World-Class Ribs at Home

He’s back, the Master Griller himself (my hubs😉), for a fabulous blog on Ribs!! If you missed his first blog on burgers you can find that here. Spring means the start of “Grill Season” at our house, and boy can my man grill! I hope you enjoy these ribs, they were a big hit over here!

Ribs. The crown jewel of barbecue. One would think they are the grill-master’s ultimate test. Well ribs ain’t easy, but with the right setup and equipment, they are within reach of anyone with a grill.

There are two main schools of thought when it comes to ribs: wet and dry. That is, ribs served with sauce on them, and ribs served without sauce on them. Most people are probably used to saucy ribs (hey ribs, behave yourselves), but ribs with a fabulous dry rub are often times at the pinnacle of barbecue flavor. For this recipe, I made both.

Now a word on the ribs themselves. The meat of the matter. There are two main types of ribs: loin (baby back), and spare. Most people are used to loin ribs. They have the curved shape, and can be the most tender. Spare ribs are huge and oddly shaped, and I don’t typically use them. There is a third variety, the St. Louis cut, which is a trimmed down spare rib, and this type is awesome. They are the same size as loin ribs, can be cheaper, and have more meat on them. They also have more fat which can be great for flavor and juiciness for low and slow grilling. For this recipe, I went with the loin rib.

Preparing the ribs starts with removing the membrane on the inside of the ribs. This step is so important! It allows more flavor to penetrate that side of the ribs, and makes them easier to pull apart. In the picture below the top rack still has its membrane, as compared to the bottom rack which has had its membrane removed.


Then I applied the dry rub to both racks. Both if them receive the rub, even though only one of them will end up being a dry rub rack. You can find a seemingly unending litany of dry rub recipes online, or you could buy one from the store (if you must). An easy recipe that will do in a pinch is equal parts salt, pepper, paprika, and brown sugar. I added some other secret (forgotten, actually) ingredients of my own. Also start soaking two handfuls of wood chips in water at this point.




Now let the ribs and wood chips sit as you set up the grill. Light your charcoal in a chimney starter and wait until the briquettes on top start to get a layer of ash on them. Then dump out half the coals on one side and the other half on the other side of the grill. “But what do I do if I only have a gas grill?” Two choices: grow up and get a charcoal grill, or stick to making sub-par hotdogs. Only joking; just light one of the burners on one side of the grill I suppose and keep it on low-medium. But seriously, it’s so much better doing this using charcoal. Once the fire is in place, put a drip pan in between the two mounds of coals and fill it part way with water. This will steam the meat a bit. Then place half the wood chips on one mound of coals, then the other on the other. Since they’re soaked through, they’ll smoke as opposed to burn. Yum!


Next, put your ribs in your handy-dandy rib rack. You don’t have a rib rack? Well then you’re stuck cooking only one rack at a time. Oh well.


Then you have to mess with the vents to get the temp down. Way down to like 250F. A side note on this: I read on some website somewhere that you should only close the bottom vents. They made the observation that if you wanted to slow your car down, you wouldn’t plug up your exhaust pipe, would you? Well, anyway, partially close your vents, either both or just the bottom, to get that temperature where you want it. I had to close mine almost all the way to get it just right. Then let it go for about three hours. Every half hour or so, start to baste one rack in your favorite barbecue sauce. I used Stubb’s Hickory Bourbon. Delicious. Another side note: basting with barbecue sauce can be tricky to say the least. Barbecue sauce typically has a lot of sugars in it that can burn easily especially if the meat being basted is directly over a hot fire. In this case, however, since the ribs are away from the coals and we have kept the temperature down, it’s not an issue.

You’ll know you’re done when the meat from the ends of the ribs have pulled back from the bone a half inch or so, as you can see in the picture below. Also, the ribs will pull apart with moderate ease. They will not fall off the bone, however. Close, but they won’t. Ribs that fall off the bone are likely baked in an oven. That’s not barbecue. Add one last coat of sauce to your saucy ribs (seriously, ribs, keep it G-rated) then cut them individually if you like so that everyone can have one at a time. Serve them with some Grillin’ Beans, preferably Texas Ranchero, and you’re good to go. Ok, eat some salad if you must, but bring on the meat! Note the pinkish smoke ring on the outside of the ribs. This is not uncooked. The meat turns reddish pink like that once it is smoked. Oh buddy, here we go! Enjoy!




Give Me Jesus

The Easter holiday is tricky, especially when you have kids. Everywhere you look there are bunnies and eggs and spring fluff! Don’t get me wrong I love a good Reese’s peanut butter egg and egg hunt, I just want more Jesus. It’s so important to Eric and I that our girls have a firm grasp on what this holiday is all about. Last year we talked some with Liesel but this year I wanted to go deeper.

For the past two weeks the girls and I have focused on the true story. We have spent everyday reading through the Easter story in their Beginner’ s Bible beginning with Palm Sunday and ending with the resurrection. They have been loving our devotional time each day, asking such great questions, that I’ve decided to start setting aside this time every day. We have always read a story from the bible to the girls each night before bed. But why do I have my devotional time while they are asleep? Don’t I want my girls to learn how important bible reading is? Don’t I want them to learn from my example? I’m excited to implement this time each morning. A time where they can get out their bibles with me and spend time alone with our Lord!

Here are a few of our activities from the past two weeks.

Palm Branches after reading about Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey in their Beginners Bible (pgs 427-432), we made our own handprint branches. We then had fun role playing, taking turns being Jesus on the donkey while the other two yelled, hosanna hosanna in the highest!




The Washing of Feet after reading pgs 437-439 in the Beginners Bible the girls took turns washing each others ( and my feet). We talked about serving each other, loving each other and how dirty the disciples feet must have been 😉



Tomb Rolls
death, sin, persecution, resurrection. These are all extremely hard terms for a 3 year old and 2 year old to grasp. Last year a friend of mine wrote about these rolls she made with her boys to explain the death and resurrection. I loved the idea and immediately tucked it away for this year! After reading pgs 446-458 in Beginners bible we made these to help the girls understand.
1 pkg jumbo crescent rolls
1 bag lg marshmallows
1/4 c melted butter
1/2 c sugar
1 TB cinnamon

Cover Jesus ( marshmallow) in blankets ( butter and sugar/cinnamon).

Next, place the crucified Jesus in the tomb ( crescent roll). Cover marshmallow completely with crescent pinching all sides. Then place tombs

20140416-224705.jpg in a 375 degree oven for 13 minutes.

Once rolls are cool, enjoy an empty tomb roll. Jesus is ALIVE



Tissue Paper Crosses




Watercolor Crosses have kids paint over masking tape crosses. Once dry, carefully take the tape off. I loved how they turned out.




Pretzel Crosses
Pretzel rods
White chocolate melted

Break pretzel rod so that you have one part shorted then the other. Dip long end it chocolate then dip shorter end. Place on top of one another and add sprinkles. Let sit until chocolate is hardened and enjoy!


I hope you all have a blessed Easter! He is Risen, Indeed!!

In the morning when I rise
Give me Jesus
You can have all this world
But give me Jesus!
– Fernando Ortega

Date Nights “in”

With three kids three years and under, getting out on dates are rare. Eric and I have really tried to keep our date nights going by having them at home once the girls are in bed. It’s so easy to get into a rut of watching a movie or show ( currently loving Breaking Bad) and having little to no conversations in the evening. Lately we have been making our dates more meaningful and different. Playing a board game, having a nice dinner, reading a book out loud, are a few ways. A friend gave me a great idea a little while ago to have our own happy hour dates! We have been loving this idea, especially with the weather being such that we can sit outside and enjoy an appetizer and new drink of choice!

This past weekend we had a throwback to our Ann Arbor days happy hour! We enjoyed some homemade red sangria, to remind us of one of our favorite spots Dominick’s, and bruschetta, an appetizer we loved to get at Pizza House. We spent the evening reminiscing on old days, laughing about our current life and planning for our future house projects.

If you find yourself in a similar boat, stuck in due to kids or just wanting to save money/ not deal with the hustle and bustle of going out, then I recommend happy hour date nights! It’s a great way to connect with your honey. Here are our recipes from last night, enjoy!

Red Sangria
2 lg juice oranges
1 lemon
1 bottle of Red Wine, dry
1/4 cup Triple Sec
1/4 cup sugar

Wash and slice one orange and lemon. Place in bottom of your pitcher. In your food process grind sugar until super fine and pour over fruit. Crush slightly with a wooden spoon, just until juices start flowing then stir until sugar dissolves.

Next, juice your second orange and add to pitcher. Then add in wine and Triple Sec. Stir and refrigerate for 2-8hours.

20140413-161107.jpg best served in mason jars for true authentic, Dominick’s fashion😉

1 baguette, sliced
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB olive oil
1TB balsamic vinegar
3 basil leaves, chopped
Pinch of salt
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

Mix tomatoes through salt together in a bowl. Taste and alter accordingly. Honestly, I eyeball all of the ingredients adding a little more of this and that. So feel free to as well!

Butter both sides of baguette slices and toast on a griddle until just slightly browned. Add a heaping spoonful of tomato mixture on each piece and place a mozzarella slice on top. So easy and so delicious!


Here’s our finished happy hour


So great to reconnect with this man, my love!