It’s no secret we’re big on grilling and outdoor entertaining. Whether it’s cooking for a crowd on a Sunday afternoon by the pool, or just a quick Tuesday night burger, our grill gets more use than almost any other appliance in the house.
Although it looks easy, and pretty much is, truly fine barbecuing is something that requires some skill and a bit of experience. Even though we hate to admit it, we have eaten our share of overcooked chicken and chewy strip steaks. On the other hand, our co-founder Jim makes the juiciest, most flavorful cheese burger you’ve ever tasted. And, through lots of trial and error, we aren’t at all modest about the incredible ribs we serve again and again – we even had to develop our own Baby Back Rib Sauce!
Jim credits most of his burger perfection to choosing good-quality meat with the right amount of fat in it. A tip from our kitchen? Don’t be shy to ask your butcher for help.
One of the best secrets to a successful grilled meal is to not overcook meats and poultry. Over the years, we’ve learned just how to tap the meat lightly with our fingertip or spatula to determine whether it is rare, medium rare or well done. Most importantly, once the meat touches the grill, don’t touch it! Wait until you believe it’s ready, then flip it and walk away again. This might be a hard concept to embrace, but trust us – it’s worth it.
There are a couple of hints we can share on judging whether your meat is done or not. For smaller pieces of chicken, pork or beef, gently poke the pieces. If there is a great deal of softness and the meat yields quite a bit under your touch, it is still pretty rare. Think like what the flesh feels like between your thumb and first finger when you close your hand lightly. Medium cooked meat will spring back lightly when touched, like the small part of your hand when you make a slight fist. Well done meat will be firm to touch, like the flesh of a tight fist. For fish, the fillet should break away into flakes when it is completely cooked.
Of course, to be safe, invest in a good thermometer. This is especially important if you are grilling larger cuts of meat to ensure the entire piece is cooked throughout.
Check out one of our go-to meals on the grill, Maple Chipotle Baby Back Ribs with Grilled Corn. We give our corn a boost of flavor with compound butters like Herb Butter, Lime & Scallion Butter or Garlic Pepper Butter. To make your own combination at home, simply blend your favorite herbs, zest or spices with softened butter, wrap in plastic wrap and chill. Sprinkle the freshly grilled corn with sea salt, freshly ground pepper, chili powder or cayenne pepper for an extra kick when you add the butter.
Maple Chipotle Baby Back Ribs
- 4 racks (approximately 4 pounds) baby back ribs
- 3 cans Guinness beer
- 1/2 gallon water (more if needed)
- 3 Tablespoons Stonewall Kitchen Carolina’s Rub or Texas Rub
- 1 bottle Stonewall Kitchen Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce
- In a large stock pot, bring beer, water and spice rub to a boil and stir.
- Cut each rack of ribs in half and place in boiling liquid. Be certain all ribs are submerged (add more water if necessary). Reduce heat to a simmer.
- Simmer for 1 1/2 hours, partially covered.
- Remove ribs onto a cookie sheet and generously coat with Maple Chipotle Grille Sauce. (Note: You can prep to this point hours in advance, cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.)
- Finish ribs off on a medium-hot grill.
- Serve with lots of extra grille sauce!