

The recipe made more sauce than I actually needed so I just stored the rest in a Mason Jar and used it for my next BBQ meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbs canola oil
  • 2 tbs finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (I used only 1/4 tsp)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For adjusted sauce recipe include:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbs molasses

Instructions

Heat the oil over medium high heat and saute the onion until softened. Add all of the other ingredients and simmer on medium low heat until thickened, about 35 minutes. Use immediately or store in a Mason Jar in the fridge for about 2 weeks.

bbqribs

 

Quick and Easy Coleslaw

coleslaw.jpg

True story. I love coleslaw but I hate mayonnaise which is a bit of an issue when you buy a store made coleslaw. They are usually drenched, mushy, soaking in liquid and taste like mayo and pretty much nothing else. I find it wholly unappetizing which is why I’ve tried out countless homemade versions in an attempt to find one that is on the drier side, remains crunchy, and has a flavor profile that extends beyond just mayo. Enter my “Quick and Easy Coleslaw“.

I am not really sure how or where I came across the original recipe but I’ve tinkered with it so many times now using ideas from various other coleslaw recipes that at this point, I’m taking all of the credit for this one! This recipe is super easy, and I do mean SUPER EASY, to make. You can pull it all together in just a few minutes and instead of “who knows how old it is store bought coleslaw” you can serve this crunchy, fresh one at your next BBQ or get together.

Ingredients

  • One bag of coleslaw mix (you can find this with the bagged salad mixes in the produce dept)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

Whisk together the mayo, sugar, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper until smooth and well combined. Toss with the bagged coleslaw mix until evenly coated. Let the coleslaw chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so that the flavors can combine. Serve cold. This will keep about 2-3 days in the fridge.

**TIP** – The bagged coleslaw mixes are great but I have found that on occasion the pieces aren’t shredded enough and I don’t care for huge pieces of cabbage in my coleslaw. To fix this, I simply use my kitchen shears and snip the coleslaw while it’s in the bowl (before pouring the dressing on it) until I’m happy with the size and shred. 

 

Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

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There is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than an ice cold, freshly squeezed lemonade. This recipe is top notch and has been my favorite for years. In fact, it’s so good that I literally cannot drink store bought lemonades anymore. Prepackaged lemonades are overly tart (almost bitter) and very syrupy which is not refreshing at all. This version is so light and crisp and has the perfect balance of lemons and sugar. It also makes a nice big batch so if you don’t have a good sized pitcher, feel free to halve the recipe.

To get the most juice from your lemons make sure they are ripe and give them a nice firm roll on the counter before cutting. To release even more juice, microwave the lemons for 10-20 seconds, let cool for a minute, and then cut. Be sure to remove any pits that fall into the lemon juice before mixing with the other lemonade ingredients.

Ingredients

For the simple syrup

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water

For the lemonade

  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice (about 10-12 lemons depending on size)
  • 1 gallon cold water

Instructions

Make the simple syrup by bringing 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil, lower the heat and cook until the sugar dissolves. About 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Juice enough lemons to make 2 cups of fresh lemon juice. Pour the lemon juice into a large pitcher then add a gallon of cold water and the cooled simple syrup. Stir until combined. Serve over ice.