This Fourth of July weekend, millions of Americans will huddle around outdoor pits, ovens, and grills to slowly cook themselves meaty, patriotic dishes, slathered in sauce. Barbecue is about as red, white, and blue as American cuisine gets.
The history of grilling begins shortly after the domestication of fire, some 500,000 years ago. The backyard ritual of grilling as we know it, though, is much more recent. Until well into the 1940s, grilling mostly happened at campsites and picnics. After World War II, as the middle class began to move to the suburbs, backyard grilling caught on, becoming all the rage by the 1950s.
4 pounds bone-in country-style pork ribs
1 cup water
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon celery seed
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Preheat oven to 325°. Place ribs in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, covered, 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour 1 cup sauce over ribs; turn to coat. Let stand 15 minutes.
Drain and discard sauce from ribs. Grill ribs uncovered, over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until browned, basting with 1 cup sauce and turning occasionally.
Serve with remaining sauce. Yields 4 servings.