When you live in Michigan and March gives you 80 degrees, make ribs and invite your friends over. We did just that last week! My dad has this tiki hut which is his version of a "man cave," equipped with a sink, fridge, ice maker, fan, TV, stereo. Plus, it's right by the water. Pretty much the perfect hangout for a barbeque.
Remember all those summer foods I was babbling about here? Well this meal is almost my quintessential summer meal: ribs with my mom's BBQ sauce, potato salad, and fruit. It was only lacking watermelon and corn on the cob, but don't worry! Summer will come soon enough and I will share my perfect summer meal with you.
There are two very important recipes that I am going to share with you today, amongst others. Consider yourself lucky because both of these are very nearly family secrets! (That's not true. I love sharing things with people, especially recipes. But they are so good that I could see why someone might want to keep all the fame and glory for themselves.)
First, the BBQ sauce. My mom found this recipe in her very first copy of The Joy of Cooking that she probably bought when she was my age. Unfortunately, she bought it in spiral bound and when it started to fall apart, she bought a newer, more recent copy of the book. Tragically, the new version didn't have the BBQ recipe in it! So we copied it down on probably a dozen recipe cards just to make sure we wouldn't misplace it. Plus, I'm writing about it now on the Interwebs, so it's never going away.
Second, the potato salad. Back in the glory days of my adolescence, my family took the boat to Mackinac Island where we met a whole bunch of nice (and crazy) people, including Mike from Side Bar. Mike spent many an evening telling us all kinds of delicious tricks for cooking on the boat, including grilled pizzas and his famous potato salad. I'm pretty sure the potato salad actually came from Julia Child, but I usually credit Mike for introducing us to it. It's pretty much the best potato salad you've ever had.
Mom's BBQ Sauce
(makes about 2 cups)
- 1/4 c chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp dippings (like rendered bacon fat) or butter
- 1/2 c water
- 2 Tbsp vinegar (cider vinegar is good)
- 1 Tbsp woresterchire
- 1/4 c fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 c chili sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp yellow mustard
1) Sauté 1/4 c chopped onion in 1 Tbsp drippings or butter until brown.
2) Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.
Mike's Potato Salad
- 2-3 lbs baby red potatoes
- 1/3 c apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 c olive oil
- 1/3 c potato water
- 1 bunch green onion, chopped
- 1/2 c sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 c celery, finely chopped
- 1 c mayo
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (more or less to taste)
- 2 Tbsp sweet pickle relish (more or less to taste)
- 6 eggs, hard boiled
1) Cut potatoes into cubes and place in stock pot. Cover with water. Bring to boil and simmer until tender, about 6 minutes. Drain potatoes, reserving some of the water.
2) Place potatoes in a large bowl. Mix vinegar, olive oil, and potato water in a measuring cup. Pour over potatoes while they are still warm. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
3) Mix onion and celery with potatoes. In small bowl, mix mayo, mustard, and pickle relish. Fold mayo mixture into potatoes. Add sliced eggs. S&P to taste. Refrigerate.