Happy Independence Day! One of my favorite parts about summer time is July 4th. Celebrating America’s independence and freedom is freakin’ awesome. Fireworks and food are my two favorite ways to do it! The food is the best though.
Patrick’s grandparents are up here visiting us from Florida for the week so we decided to throw a little barbecue for the four of us. The food part ended up not being so little but I’ll get into that later.
It all started with ribs. Patrick and I are lovers of ribs. Our favorite are from Central BBQ in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s only about two hours from us so if we get a real bad hankering from some awesome barbecue, we’ll head over there for the “Ribs for Two”. SO GOOD.
Anyways we knew the rub and sauce we wanted to use, but the trouble was finding the ribs. We typically shop at Kroger but their ribs we super, super expensive so we decided to look elsewhere. Walmart had some but they didn’t look the best and were still pretty expensive.
At this point we were losing hope. We really wanted to try to smoke some ribs but didn’t want to spend more than $30 on a couple racks. I needed to grab some thinks at the commissary and we decided to check out their rib selection. They had three racks of baby back ribs for $22. SOLD!
Since we don’t have a legit smoker, we decided to pick up a smoker box and some applewood chips to set on our grill instead. I’ve used them before at my parents house and they work just fine in my opinion.
On July 3rd, the base was doing a little festival for everyone since we can’t have fireworks on base. We watched the fireworks from the backyard and once they were over, we went inside to start the prep work for the next day!
I made barbecue sauce and Patrick got started on the dry rub. Before he gave the ribs a good rub down, he dried them off and removed the thin membrane skin from the back of the racks. We stuck those guys on a sheet tray, covered them in plastic and in the refrigerator for the night they went along with the sauce.
I also decided to make some cream cheese stuffed, bacon-wrapped jalapeños for the “smoker”. I simply cut the jalapeños in half after removing the stem and scraped the seeds and membrane out. I let some cream cheese come to room temp and then spread some on the insides of the jalapeños.
Bacon time! There is a meat company here called Petit Jean Meats and they have THE BEST peppered bacon ever. It’s thick (which I don’t normally like) and it just crisps up beautifully and we love it! I cut a strip of bacon in half and then wrapped it around the jalapeño half and secured it with a toothpick.
These are literally so good. My dad used to make them year round back home. Everyone loved them!
The last of the prep work I did last night was pie crusts. I am a huge advocate for an all-butter pie crust. I just think they’re the best things to shove a sweet pie filling in, feel free to disagree, I won’t be mad because I’m over hear eating my (SPOILER ALERT) apple pie!
Y’all, I dream about this pie. It is so yummy. It’s funny because the first time I ever made an apple pie was this past Thanksgiving. I’ve made it about three times since…oops.
I finished it up the next morning! I peeled and sliced apples, mixed in lemon juice, cornstarch, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt and vanilla and then cooked them on the stove for a few minutes. Cooking them on the stove before putting them in the pie crust helps them to take up a little less space in the top of the crust so there’s not much “sagging” once it is done in the oven. It also helps for a more even cooking process.
Something I have always found strange is that not too many people like to add spices to their apple pie filling. I don’t add too terribly much, but just enough to accent the flavor of the apples. I think the additional spices and brown sugar really help to put it over the top.
My pie crust recipe makes two crusts, so I went for a lattice top! Brush a little egg wash and sprinkle some sugar and off to the oven it goes!
These golden slices of heaven were topped with some vanilla ice cream and homemade caramel. Just the perfect end to a great day!
Around noon on the fourth. we decided to fire-up the grill and put the ribs on! We left them on for about two and a half hours at about 225 degrees. We basted with our Carolina-style sauce that we made every 30 minutes followed with a spritz of apple juice to aid with moisture and caramelization.
They were absolutely delicious and now we don’t have to drive to Memphis to get some good ribs. Although, we probably will every once in a while.
Mac and cheese was a must for us. Ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness. I just whipped up a simple cheese sauce , doused the noodles in it, and totally did not eat several fork-fulls before we served the food.
Patrick’s grandpa grilled some corn and some sausages as well and they were awesome!
Patrick has a soft spot for Texas Toast and frankly so do I once it’s in the oven. We picked up a box of that from the freezer aisle and a can of Bush’s Brown Sugar and Bourbon baked beans.
Dinner is served!
We all had a great time preparing the meal and we pretty much made enough food to feed the entire base haha. It’s ok though, we love left overs here! So much food and such good times! I hope everyone had a fun, safe, and delicious Fourth of July!
Special thanks to everyone who has fought, are fighting and will fight for our great country’s freedom!
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons ground mustard
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 16 oz apple cider vinegar
- 16 oz tomato puree
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 3 slabs of baby back ribs
- apple juice
- Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients together in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes until thick.
- Set aside.
- The night before, dry the ribs with a paper towel and throughly massage with the dry rub.
- Cover and set in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 16 hours.
- The next day, heat the smoker to 225 degrees fahrenheit.
- Place the ribs on the grill top side down.
- Baste back of the ribs every thirty minutes for an hour with sauce and a spray of apple sauce.
- Flip the ribs after the first hour and continue basting process.
- Allow the ribs to finish cooking on this side until done.
- Remove ribs from the grill, cover with foil, and let rest for 30 minutes before serving.