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Thousand Oaks

Now You’re Cooking: Guac and Baby Back Ribs

Father’s Day is just around the corner! The older I get, the more I realize it’s about the time you spend with Dad more than anything else. There’s no better way to make unforgettable memories with your dad than with a Father’s Day meal he’s sure to love.

My dad and I share a passion for gardening, so I always try to incorporate his seasonal produce into recipes our families can enjoy together. This guacamole is quick and easy to make, naturally gluten-free and always a hit at gatherings! And, it takes full advantage of my dad’s garden-fresh cilantro, jalapeños and tomatoes.


(Makes about 3 cups, 6 to 8 servings)

3 large, ripe Hass avocados

¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

¼ cup finely chopped white, yellow or red onion (about ½ of a small onion)

1 jalapeño or serrano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 small clove garlic, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon finely grated lime zest plus ½ of a lime, juiced

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 plum tomato, cored, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

Tortilla chips for serving

Cut avocados in half and then remove the pits. Score the inside of the avocados with a knife and scoop out the flesh into a medium bowl. Using a fork, roughly mash. Add cilantro, onion, jalapeño, garlic, lime zest, lime juice and salt; stir to combine. Fold in tomato. Taste and season with more salt or lime juice, if desired. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.

Whenever I make baby back ribs, I can’t help but think of my dad. He’s known for his delicious ribs! Although we prepare them similarly, I like to add a dry rub for seasoning. A dry rub is a combination of herbs, spices and aromatics with salt that gets applied to the ribs a couple of hours before cooking to pack in the flavor and trap in moisture.

In this recipe, mustard is brushed all over the ribs – this not only helps the dry rub adhere to the ribs, but the vinegar in the mustard helps tenderize the rib meat. Once the ribs are seasoned well, they are baked low and slow in the oven until nearly fall-off-the-bone tender. The ribs are then brushed with a little barbecue sauce and finished on the grill to caramelize.


(Makes 4 to 6 servings)

2 racks (about 5 ½ pounds total) baby back ribs

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

⅓ to ½ cup of your favorite pork dry rub

1 bottle (12 fluid ounces) beer, such as amber ale or 1 ½ cups apple juice

Store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce (we love Bull’s Eye Original)

Remove the membrane from the racks by using a dull knife and sliding the tip under the membrane that covers the back of each rib rack. Holding a paper towel in your hand, grip the membrane at one end of the slab and tug to remove it (it should come off in one piece).

Spread a thin, even layer of mustard over the ribs. Sprinkle dry rub evenly over each rack – really rub it in! Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a roasting pan with foil for easy cleanup. Place a rack on top of the foil – this allows for heat circulation on all sides of the ribs. Place room temperature ribs on the rack, meaty side up. Add the beer (or apple juice) to the pan; cover with a large sheet of foil that’s enough to cover the pan. Fold the foil along the edges of the pan to seal the ribs.

Bake ribs for 3 to 4 hours or until the meat is tender but not quite falling off the bone (the bake time will depend on the size/thickness of your ribs). Remove the pan from the oven and carefully remove the foil.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Transfer ribs to the grill, and cook, occasionally turning and brushing with barbecue sauce, until charred, 3 to 4 minutes per side (alternatively, brush ribs with barbecue sauce and broil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side). Remove ribs from the grill and allow them to rest for 5 minutes. Cut between the bones to serve. Pass with barbecue sauce for dipping, if desired.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, wrap ribs in foil and heat in a 300-degree Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes or until warmed through.

Happy Father’s Day!

Chris Garboski managed the HQ test kitchen at Nestle and produced more than a thousand recipes in her 25 years with the company. Her proudest accomplishment has been raising triplets.


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