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Dawson Eats: Easy Summer BBQ and Sangria
dawson eats ribs
Photo by Danny Gallegos on Unsplash

Classic grilled Baby Back Ribs 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Is there any meal more American than eating freshly grilled baby back ribs on a summer evening, hopefully with sides of coleslaw and grilled corn on the cob, with cold fresh watermelon waiting in the wings? Unless it’s a pile of hotdogs and hamburgers sipping sweet tea and waving the American Flag, I don’t think so. 

This month I wanted to bring you a meal I remember fondly from my childhood, we didn’t make it often, just on special occasions. But when my parents brought out the ribs and started up the grill, it was a big deal. 

And if you don’t eat pork, this recipe works reasonably well on chicken, so keep that in mind. 

What you’ll need

Cumin - 1tbs  

Chili powder - 1tbs 

paprika - 1 tbs 

Salt and pepper 

Baby back pork ribs - 3 pounds

Your preferred barbeque sauce - 1 cup  

How to prepare 

  1. It probably comes as no surprise that you’ll first want to prepare your grill. If it’s gas, set the burners for high heat, it’s charcoal, get the briquettes going on one side of the grill leaving a little bit of room with no briquettes. 

  2. Once the grill is starting to heat up, brush and oil the grate so your ribs have a nice clean spot to sit and cook. 

  3. Next combine your cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix thoroughly to form your rib rub. 

  4. Prep your ribs by using a sharp knife to remove the membrane from the back of each rib rack. If your knife is good and sharp, you should be able to run the knife between the membrane and the ribs, cutting and discarding as much as possible. 

  5. Next, sprinkle the rub on both sides of your ribs and let the meat marinate for a little while you are putting the finishing touches on the grill. 

  6. The next step will depend largely on what type of grill you have at home. For gas grills with multiple racks, place a layer of aluminum foil on the lower rack to catch any drippage. If your grill only has one rack, I’d advise you to lay down a small piece of aluminum foil to protect the ribs from flareups when the juices drip. For charcoal grills, you’ll be using the side of the grill away from the charcoal that was left open in step one. 

  7. Now it’s time to get the meat on the grill. Place your ribs in the spots outlined in the previous step, reduce your heat to low if using a gas grill and cook with lid closed for 1 full hour. Avoid lifting the lid during this part of the process, as that will allow heat to escape and extend your cook time. 

  8. After a full hour of cooking, the ribs should be totally cooked, but we aren’t finished yet. Lift the lid, flip the rack and begin brushing the ribs with barbecue sauce. 

  9. Cook the ribs for 5-10 minutes on each side, brushing with sauce as you flip the rack. Repeat this process a few times until the ribs look done. A good test of whether your ribs are really done and ready to eat is by pulling two of the rib bones away from each other; if the meat between the bones begins to tear, the ribs are ready to come off the grill. If not, keep grilling and flipping. 

  10.  Remove the ribs from the grill, plate, share and enjoy. 

Recipe courtesy of

Watermelon Sangria 

Photo by Pori He on Unsplash

I’m going to dispense with the hard sell for this one because, honestly, it doesn’t need it. 

If you haven’t ever had sangria, all you need to know is that it’s a wonderful cocktail from Spain and Portugal, traditionally made of red wine, fresh fruits and other ingredients like liquors, spirits and sparkling water. 

This recipe takes some of the best things about traditional sangria and mixes in a variety of fresh summer flavors like watermelon, lime and lemon. 

What you’ll need 

Watermelon - 4 cups, cubed 

Moscato - 1 bottle 

White rum - 1 cup

Limes - 3 whole limes juiced 

Lemons - 1 whole lemon juiced 

Zest of 2 limes  

Sugar - 1 tbsp 

Limes and lemon slices for garnish  

How to prepare 

  1. First, blend the watermelon, Moscato, rum, citrus juice, lime zest and sugar until smooth. Refrigerate the mixture until chilled.

  2. Serve the sangria in a tall glass with ice and citrus slices and enjoy.