Almost Perfect Father’s Day

I had two things I wanted to do on Father’s Day–play golf with my dad and try out the new smoker.  The problem is, smoking and golf both take a long time.  But dad got an early tee time and I figured five hours would be just enough to have dinner ready by six.  Golf was the almost perfect part–I missed my first career ace by less than the width of the ball.  185 yards with a 6-iron on the 15th hole and I hit the edge of the cup on the fly, but it spun out to about 8 feet.  (Sadly I missed the putt.)  Still, it’s always great to play golf with my dad.

As for the smoker, well, that was pretty darn near perfect too.  We got three slabs of ribs from Costco. I thought there were only two in the package, so when we opened them last night and saw how many ribs we had, we quickly called mom’s parents to join us for Father’s day dinner.  Step one was to make the rub, which we did the day before.

It’s made of about half brown sugar and half other spices.  After that, we slathered the rub over the ribs.  It goes on thick and puts something of a crust on the ribs. Once  rubbed, we brushed a little apple cider vinegar on top and threw them in the fridge overnight.

Today, after golf, I immediately tossed the hickory chips for smoking in a bowl of water and started the charcoal. We have an offset barrel smoker and according to the interwebs, the retail-grade versions are just OK for this, but you can’t believe everything you read on the internet (near-hole in-one stories excepted of course). When the charcoal was ready, I dumped it in the firebox, tossed some woodchips on top and threw the ribs on the grill.

It’s near impossible for me not to want to poke at my cooking, but with smoking, the trick is to keep the lid shut and keep the temperature steady which is difficult with the crummy temperature gauge on the grill. After an hour, I opened the grill to brush the ribs with some more apple cider vinegar and put the deep fry thermometer in there for a minute. It was about 250-275 so it looked like we were on target.

The process goes through a lot of wood chips and no matter how long they soaked, they seemed to catch fire a lot. Tossing wet ones on the flaming ones was a good way to keep the smoke going. Two more hours of brushing and wood chips and things were looking good.

After three total hours of smoking, I wrapped the ribs in foil and brushed one more round of apple cider vinegar on them before letting them cook for another hour and a half. At about 5:30 I took the foil off and brushed both sides with barbecue sauce, then took one slab at a time and finished them in the firebox.

After about five minutes on each side, the ribs were ready to go. We served them with corn on the cob, watermelon, chips and mango salsa, potato salad and beer bread.

The ribs were a hit all around. They were tender though not quite falling off the bone. The rub was fantastic, and the smoke flavor was perfectly ingrained in the meat. Mom liked hers, Mr. N had seconds, and Miss A liked the one bite she had, but she had too many other things to nibble on to have any more. I had thirds. I’m looking forward to bringing out the smoker again soon, but for now I’m happy to look back on a wonderful father’s day.

Print this recipe: Smoked BBQ Ribs

37 thoughts on “Almost Perfect Father’s Day

  1. Angela says:

    Those are awesome looking ribs. I didn’t like ribs growing up because I always had them with sauce instead of dry rub. I remember my first taste of Tennessee ribs with that delicious blend of spices and crispy exterior. Love at first bite. Yum!


    • ChefDad says:

      Tennessee is the first place I ever had dry rub too–Memphis. Very good. It took a while to convince me that it was normal not to slather them with sauce.
      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Geni - Sweet and Crumby says:

    Such gorgeous ribs! I am so jealous. They look completely amazing and I so respect the great care you took to make the rub, baste them and smoke ’em just right. I have not tried smoking anything yet. I guess we need to give it a go.


  3. Lisa {Smart Food and Fit} says:

    Sounds like a pretty nice Father’s Day to me. That’s great you got to spend it with your dad golfing! I was in the mood for ribs too and wanted to make them for my dad on Father’s day but he made lamb chops on the grill. What a nice post and lovely photo of you and your kids! 🙂


  4. Caroline says:

    That rub sounds absolutely delicious–and Costco has some of the best meat! Sounds like you had a lovely Father’s Day, getting to spend some quality time with your dad. I wish I golfed so I could go with my dad (I’m awful). Did you watch the US Open by chance? Go Rory! Such a great story.


  5. Kelly says:

    Sounds like a pretty perfect day to me (anyone who can make contact with a golf ball impresses me 🙂 – you went far beyond that!) I can smell the hickory wood chips from here… mmm…. what a gorgeous looking father’s day dinner! (loved Miss A’s one bite… too cute!)


  6. Dave Petersen says:

    There’s nothing better than smoking low and slow. Looking forward to future posts of brisket and pork butt. Try using wood chunks instead of wood chips, they won’t burn up as fast. If you do use chips try putting them in a little aluminum foil pouch. They’ll smolder longer and won’t burn up on you so fast. It’s a little trick I thought of after the fire department came to extinguish my brisket. Apparently my neighbors were not a fan of my cooking.


    • ChefDad says:

      I’m looking forward to trying something that takes longer next time though I don’t know if I have the patience for it.

      I also want a brick wood-fired oven for the back yard. Some day.


  7. sallybr says:

    You are a golfer! I did not know, how cool! I have a love-hate relationship with the game, I get too frustrated, definitely the wrong personality for it. My husband is a 5-handicap, and we play together a lot. He’s got his first hole in one two years ago, unfortunately I was not playing with him – the guy had a smile plastered on his face for days!

    Nice Father’s Day celebration you had!


    • ChefDad says:

      I don’t play enough any more to be any good, this was my first trip to the golf course this summer. I was OK as long as I could take a full swing at it, but once I had to start trying to pitch and chip, I was in trouble. Lots of pars and lots of double bogeys today.


  8. Charles says:

    “185 yards with a 6-iron on the 15th hole and I hit the edge of the cup on the fly, but it spun out to about 8 feet.”

    I don’t know what that means but from the previous sentence it seems to be a good thing! 😀 The food looks awesome – makes me wish I had a house and garden so I could get a smoker… /sigh – one day! Was the mango salsa home-made?


    • ChefDad says:

      It took a lot of shots to get that picture, it wasn’t hard to get them to smile but it’s hard to get them to smile and look at the camera at the same time!


  9. Kay aka Babygirl says:

    Aww I just love this post. There’s nothing like golf in the morning and smoking some meat in the afternoon. That’s exactly what my dad would say lol. And I’m surprised you guys didn’t know about how many ribs you get in the pack at Costco. Well the first time I bought them for a BBQ I didn’t know either LOL. But I miss that hickory smell in the barrel smoker.. ahh maybe it’s time to take a mini vacay back down south. Wonderful Post and Happy Father’s Day


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