Sandra Lee uses pantry staples to perk up classic barbecue recipes

Making a big barbecue spread for Memorial Day doesn't have to be difficult.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Sandra Lee

Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner and if you're honoring those who have served, celebrating the arrival of warmer weather and want to enjoy some great barbecue, I've got the ultimate menu for you and your family — and it's going to use up some of your favorite store-bought staples.

What's my secret to throwing an easy barbecue bash? We're going to use the same ingredients to make an incredible sauce for the main dish (barbecue ribs) and our side dish, embellished baked beans.

Ribs are a classic cookout food, but you don't need a grill to make ribs that are moist and tender on the inside with a perfectly caramelized crust. Cook these babies low and slow and you'll have a winning rack of ribs every time.

Take canned beans from tame to tasty with a few easy-to-find extras. If you have bacon or pancetta, crisp some up and throw it in with your beans for a wonderfully salty layer of flavor. Then dress them up with barbecue sauce, hot sauce and Montreal seasoning.

Remember Nutter Butters? We loved them as kids and we still love them today. Turn these tasty cookies into crafty snacks with a little store-bought icing and your favorite candy. Kids love to help out with this one, plus you can have an adorable dessert ready to go without ever turning on the oven. When it's the summertime, everybody needs a great pair of flip flops — and these are mine!

Speaking of flip flops, I'm toasting the start of summer with a tropical cocktail that makes me feel like I'm on the beach: rum punch! While this island-inspired beverage is typically made with rum, you can really use any kind of alcohol you prefer, from vodka to tequila or gin — just don't forget the pineapple juice.

Cheers to the ultimate summer barbecue and the perfect top-shelf pantry party!