Easy Entertaining: Lynda Reeves’ Perfect BBQ
My favorite BBQ is a backyard affair featuring classic margaritas and guacamole, baby back ribs — smoked and then charred to perfection — Cuban corn, chef Lora’s amazing potato salad (or char-roasted baby potatoes) and a summer salad like watermelon and feta with fresh mint.
For dessert, I’ve been serving Häagen-Dazs Salted Caramel Gelato that is amazing with thin biscuits. I like Jules Destrooper Butter Crisps and Almond Thins. Or sometimes I make a classic NY cheesecake and top it with fresh raspberries. Craig Claiborne’s Classic Cheesecake recipe from the New York Times is one of my favorites. Read on for my best BBQ recipes and tips.
- 1 part fresh-squeezed lime juice (if you like it extra tangy, use two parts lime juice)
- 1 part Cointreau
- 2 parts Tequila. Use Blanco or Reposado (must be 100% agave)
- Ice cubes
- Salt, for rimming glasses
Wet the rim of the glass with a wedge of lime, and salt the rim by placing the glass upside down into a dish of sea salt. Fill the glass with ice. Pour the tequila, lime juice and Cointreau into a jug and stir or shake in a cocktail shaker. Pour the mixture over the ice and stir to chill well.
Here is a great trick. Buy good quality, fresh Guacamole — either Mad Mexican, President’s Choice, Yucatan or the Garden Fresh brands.
Add chunks of roughly chopped avocados, and your own heat. I use Tabasco’s Green Jalapeño Sauce, but you can use any other hot sauce, plus fresh lime, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.
You end up with the perfect balance of a creamy base that you didn’t have to make yourself, plus the chunks of fresh avocado and lime that gives it texture and makes it taste so fresh.
- 4 ears of corn, husks peeled back and silk discarded, then soaked in water for 15 mins before grilling
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup grated cotija cheese (you can also use Asiago)
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Lime wedges
Char-grill corn for about 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter; sprinkle with cheese, paprika and salt to taste. Serve with a wedge of lime.
I keep trying new potato salad recipes, but this one from Lynn Crawford’s co-chef Lora Kirk continues to be my favorite. It’s the combo of grilled onions and pickled jalapeños that make it so memorable.
- 2 lb. mini potatoes, halved
- Salt and cracked pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large white onion (about 1 lb.), thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp finely chopped pickled jalapeño, or more to taste
- 1 tbsp pickled jalapeño brine
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup chopped dill
Place potatoes in large pot. Cover with cold water. Season with salt. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain simmer. Cook until tender, 10 minutes. Drain in colander. Spread out on baking tray to cool.
While potatoes are cooking, heat oil and butter in large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and thyme. Cook, stirring, until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Season. (Lower heat if they’re browning too quickly.) Transfer to plate. Cool.
In a large bowl, mix mayonnaise, jalapeño, brine, vinegar and dill. Fold in potatoes and onions. Season. Serve at room temperature.
I used one watermelon, cut into bite size chunks. The dressing is the juice and zest of one lemon, ½ cup of good olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Toss the fruit with the dressing, then sprinkle on 1 cup of chopped fresh mint and I cup of crumbled feta cheese. You can also cube the feta. Toss again and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Now for the main attraction. These are the best pork ribs, no question!
First you make your dry rub:
- 1 cup of raw or cane sugar
- ¼ cup Kosher salt
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 2 ½ tbsp garlic powder or dried garlic granules
- 6 tbsp paprika
- 1 ½ tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 ½ tsp dried mustard
- 1 ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
Mix it all together. Letting the flavors meld for a day or so is a good idea.
This is enough rub for 2-3 lbs of baby back ribs. That would be either one large rack or two smaller ones
Next, prepare your ribs. Peel the membrane off the curved side of each rack. Rub this side of each rack with about one tablespoon of dry rub. Then smear on a tablespoon of yellow mustard (not Dijon, just plain old ballpark mustard).
Do the same thing on the other side of each rack. Then place the ribs in a baking dish and cover with plastic wrap. Put them in the fridge — overnight, if you can.
Next comes smoking — on a BBQ or in a smoker — and charring. For full instructions, click here.