It is summer and you are thinking of having a couple of friends over for dinner. You know you want to pull out the barbeque. After all, who wants to stand in a hot kitchen in the middle of a Texas summer? So while the potato salad may be made ahead and waiting for you to grab that chilled bowl from the fridge, what to put on the grill? While steak is always a good standby and chicken is popular for those who have given up beef, there is one thing that every meat-loving Texan will always crave. We are talking about good old fashion mesquite-smoked ribs. When it comes to a casual barbeque on a hot summer night, nothing quite says it all like these ribs.
It Starts with the Sauce
Of course, no matter what you want to put on that grill, if you want that mouth-watering taste you need to start with the right sauce. This is the area where so many cooks can almost come to blows. Just what exactly makes the best sauce for the tastiest ribs? It goes without saying that to have them really work, those sauces need to be thick and they need to really stick to your ribs. So what are the main ingredients you want to have in a sauce? Many will start with tomatoes, which of course taste just right on ribs. But just remember that they will contain sugar, which has a low tolerance for heat. Cooking above 275 degrees F will make them burn. In this case, you will want to cook the ribs first and apply the sauce after. For rib sauce that ditches the sweet and goes for savory, you can not only cook them in the sauce, you can marinate them so the taste runs right through the ribs.
Real Mesquite or Liquid Smoke?
This can be a real important question for the purist in your crowd. While the advantage of using Liquid Smoke for your ribs is obvious, you may want to opt for authentic. If you plan to smoke with real mesquite wood, plan to spend a lot of extra time preparing the smoker and getting the ribs to just the right side of perfection. Nothing quite tastes like a real authentic mesquite smoked rib, but the other side of the equation is the time spent getting it there. So many cooks use Liquid Smoke that these days only the purest food critic would pan a tasty rib just because of a bit of help from a bottle.
Add the Perfect Side Dishes
Even the most perfect of barbequed ribs needs a bit of backup to make them better. We are talking about the right type of side dishes that will enhance the flavor of the meal. Most of us will start with beans as a classic barbeque dish. But make sure they are top drawer and sauced with the best of the best barbeque sauce. Why not add some corn on the cobb to that grill or skewers of farm fresh veggies? These kinds of side dishes will add to the meal without taking you back into the kitchen. Your classic baked beans can be made ahead. In fact, the easiest way is to cook them in a crock pot the night before for mouth-watering goodness without a lot of work. Then it is time to crack open a local brew, mingle with guests and enjoy!