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One of the most common questions I receive is also one of the simplest. “What is your favorite thing about the summer season?” or some variation of “How do you make the summer special?”
While as much as I’d like to pretend I have some wise answer, the truth is, it isn’t any one, singular thing, celebration, theme, or holiday. Instead, it’s the simple ‘feel’ of the season, the easy, self-fulfilling atmosphere, the hazy nights punctuated by the mist of a sea breeze intent on defying the balmy haze. Then again, nothing quite soothes the soul like rounds of drowsy conversation across a line of sweating sangria pitchers, whose lemon laced blend of vinos de mesa harmonizes in perfect contrast with the lingering afterglow of the evening’s final espresso.
Truthfully, a special moment isn’t ‘made’ special, it simply is. Like the words to a poem, each moment simply leads into the next, a natural progression that you simply could never imagine unfolding in any other way. Take, for example, the way an otherwise simple summer dinner can turn into an event around the grill, where the mere process of creating the meal can become celebration in and of itself, while the end result simply begs to be lingered over on the porch, even if ‘just because.’ For me, getting into the ‘spirit of summer’ has always truly been about otherwise common moments that manage to rise from the shadowy glum of daily life to grace the heart with something truly special.
That was precisely what happened earlier this week. Teetering between exhaustion and burnout, we certainly had no intention of doing anything elaborate for ourselves. Truth be told, we merely wanted to call it a day, and kick back with something simple. However, it was precisely that desire to kick back that made me pull a pack of Smithfield ribs out of the fridge that I had picked up at Walmart. After rubbing them down in a mix of brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, cinnamon and oregano, I set them on the grill, and then quickly prepared a pineapple based sauce, combining jalapeno for spice, while teriyaki and duck sauce provided a sweet and savory combination.
After that was done, I decided to put the last of the day’s coffee to use, and mixed us each a round of sweet vanilla iced coffee, and with the aroma pineapple glazed ribs cooking over a charcoal fired grill, we longed out on the deck, seamlessly creating a quintessential summer evening for ourselves.
By the time the ribs were done, night had fallen, and it was time to put a close to the day in the lantern lit hue of our porch, with the ribs as the centerpiece of our table. It was precisely the sort of impromptu moment made special that creates the spirit of the season.
The Smithfield ribs came out exactly as I had hoped, being both tender and moist throughout, with the meat having fully absorbed the savory herbal notes of the rub, punctuated by muted pineapple fruitiness backed by elements of natural smoke and heated spice.
What are some of the ways you get yourself into the spirit of the season? How do you make otherwise plain moments into something worth remembering?
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Smithfield Baby Back Ribs with Brown Sugar Rub and Pineapple Sauce
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- 4 lbs. Smithfield Baby Back Ribs
- 1 pineapple sliced – grilled
For the Rub:
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tbs. paprika
- 1 tbs. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
For the Pineapple Sauce:
- 1 tbs. soy sauce
- 1 tbs. teriyaki sauce
- 2 tbs. orange marmalade
- 1/4 cup duck sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple
- 1/2 jalapeno – grilled
- 2 cloves garlic – grilled
For the Rub:
- Combine all of the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl and mix.
For the Pineapple Sauce:
- Heat a small frying. Place the garlic with the skin and jalapeno in the frying pan and grill to a nice char. Pinch the garlic gently to pop it from its skin.
- Place all of the ingredients for the pineapple sauce in the food processor or blender and process until smooth.
For the Ribs:
- Place the ribs in a large baking pan. Rub the ribs with the dry rub; front and back of the ribs.
- Cover the backing pan with aluminum foil and place on the bar-b-que; using a charcoal style barbecue. Close the lid to the barbecue with the vents open for 11/2 hours.
- Brush the pineapple sauce on the ribs the last 15 minutes of grilling.
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Enjoy with Love!2