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Video: Celebrate summer by grilling up BBQ ribs

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    >> are revving up the grill for july 4th . it's not too late to learn how to make some ribs.

    >> absolutely. our good friend sunny anderson is here singing, dancing, cooking. host of "homemade in america" on the food network .

    >> happy july 4th to you. shout out to the united states air force ceremonial brass band . that was huge. i love to see that. yeah. so i'm going to kind of give you a mini tutorial on how to grill at home. this is the exact grill i have at home. you don't need anything fancy. this is a really good bowl grill . the first thing you're going to do, if you're working with wood infusion, have you ever done that before? is

    >> yes.

    >> this is mesquite. you want to soak it so the wood lasts longer. 30 minutes , soak the chips. we're going to create an indirect heat environment right inside the grill . these are going to go on top of the colals once they get gray. this is kind of like an aroma you can taste. mesquite. a lot of people like hickory or pecan, as we say.

    >> push the wood to the side?

    >> to the side. the pan in the center, i'm going to put in water. the reason i'm putting in water is i'm putting in ribs. they've got a lot of connective tissue. we want them to barbecue in a very moist environment. we put the water in there and get the ribs on top, and you're good to go.

    >> salt and pepper on the ribs.

    >> salt and pepper on the ribs because i have a crazy barbecue sauce . two hours. you want to put a little salt and pepper and let the ribs sit out two hours at room temperature , no longer than that, and get them onto the grill .

    >> get in there.

    >> how long are they going to grill for?

    >> these are going to grill two to three hours. you want the temperature on the inside to be about 180 degrees. at the beginning, don't do anything but cover them up.

    >> smells great already, by the way.

    >> barbecue sauce .

    >> it's the chips.

    >> it's the mesquite. it's really an aroma you can taste. i love it. i'm going to show you how to make the newest favorite out of my kitchen. strawberry jalapeno barbecue sauce .

    >> that sounds so good.

    >> sweet and fiery. onions, jalapeno, little bit of garlic, and two points ints of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes. cook them until they start to blister and mash them down. add the strawberries.

    >> isn't a little spicy with the jalapenos?

    >> leave the seeds too. i don't know why they get hated on so much. with jalapenos, you want the spice. we cook the strawberries until they get mushy. break them down as well. add in brown sugar .

    >> i like it sweet. come on, willie .

    >> that's why i love you.

    >> a little bit of dijon mustard and add some apple cider vinegar. that's going to percolate like crazy.

    >> how long does that take to break down?

    >> about 10 to 15 minutes . it's really a fast process. at the end, get an immersion blender or pour it into your blender. the key to good ribs, what you don't want to do is put the barbecue sauce on too early because it will start to caramelize and burn. 30 minutes before you're ready to eat, come on in and slather them down. you know you're ready when the meat starts to pull away from the bone. these are baby back ribs . do you know where those are on the pig?

    >> no.

    >> willie , let me show you on your pig body really quick.

    >> wow, where are those baby backs?

    >> baby backs, turn around. they're right here on the pig. it's usually like a hog that's about 270 pounds. how much do you weigh, willie ?

    >> less than that, two-ish.

    >> the reason i like baby backs is because you can imagine with the rib space in the back has a lot more space. more meat in between them than, say, a spare rib .

    >> and they're nice and juicy.

    >> so give a try to that.

    >> all right if we do? is it okay if i dip?

    >> dip away, chew away. don't worry about the heat either. it kind of dissipates after you cook. there's a really easy side. you're doing it outside. this is bacon and scallion smashed potato salad . and very easy, a sugar cookie recipe i have on today.com. decorate them. have fun with the kids, and enjoy your 4th of july . you like it?

    >> it's a great spread. that's sweet but also got a little punch.

    >> that's what i'm here for. a little mma.

    >> next time don't talk about how much i weigh.

    >> sorry. we love you.

    >> happy 4th.

    >> happy 4th of july to you too.

    >>> coming up, when is it

TODAY recipes
updated 7/3/2013 4:19:55 PM ET 2013-07-03T20:19:55

Recipe: Ribs with strawberry jalapeno barbecue sauce

Ingredients
  • For the ribs
  • 2 (3-4 pound) slabs baby back ribs, silver skin removed from concave side of ribs
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2-3 pieces Mesquite wood chunks or 4 cups chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
  • For the sauce
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped Vidalia or sweet onion
  • 4 jalapenos, chopped (keep the seeds!)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a rasp
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 4 tablespoons grained with wine Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Preparation

Rub and rest the ribs. Place the ribs on a tray and season all sides with salt and pepper. Rub the ribs a few minutes then let them rest at room temperature for 2 hours.

Make the sauce: In a medium pot on medium heat add the olive oil, onions and jalapeno. Season with salt and pepper and cook until fragrant and tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and tomatoes then cook while stirring until the tomato skins begin to blister and their flesh breaks down, about 10 minutes. Use a potato masher to break down the tomatoes then add the strawberries and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Use the potato masher to break the strawberries down as well then add the brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar. Lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes to reduce slightly, stirring every few minutes or so to make sure the sauce isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cool slightly and use an immersion blender or standard blender to puree until smooth. Refrigerate until needed.

Barbecue the ribs: Prepare the grill or smoker. If using a charcoal grill (details below), push the grey charcoal into two piles on each side of the grill. Place the soaked wood directly on the charcoals, in the center recess without charcoals, place an aluminum pan filled with water. Place the ribs directly on the grill in the indirect heat over the aluminum pan (center of the grill). Close the grill, open the vents and allow to cook 2-3 hours or until a pork from a fork reveals them to be tender. If you're into internal temperature checks it should be around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush generously with sauce and continue to cook another 30 minutes. Remove and cover loosely with aluminum foil for 10 minutes before cutting into 1 or 2 rib servings.

Use wood chips for gas grills and larger wood planks or chunks for charcoal. If using a smoker, use a smoke box and wood chips. If using an oven, set the temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and place wood chips in a roasting pan filled with water on the bottom rack, then place the ribs in a roasting pan on the middle rack.

Serving Size

Makes 8-10 servings

Recipe: Bacon and scallion smashed potato salad

Ingredients
  • For the potatoes
  • 2 pounds small new potatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • For the dressing
  • 8 strips uncooked bacon, chopped or cut with scissors into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound cippolini onions, peeled and sliced in half along the equator
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated on a rasp
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, lightly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 scallions, white and green parts finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
Preparation

Boil and smash the potatoes. Fill a large pot with water, the potatoes, and add a nice pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and allow to cool until easy to handle. Place the potatoes on a flat surface and using the back of a spoon, gently press each potato until they pierce and flatten to about ½-inch thick.

Crisp the smashed potatoes. In a large pan on medium high heat add the butter and olive oil. When the butter melts add the smashed potatoes and cook on one side until the edges are golden and crisp, then flip and cook on the other side until crisped, about 8-10 minutes total. You may have to do this in batches. Remove potatoes to a paper towel-lined plate. Do not clean the pan.

Make the dressing. In the same large pan add the bacon and cook until crisped. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add to the pan the butter, olive oil, and onions and cook while tossing until the onions are tender and slightly golden on all sides, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook for just a few seconds until the garlic is fragrant. Raise the heat and add the vinegar (watch your eyes for the vapors!), sugar, and scallions. Stir until the sugar to dissolves.

Toss the salad. Combine the potatoes and bacon in a large bowl. Pour over the dressing and toss. Serve hot, warm or room temperature.

Recipe: Easy patriotic sugar cookies

Ingredients
  • For the cookies
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar, to roll dough
  • For the icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Red food coloring gel
  • Blue food coloring gel
Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make and bake the cookie dough. In a stand mixer or bowl with a hand mixer cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the egg, milk, almond extract and continue to blend until smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into the creamed butter and blend well on low. Roll dough into a ball and refrigerate 30 minutes. Pour a bit of sugar into a bowl and remove dough from the refrigerator. Make into 24 even balls and roll each in the sugar, then place them one inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet*. With the palm of your hand gently press each ball into a thick disc. Bake until cookies are just set and lightly golden on the edge, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to completely cool on a rack.

Make the icing. In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, milk and lemon extract until smooth. Divide and scoop icing into 3 separate sealable plastic bags. In one bag add a drop or two of red food coloring, in the next add a drop or two of blue food coloring, and leave the final bag white. Re-seal all the bags and massage the food color into the icing. If more food coloring is needed, add it a drop at a time. Clip a tiny hole in the corner of each bag and decorate each cookie however you please. I prefer to place them all on parchment and randomly decorate them from above one color at a time.

*If using cookie cutters, refrigerate dough and use powdered sugar to roll it out on a flat surface to about 1/4-inch thick then dip cutters into powdered sugar before cutting out each shape.

Serving Size

Makes 24 cookies

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