Father’s Day falls on June 17th this year, right in the middle of June and the perfect time to have a barbeque. If the weather cooperates, having an outdoor Father’s Day bbq is the perfect way to say ‘thank you’ to the dads in your life.
When it comes to barbecuing, the options are nearly limitless. You can go classic with hamburgers and hot dogs, hardcore with smoked brisket or ribs, fusion by incorporating Asian or Mexican sauces into your barbecue, or anywhere in between. Here are some great recipes for a Father’s Day bbq that will make the day special (and delicious) for everyone.
Baby Back Ribs
Baby back ribs aren’t the cheapest meat around, but a special occasion like Father’s Day is the perfect excuse to indulge. Ribs can cook anywhere from as quickly as an hour to as many as six if you’re going to smoke them, so this choice means you’re grilling for the long haul.
If you’re looking to get meat on the grill and get done as quickly as possible, ribs aren’t the best choice. But if you want to spend a nice leisurely Father’s Day outdoors on the patio or deck and cap it off with some falling-off-the-bone ribs, this recipe is right up your alley.
Picking Out the Ribs
First of all, you’ll want to stay away from spare ribs or country ribs when you’re buying your ribs. Both those cuts of meat are great in their own recipes, but we’re looking for baby back ribs. When you choose your racks, try to pick ones with nice streaks of white fat on them, as they’ll be more flavorful.
Stay away from racks in which you can see the bone on the top of the ribs, as the butcher has cut them too close to the bone. Another thing to avoid is racks which come pre-marinated or brined. We want fresh and untreated ribs for this recipe.
Preparing the Ribs
There are two steps to preparing your ribs before they hit the grill: Removing the membrane and rubbing the meat down with spices.
The membrane is a layer of white tissue on the underside of the ribs. Some people actually prefer to leave the membrane on, as it can provide a crackling texture after being cooked. However, the membrane interferes with rubbing in spices, and can also be tough depending on how the ribs are cooked. All in all, it’s best removed.
To remove the membrane, slide a knife under one side of the membrane and work it upward until you’ve got enough loosened to get a grip. Then, you can simply pull the membrane off the ribs.
For this recipe, we’re going to use the following to make our spice rub:
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
Salt to Taste, recommended 2 Teaspoons
Feel free to improvise if there are other spices you like or dislike. Combine these spices in a bowl or jar and mix them thoroughly. Then, apply the spices to both sides of the ribs. You don’t have to use up the entire amount of spice rub you’ve prepared – save some for another recipe. Once you’ve coated both sides of the ribs, they’re ready to go.
To Smoke or Not to Smoke?
Once you’re ready to grill up the ribs, the decision you’ll need to make is whether or not to smoke the ribs. Smoking ribs (or any other meat) will impart a smoky flavor to the meat, and if you’re looking for the classic type of ribs you’d get at a barbecue restaurant, you’ll want to go with smoking. That being said, you can get delicious ribs through conventional grilling, and with the spice rub and barbecue sauce (which we’ll get to) you won’t be spoiled for flavor.
If you’re going to cook the ribs without smoking them, wrap them in foil (to prevent the drippings from leaking out and causing the fire to flare up) and lay them on the top slot of the grill. Set the grill to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, and cook them for about 3 hours.
Once you’ve hit the three hour mark, unwrap the ribs from the foil and apply a liberal coating of barbecue sauce. Put the ribs back on the grill for 5 to 10 minutes to finish, then serve them up.
If you’re going with the smoking method, ideally you have a smoker. If so, you’ll just need to get the wood chips to give your ribs the flavor you want. Oak wood chips are popular, as are hickory. Soak the wood in water before using it.
If you’re smoking the ribs, you’ll want to give them a longer grill time, anywhere from 4 to 6 hours. Like with the non-smoking method, apply the barbecue sauce as the last step, and only cook the ribs for an additional 5 to 10 minutes before serving the ribs.
We’ve mentioned applying the barbecue sauce, but not where to get it or what exactly it is. In part, that’s because it’s up to you. If there’s a store-bought brand of barbecue sauce that you love, use that. If you want to make the meal even more special for dad, you can make your own barbecue sauce.
There are tons of barbecue sauce recipes that are easy and delicious. This Kansas City BBQ sauce is perfect for baby back ribs.
One important note: You may be tempted to put on the barbecue sauce at the start when you begin grilling the ribs. However, this is a mistake, as most barbecue sauces are high in sugar. If exposed to the grill for too long, they burn, ruining the taste of the sauce.
Corn on the Cobb
A summer staple that dad will definitely appreciate is corn on the cobb. And there’s a neat little trick for making corn on the cobb, especially in large quantities, without taking up space in the grill. (The ribs are already using that space!)
Believe it or not, you can cook corn on the cobb to perfection using only a cooler. This may seem like it won’t work, but trust us – it will. Clean out a cooler thoroughly, and set it up where you want to serve the corn from. Shuck the heads of corn so that all the hair and husks are removed, and you’re ready to go.
Place the corn in the cooler, and boil two large pots of water. Pour the boiling water into the cooler, and let it rest for 30 minutes. That’s it! The corn will be cooked and ready to eat. And what’s great about this method of cooking corn on the cobb is that the corn will stay warm for hours after it’s done. So if people are eating over a long period of time, using the cooler for corn on the cobb is the ideal way to go.
Pickled Potato Salad
Another absolute classic summer dish is potato salad. While you can easily buy generic potato salad from the store, this recipe gives an interesting twist that will show dad how much you care.
The big difference between this recipe and most conventional potato salads is the inclusion of pickles and pickle brine. Obviously, give this recipe a skip if dad isn’t a pickle lover, but if everyone enjoys pickles this one is delicious.
You’ll need around 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of potatoes. Salt some water in a pot, put in the potatoes, then bring the water to a boil. Simmer then for about 15 minutes, then chop the potatoes into large chunks.
Meanwhile, you’ll need the following:
1/2 cup of chopped sour pickles
2 tablespoons of pickle brine
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons mustard seeds
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
Once the potatoes are cooled and chopped, add the brine, olive oil, vinegar and mustard into a bowl and whisk until they’re well blended. Combine the potatoes, pickles, mustard seeds and chives and stir it all together, coating everything with the dressing.
The potato salad is ready to serve as a side dish for your Father’s Day meal.
If you’re blessed with good weather, barbecuing on Father’s Day is the perfect way to say thanks to the fathers in your life. These recipes will ensure a meal that’s both familiar and unique, and cap off what should be a wonderful day for family to spend time with each other.