Guest Recipe: Smokey Weber Grilled Baby Back Ribs

My friend Sean is pretty much the Weber grill master.  Anything that can be grilled, he tries it.  Here is his recipe for baby back ribs.  Warning: these take a lot of time, but they are definitely worth it.  Thanks, Sean!

Smokey Weber Baby Back Ribs

Smoking ribs on a Weber grill is my favorite thing to do on a grill. It seems no matter how tried and true your recipe or process is, it always challenges you more than cooking any other piece of meat. From finding and applying the right rub, maintaining grill temperature between 250 – 300 degrees throughout the process, removing the ribs and applying the mop every hour, and ultimately taking the ribs off the grill to the delight of all your starving guests, it’s a lot of work, and a lot of fun.

The process is fairly simple:


Get a drip pan and fill it completely full of hickory chips. I have had the same ole’ bag of chips for years and they don’t cost much. If you use them a few times they will more than pay for themselves. A great add to the Weber pro’s toolbelt. Fill the drip pan completely full of water and set aside. You will need them to soak for at least 30 minutes, and as long as possible while you prep your ribs.


In an empty sink, cut open each rack of ribs from the plastic wrap they come in long ways. You do this in the sink because each rack has a lot of bloody juice inside of it and it will splatter.

Turn the ribs meat side down and take a knife along the less meaty side and poke the white membrane away from the bone. Being extremely careful, slowly rip away the membrane in one piece away from the bone until fully removed. At the end, it gets pretty fatty, simply remove the excess fat with the knife. It’s extremely important to get this right in one fell swoop, or the process can take a lot longer and you will become frustrated. In order to ‘rip it right’ I always wash my hands completely before each rack so that my hands aren’t’ as slippery and I can do it right each time.


Get your rub on. Measure and drop all the rub ingredients in a small sauce cup and mix with a teaspoon until the mixture is consistent. With your good hand, sprinkle a little at a time on each rack, 80% on the meaty side and 20% on the boney side. It’s really important to have an equal amount on each rack so switch between them on each sprinkle. The next step is important. Don’t rub in the rub! If you rub your hands all over the ribs, the rub will ‘clot’ and it won’t adhere to the ribs. Instead, with clean damp hands, “press” in the rub gently, and the rub will adhere perfectly. Set the ribs aside for at least 30 minutes so everything has time to settle in.


Measure and mix all of the sauce ingredients and cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes. If it starts to bubble, turn down the heat and simmer.

While the initial sauce ingredients are cooking, take one slice of pineapple, and five cloves of garlic and mix together in a food processor as thin as possible. Place ingredients in the sauce mixture. Set aside the fully cooked sauce in a plastic resealable container so you can keep the extra for another day! I usually refrigerate it immediately to help it stand up a bit and get thicker.

Get the grill ready. If you don’t have a chimney starter, get one. I am a Weber fanboy, and I like to make the process as easy as possible. So I use a quick start nugget, and place the chimney starter on the grill bottom after removing the grates and setting aside. The chimney starter will light the coals right away, and after about 15 minutes you will notice the briquettes at the top have lit because they will be grey along the edges. At that point, dump all the charcoal onto one side if the grill and go inside and get your wood chips.


Sprinkle the wood chips all over the briquettes. On the other side of the grill, fill up a drip pan with water and a few loose chips and place it inside the grill. At this point, you can put the grill grates back on, and close the grill lid and close the hole completely to get the heat down to grilling temperature.

You may be asking why we dump the charcoal on only one side of the grill. The reason is that we need to produce indirect low heat. In this situation, indirect is the key aspect. Regardless of temperature, using indirect (non right above the coals) will allow the grill to be used as an oven without directly burning your meat. Remember, you will have this meat on the grill for over  three hours so you must protect your meat as much as possible. Even 20 minutes with direct contact to the heat could burn your ribs so be careful. Secondarily, the target temperature for smoking is between 250 and 300 degrees. If you are like me you usually get above this temperature. If you use a rib rack and use indirect heat, the cooking time is between 3 and 4 total hours.

Take the rack out to the grill. Place the rack on the indirect side of the grill. The official weber rib rack is a little unstable so don’t put the ribs in each slot until you get it on the grill. For the first hour of cooking, place the ribs in the rack bone side down all facing the same way. Close the grill, and set your timer for one hour. No matter what happens, have faith, and do not open the lid.

Remove the lid after the first hour and check your progress. You will see that you have made a lot! You will also see that some of the ribs have cooked more than others, so remember where the hot spots were.


Take all the ribs off the grill and place them on a long dish and glop them on both sides with the mop generously. I usually use almost half the mop after the first hour. The vinegar in the mop will provide a great deal of acidity to the ribs, which has the effect of loosening the tendons in the meat, helping to provide the ‘fall of the bone’ you will need and expect when eating amazing ribs. Repeat the same steps the second hour, preparing the ribs for the key final hour of cooking.

While executing the process of mopping and rearranging the ribs in the rack a few key things to note:

  • Flip the ribs each time. First on the boney side then on the meaty side.
  • Note the hot spots and there will be hot spots. Put the more cooked ribs away from those slots and switch them with the less cooked ribs. If you do this, by the end, all the ribs should be cooked close to evenly
  • You should add 6 – 8 briquettes to the fire while you are mopping. Leave the lid off so that the coals get maximum air and the coals light while you are mopping.
  • Try to keep this process under 5 minutes. It’s kind of a production so if your ribs aren’t being cooked for 10 minutes that’s not idea.


After the third hour, you ribs might be cooked. The way I test this is by grabbing an entire half rack with tongs in the middle of the rack. If the ribs start to tear away they are ready. Also, they should be coming off the bone almost a half of an inch. If they aren’t cooked, keep em on for up to one more hour. As you can see in the picture above you could be looking like barbeque happiness at this point. It’s fun. If so, its grill achievement unlocked.


Now it’s time to take the ribs off the grill and apply the “texas crutch”.  Take the ribs off and bring them inside. You should have a large strip of foil ready for each rack. Place each rack in the foil one at a time and apply the sauce. Wrap them up and set aside for thirty minutes. This will do three things:

  • The cooking process will finish up
  • The sauce will settle in
  • It will give you time to prepare your sides and cook your veggies on the grill

Now, time to enjoy!


Now, time to enjoy!!!

Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

Your next beach read is here, party people. 


I was originally going to wait until I ordered this for my library and read it (steal it, let’s be honest) before I gave it to the kids. After seeing a few reviews though, I went ahead and pre-ordered it. What drew me in? Most reviews have compared this to Revenge (I mean, if it was a YA book). And let me tell you, I love Revenge. 

So here’s the gist: Frances is on a cruise ship with her parents when it is attacked. She and another girl, Libby, manage to escape. When they are rescued from their lifeboat, only Frances is alive. She finds out that the attack is being played off as a capsizing, and that somehow an important political figure also “miraculously” survived. She puts into motion a plan fueled by rage – she will find out what really happened and make the responsible parties pay. 

This book has mystery, intrigue, romance, action, and lots of twists. I suspect that your only beef will be, as was the case with me, that it ends. 

Happy reading! 

Lazy Post: Favorite Chicken and Quinoa Casserole

Summer is here, people. While I am easing into summer break (i.e., reading as many books as possible and not doing much else), I am currently baking my favorite quinoa casserole. It is not one of my own recipes, but you should all check it out here. This Mexican-style chicken and quinoa casserole is amazing and lasts all week long. Boyfriend does not even complain about it. 

Pro tip: top it with a little diced avocado if you really want to love your life. 

I will hopefully get some book reviews up this week! 

Caramel Apple Salad

Since we have discussed my fear of mayonnaise-based salads, we should probably talk about marshmallows in salads. Naturally, this reminds me of every episode of How I Met Your Mother that involves Marshall’s mother, and I do agree with Lily that creamy salads are maybe not really salads. Similarly, marshmallows in salads are generally weird. Except in this one. It is another summertime dessert staple and honestly, maybe I will stop calling it a “salad” in an attempt to remove the weird stigma that may only exist in my very strange mind. We’ll see how motivated I am this summer. 

But hey, bonus – this dessert has under 100 calories (89, to be exact) per serving! 

Caramel Apple Salad

Serves 8-10

  • 3 c. chopped apples (I have zero patience for peeling so I don’t. Also, any kind of apple works but Granny Smith is delightful in my opinion.)
  • 8 oz. crushed pineapple in juice (do not drain)
  • 1 package fat free, sugar free instant butterscotch pudding
  • 1 c. mini marshmallows
  • 8 oz. fat free Cool Whip

In a large bowl, combine apples and pineapple and its juice. Once apples are covered in juice, sprinkle pudding mix over them and stir to coat. Fold in Cool Whip, and the fold in marshmallows. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. 


The Only Potato Salad I Will Eat

It is barbecue season! Potato salad is pretty much a staple this time of year, but I missed out on it for the first twenty-some years of my life. Why? Mayonnaise-based salads generally weird me out. They generally look mushy and pretty gross. You are also taking a big chance when you eat them, because some deranged person may have used Miracle Whip, i.e., the Devil’s condiment, in the salad. [I obviously have strong opinions about mayonnaise.] Anyway. I did not try any potato salad until I was probably in my mid-twenties. Little did I know, my mom and grandmother make the world’s best potato salad. I have been spending the last few years eating as much of this stuff as I can to make up for lost time. 


The Only Potato Salad I Will Eat

As always, quantities are an estimate. Adjust to your taste.

  • 6 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Tbsp bacon grease (If you skip this, I can’t even.)
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2-3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped green onions
  • Enough mayonnaise to make everything stick together (I used lite mayo and add spoonfuls until I like the consistency

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain, then add to a bowl. Pour bacon grease and white vinegar over the potatoes and season with salt and pepper (and a dash of garlic powder if you’re feeling wild). Let sit for a few minutes (at least 10). Add remaining ingredients, folding in mayonnaise until you like the consistency. Season more if necessary. 

Fun fact: this is delightful while it is still warm. 

You’re welcome. 

Best Ever Cilantro Lime Dressing

Hey guys! I’m alive! With one more full week of school before summer break, I can see the light. I did a ton of meal prep today and decided to go with a salad for my lunches most of the week. I am using a dressing that I adapted from Nordstrom. I always forget how great this dressing is and when I do make it I wonder why I don’t keep it sound more. So, here you go: 

Best Ever Cilantro Lime Dressing

Good for 4-6 entree salads, I think

  • 1/4 c. seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 T lime juice (add more to taste at the end of you would like)
  • 1 small clove of fresh garlic
  • 1 T honey
  • 1/4 c. canola or vegetable oil (I still don’t know the difference between the two)
  • 3/4 c. roughly chopped cilantro
  • Pinch each of salt, pepper, and ground chipotle chili pepper (do not confuse this with crushed red pepper)

In a small food processor, blend rice vinegar, lime juice, garlic and honey. Add oil in a thin stream (If your mini food processor isn’t fancy enough to have an opening for this, you can add the oil all at once. The world won’t end, I checked.) Add spices and cilantro, pulsing until the cilantro is blended to your liking. Add to everything in sight and enjoy. :) 

Slacking But Still Alive…

The end of the school year push is in full effect! I have been coaching my softball team until all hours of the night some nights, and have been following the 21 Day Fix by Beachbody. Moral to the story: I have had zero them to dream up awesome new recipes. I am still reading, but have not found time to sit down and write my reviews. Hopeful I will have more time to write in upcoming weekends. Until then, head over to my Instagram page to see what I have been reading:

Have a great week, everyone! 

Recipe: Breakfast Rice Bowl

Sunday mornings are for cleaning out the refrigerator around here.  Today I threw a few things together to make a super delicious, very healthy rice breakfast bowl.  As always, you could use just about any kind of produce.

Breakfast Rice Bowl

Serves 2

  • 1 c. brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 c. chopped baby spinach
  • Italian seasoning
  • 4 large eggs
  • Sriracha (optional, but highly recommended)

Spray two medium/large skillets with cooking spray.  Heat one on medium-high heat, and saute peppers and onions for approximately 3-4 minutes or until soft.  While that is happening, heat the other skillet over medium heat.  Crack the eggs into the new skillet and season with salt and pepper. While the eggs cook, add rice, spinach, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning to the peppers and onions.  Flip the eggs after the whites are set and finish cooking for another minute or so.  Serve two eggs over half the rice and vegetable mixture.  Add a little Sriracha for extra awesomeness.


Recipe: Super Healthy Chicken Bowl 

I love starting the week with an ultra-healthy meal, so this week I tweaked a recipe that I found in Fitness magazine. I omitted some ingredients and went about a few things my own way. The recipe called for a rotisserie chicken, and lately I have been into baking my own chicken instead of buying one already cooked.  I do this mainly because grocery store rotisserie chickens are tiny and it is cheaper to buy a big one whole and cook it yourself. This leaves lots of leftover chicken so boyfriend can use it on nights I do not provide enough (or any) meat in our dinner.  This time, I cooked it in the crock pot so it was ready when I got home from practice. And by “I cooked” I mean that I prepped it and left it for boyfriend to get going during the day. 


Super Healthy Chicken Bowl

Serves 2 

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 onion, in large chunks
  • 6-7 whole garlic cloves
  • Mrs. Dash salt-free blend
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped or one package pre-cut cauliflower (I always just grab one of the tubs at Kroger)
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk (or skim milk)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 c. baby spinach
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice

For the chicken:

Early in the day, pat chicken dry and remove all that stuff that’s in the chicken (gizzards, etc.). Stuff onion chunks and 3-4 whole garlic cloves into the chicken. Season with salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash. Set in top of 4 aluminum foil balls (to hold it up) in a large crock pot. Cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours.

When the chicken is done, boil a large pot of water. When it reaches a rolling boil, add cauliflower and 2 whole cloves of garlic. Boil for about 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender. Drain.

While cauliflower is boiling, mince the remaining (1) garlic clove. While cauliflower is draining, add a tiny swirl of olive oil to a large skillet. Add minced garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds on medium-high heat. Add spinach and sauté for about 2 minutes, then finish with lemon juice and salt and pepper. 

After cauliflower is drained, add butter and milk, along with salt and pepper. Mash with a hand mixer. 

Whew! Now, just layer spinach, cauliflower, and about 3 oz. (1/3 c.) of the chicken. Top with more salt and pepper if necessary and marvel at how healthy you are. Then start thinking about what kind of a snack you will have later, but mostly focus on the healthy thing. 

This sounds harder than it really is. Honestly, once the chicken is done the rest takes 15 minutes (plus boiling time), tops. This is great for a quick weeknight meal and you can use the leftover chicken later in the week. 


Recipe: Crustless Ham and Spinach Quiche

You guys know I am all about the quiche.  I am also all about finding creative ways to use leftover produce in my refrigerator.  When I was cleaning it out today, this little beauty was born.  This recipe would also be perfect for leftover Easter ham!  

Crustless Ham and Spinach Quiche

Serves 6

  • 4 slices deli ham
  • 3 eggs + 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 c chopped spinach 
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped shallots (onion works too)
  • 3/4 c unsweetened plain almond milk (use regular cow’s milk if that’s your thing)
  • 1/3-1/2 c shredded Havarti cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray pie plate with cooking spray. Lay ham slices in the bottom of the plate, like a crust. 


Sauté shallots until soft, about 2 min. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, egg whites, and almond milk in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in shallots, spinach, and cheese. Pour on top of ham.


Bake for 40 minutes, or until set. Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges. Enjoy!