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A July 4th Cookout

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Barbecued ribs, baked beans, and buttermilk coleslaw make up the classic American backyard barbecue

Fire up the grill for this festive menu of all-American favorites. Apples and bacon lend a sweet-smoky edge to both pork ribs and made-from-scratch baked beans (if your grill is charcoal-powered, check out the charcoal version of the ribs recipe). A classic coleslaw and grilled corn on the cob round out the meal. And poppyseed shortcakes with billowy whipped cream and red and blue berries finish the cookout on a patriotic note. 

Menu Timeline

This timeline is built to accommodate the longer-cooking spareribs. If you use baby back ribs instead, you can start them an hour later.

Two days ahead:

  • Soak the beans overnight

The night before the cookout:

  • Make the baked beans.
  • Make the roasted red pepper butter.
  • Make and bake the poppyseed shortcakes.

7 hours ahead:

  • Soak the wood chips.
  • Trim the rib racks.
  • Mix the spice rub and rub it on the rib racks.

6 hours ahead:

  • Start the fire and begin smoking the wood chips.

5-1/2 hours ahead:

  • Start smoking the ribs on the grill.
  • Make the barbecue sauce and mop.

3-1/2 hours ahead:

  • Continue to cook the ribs, basting occasionally.
  • Shred the cabbage and other vegetables for the slaw.
  • Set the slaw in a colander to drain.

1 hour ahead:

  • Reheat the beans and simmer for 40 to 60 minutes.
  • Make the buttermilk dressing and toss it with the cole slaw.
  • Shuck the corn and toss it with seasonings.
  • Toss the berries with sugar.

30 minutes ahead:

  • Wrap ribs in aluminum foil and let them rest at room temperature.
  • Grill the corn.

After dinner:

  • Whip the cream; assemble and serve the shortcakes.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 8 ears corn
  • 1 small Savoy cabbage (about 1-1/4 lb.)
  • 1 large carrot (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 small celery root (about 10 oz.)
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 small bunch fresh marjoram
  • 1 small bunch fresh chives
  • 1 small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 1-1/2 pints strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 3 medium lemons
  • 1 Granny Smith apple

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 2 racks St. Louis-style spareribs, 3 to 3-1/2 lb. each (or 3 racks baby back ribs, 2 to 2-1/2 lb. each)
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 14 oz. thick-cut bacon (12-13 slices)
  • 10 oz. (1-1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk

Other Groceries

  • 2 cups hickory wood chips
  • 1 lb. dried Great Northern beans
  • 6 cups lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup hard apple cider
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 2 jarred roasted red peppers
  • 2 Tbs. poppyseeds

Pantry Staples

  • 13-1/2 oz. (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. dry mustard
  • 2-1/2 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • 2-1/2 tsp. sweet paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1-1/4 tsp. celery seed
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. celery seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu

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