Char­lie Mckenna knows bar­be­cue.

Better Homes & Gardens - Best of Summer Recipes - - Crazy- Simple Ribs -

Char­lie grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, where his grand­mother in­stilled his deep love for South­ern cook­ing. (She’s the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind the name of his Chicago restau­rant, Lil­lie’s Q.) Although he’s hailed as a bar­be­cue world cham­pion with dozens of awards to his name, Char­lie also finds de­light in bring­ing small-scale ’cue to the back­yard. Take his method for quick ribs: “I love all- day, slow-smoked baby back ribs, but we don’t al­ways have the time,” Char­lie says. “Start­ing the ribs in a foil pouch in the oven makes them ul­tra ten­der. Fin­ish­ing them on the grill adds that smoky fla­vor and de­li­cious crust.” Check out Lil­ for Char­lie’s sauces, rubs, and fully cooked pulled pork.

Good ribs start with good pork. Get to know your butcher and who they’re buy­ing their meat from.


“Look for uni­form size. This en­sures the ribs cook evenly,” Char­lie says. “You want both a de­cent thick­ness of meat and in­ter­mus­cu­lar fat. This will pro­vide big-time fla­vor.”


“Mus­tard gives the rub some­thing to ad­here to. Its vine­gar con­tent goes well with pork and pen­e­trates all lay­ers of the meat as it cooks.”


“A rub with a de­cent amount of sugar pulls out pork’s nat­u­ral sweet­ness. It’s im­por­tant to sea­son well, so don’t be afraid to coat gen­er­ously.”


“Typ­i­cally ribs cook low and slow— about 5 to 6 hours in a smoker. To speed up the process, I es­sen­tially steam the ribs first in a foil pouch. This also makes them su­per ten­der.”


“Fin­ish ribs on the grill to cre­ate smoky fla­vor plus the char, or bark, on the out­side of the meat. Brushed- on sauce caramelize­s to add to that out­side crust.”

MAKE IT A MEAL Get zippy coleslaws, juicy fruit sal­ads, and even san­gria recipes picked specif­i­cally as sum­mer’s best sides.

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