There’s no better summer weekend meal than ribs and potato salad. This rib recipe from Bonnie Stern, which appeared in the July 10, 2010 edition of the National Post, uses a barbecue sauce by grilling guru Steven Raichlen. It’s a good all-purpose sauce with great smoky flavour, although I must confess that I still prefer the orange-maple sauce I usually make (see my May 21, 2010 post on this blog for the recipe).

I served the ribs with the Red Potato & Radish Salad from Canadian Living’s new cookbook, The Barbecue Collection. This delicious potato salad is quick to make and makes a nice change from mayonnaise-dressed potato salads.

To avoid additives and preservatives in these recipes, use an-all natural ketchup (such as Heinz), an all-natural Dijon (I use President’s Choice Old-Fashioned Dijon), molasses with no sulphur added, Tabasco brand hot sauce, Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce and fresh lemon juice. Liquid smoke is usually a natural product, made from smoke passed through water. Check the label to make sure nothing else has been added.

Steven Raichlen’s Bourbon-Brown Sugar Barbecue Sauce

1 cup (250 mL) ketchup

¼cup (50 mL) firmly packed brown sugar

¼ cup (50 mL) bourbon (or whiskey)

3 tbsp (45 mL) cider vinegar

3 tbsp (45 mL) molasses

2 tbsp (25 mL) Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp (15 mL) Dijon mustard

1½ tsp (7 mL) liquid smoke

1 tsp (5 mL) Tabasco sauce (or to taste)

½ tsp (2 mL) onion powder

½ tsp (2 mL) garlic powder

½ tsp (2 mL) freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and whisk together. Slowly bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently until thick and flavourful, about 8 to 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. You can also freeze it. Makes 2 cups (500 mL)

Bonnie Stern’s favourite method for making ribs

To cook 3 sides of back ribs, enough for 4 to 6 servings:

Remove membrane from ribs. Place ribs, in a single layer, on one or two foil-lined baking sheets. Spread both sides of ribs with ½ cup (125 mL) barbecue sauce, ending with meatier side up. Cover tightly with foil. Bake in a preheated 325F (160C) oven for 1½ to 2 hours, or until very tender when a knife is inserted between the bones. Meat will also start to come away from the bones at the tips. (Side ribs or meatier ribs may take longer.)

Remove ribs from pan. Brush with more barbecue sauce — about 1 cup (250 mL). Grill 5 to 10 minutes per side on medium high until browned, but watch closely so they don’t burn. Serve with more sauce if you wish.

From the July 10, 2010 edition of the National Post

Red Potato & Radish Salad

3 lbs. small red new potatoes

12 radishes, thinly sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

½ cup thinly sliced red onion

¼ cup chopped fresh dill

½ cup vegetable oil

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tbsp grainy or Dijon mustard

½ tsp each salt and pepper

¼ tsp granulated sugar

In pot of boiling salted water, cover and cook unpeeled potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool. Meanwhile, in large bowl, toss together radishes, celery, onion and dill. Cut potatoes into quarters; add to bowl. Whisk together oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper and sugar; gently toss with potato mixture until coated. Serves 8.

From Canadian Living’s The Barbecue Collection