savory dishes: summertime & nelly’s bbq spare ribs
It’s funny how the seasons tend to remind us of the things we used to do while growing up. Each season rekindles a particular memory that we like to keep in the cobwebs of our mind. These memories are what we hold dear and will treasure when our bodies can no longer keep up with the follies of our younger years.
Who wouldn’t love spring and summer? I would always be nudged from slumber by the animated chirping of birds outside my window. From the moment I opened my eyes I would already anticipate and look forward to what awaited for the rest of the day. I didn’t even mind the gentle buzz of the neighbor’s lawnmower. Nothing compares to the smell of freshly mowed grass in the morning. I was in charge of checking the PH balance of the water in our pool, cleaning the filter, and adding a chlorine tablet if needed. My other siblings would be responsible for vacuuming the pool. Not that I would mind doing that, either. Somehow, summer chores seemed more fun to do and it never seemed like work for me because I loved doing it.
My parents would leave for work and us kids would be left at home to do what all kids do… enjoy being young! I loved to lie by the pool and work on my tan and not have to think about wrinkles and freckles. This was in the late 80’s before concerns about skin cancer and all the other things that took the fun off of being a kid.
Times were simpler then when the biggest worry I had was what to eat for lunch from the kitchen. I think ignorance is bliss and a lot more fun!
I consider my family as “water people”. I grew up spending summers at the Jersey Shore, Wildwood, where I learned to catch waves at such a young age. I love Ocean City New Jersey, and Ocean City Maryland, where I would hit the board walk for “disco fries” (French fries with cheese and chicken gravy).
The smell of Coppertone sun tail oil was thick in the balmy air while every radio station played Barry Manilow’s “Copa Cabana” and Bryan Adams’ “Summer of 69” both are older songs, before my time, but summer was not summer until I heard those tunes playing on the boardwalk. There was also the smell of barbecue everywhere! Barbecue is from the language of Taíno people of the Caribbean and the Timucua of Florida which means “sacred fire pit” and the cooking method is almost always done outdoors. Whether charcoal or propane, summer is never complete without cooking something up in the fire. Not that winter stops my family from a good piece of barbecued meat propane (my father still fires up a steak with 8 feet of snow on the deck).
Moving halfway around the world did not change the smell of a great barbecue. The whiff of it not only makes me hungry but it also takes me back home to those long lazy summers. I’m about to enter the next milestone of my life. I have definitely accumulated some fond memories to look back on and the best part is that I’m not even halfway done!
Neely’s BBQ Pork Spare Ribs
Recipe courtesy The Neely Family
Show: Paula’s PartyEpisode: Fried vs. BBQ
- 1 slab pork spare ribs (about 4 pounds)
- 4-ounces Neely’s BBQ Seasoning, recipe follows
- 1 quart Neely’s BBQ Sauce, recipe follows
- Place pork rib slab flat on a clean chopping board. Pull off membrane. Cut off the excess fat and meat. Season both sides of the slab with Neely’s BBQ Seasoning. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
- Preheat your grill at 275 degrees F, using hickory wood and charcoal.
- Place the slab on the grill away from the flame, using indirect heat. Cook the slab for approximately 2 1/2 hours with the curl side up. Flip the slab over to finish cooking for approximately 1 hour or until you get full “bend” in the slab.
- For dry ribs: Pull ribs off grill, sprinkle Neely’s BBQ Seasoning over entire slab. Cut between the bones and serve.
- For wet ribs: Pull ribs off grill, pour Neely’s BBQ Sauce over slab. Cut between the bones and serve.
Neely’s BBQ Seasoning
- 4 ounces paprika
- 2 ounces white sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
Mix all the ingredients and set aside.
Neely’s BBQ Sauce
- 16 ounces ketchup
- 8 ounces water
- 3 ounces brown sugar
- 3 ounces white sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
- 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard powder
- 1-ounce lemon juice
- 1-ounce Worcestershire sauce
- 4 ounces apple cider vinegar
- 1-ounce light corn syrup
- 2 ounces Neely’s BBQ Seasoning
Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a stockpot or large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Reduce temperature to low and simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours.