Last weekend we celebrated the summer solstice with our annual BBQ and bonfire at the beach. This is a Nordic tradition we happily packed up with us from Denmark, where the longest day of the year is celebrated in true viking-style with feasting, fire, libations, and an effigy which is burned to ward off evil spirits. Since the sun sets over the sea at 9 pm in California and not at midnight during the Scandinavian midnight sun, we enjoy an abbreviated version, Pacific-style, before the park rangers shepherd us off the beaches – or the residents call the police. This year was spectacular, with warm weather, tame winds and a hopping crowd of 50 wannabe vikings. As hosts, we took responsibility for the Danish beer, grillables and fire setting, while everyone else brought side dishes desserts, beach chairs, lots of kids and wine. It truly takes a village! On the menu were these sticky spiced ribs – inspired by a delectable recipe from my friend Karen who brought them along last year. (She is on tour in Italy right now with her band which is another story in itself.)
Have grill will travel:
20 pounds of pre-cooked and sauced ribs ready to finish on the grill at the beach
Summer Solstice Baby Back Ribs
Solstice has come and gone, but these ribs are a keeper and perfect for a July 4th grill party. This recipe may easily be doubled or tripled.
Serves 6 to 8
2 racks baby back ribs
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup bourbon
4 large garlic cloves, minced
Heat oven to 250 F. (125 C). Whisk the salt, pepper, paprika and cumin together in a small bowl. Evenly sprinkle over the ribs. Bake in oven for 2 hours, turning midway. Remove and cool. Cut the ribs in individual pieces.
While the ribs are baking, combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium heat. Briefly grill the ribs, turning, until they begin to crispen. Brush with reduced sauce and continue to grill, turning and basting until thoroughly coated, taking care to avoid burning by moving to indirect heat as necessary.