There’s plenty of reasons why the last Monday in May is so widely looked forward to this time of year. Memorial Day honors fallen soldiers while offering Americans a chance to relax with their families, take a dip in the pool, or fire up the famous Memorial Day barbecue. If you fall into this last category, follow these few simple steps for a Memorial Day ribs dinner worth remembering.
First, choose the right meat. Fresh is preferred, of course, but if you need to you can thaw frozen meat as well. Just try to avoid shiners—exposed bones in ribs. Sure they’re harmless, but your friends and family will want as much meat on their ribs as possible, and not have to scrape their teeth on bones before they even get a bite.
Next, remember how many people you’re cooking for. Epicurious says six spareribs (or a ½ slab) per person, and one to three for baby back ribs should be enough (and don’t forget to cook a few extra for leftovers!).
Avoid cutting the ribs before you serve them. This can lose some of the ribs’ best flavor and is an unnecessary chore before cooktime.
When it comes to seasoning, less is more! Grilling the ribs will bring out some of their natural flavors, so go easy on the marinade or offer a dipping sauce as a source of extra spice. A simple dry rub (sometimes all you need is salt and pepper) can ensure you’ll have a flavorful, charred crust come dinnertime.
To achieve the tender, fall-off-the-bone rib you want, cook them over “cool heat.” It seems counterintuitive, but if you heat up your grill (whether with charcoal or gas) and place your ribs on the non-cool side or burner, they will cook and achieve a nice crust before they’re burned on the inside.
Now for the leftovers—once everyone’s had their fix, it can be tempting to eat the rest of the batch right there and then. And who could blame you? But if you’d rather save them for another meal, you can use your leftover ribs or meat trimmings in sandwiches, beans, and chili, too!