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Backyard Summer Shenanigans - Part 1

Backyard Summer Shenanigans - Part 1

| July 06, 2023

In keeping with last month's summer-centric theme, I’ve decided to keep the summer vibes going with some of my favorite grilling recipes paired with some of the awesome games played in the Grover backyard. I hope this inspires you to get your grilling tools, grill, and smoker and drag out the cornhole set!

Smoked Baby Back Ribs 

No summer would be complete without grilling some delicious ribs, and the first time I tried this recipe for Smoked Baby Back Ribs from the Food Network, I was hooked and have been making it for years. 


2 racks baby back ribs (about 3 pounds each)

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon mustard powder

Kosher salt

1 lemon, halved

1 apple, quartered

1 cup apple juice or cider

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Vegetable oil, for brushing 


Special equipment: 8 to 10 cups mesquite wood chips, Small spray bottle

Prepare the ribs (see below). In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, mustard powder, and 2 tablespoons salt. Rub the ribs all over with the cut sides of the lemon and then the spice mixture and place in a large roasting pan or resealable plastic bag. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight

Meanwhile, soak the wood chips in water for 1 hour, then prepare your grill for smoking, filling the smoker box with one-quarter each of the wood chips and apple.

About 30 minutes before smoking, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and let them stand at room temperature. Meanwhile, combine the apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar in a small spray bottle. Shake to mix.

Once the grill reaches 250 degrees F, lightly brush the grates with vegetable oil and place the ribs on the cooler side of the grill, meat-side up. Spray with the apple juice mixture. Close the grill and let smoke for 1 hour.

Replenish the smoker box with another one-quarter each of the wood chips and apples. Flip the ribs so they're meat-side down with the opposite edge of the racks closer to the smoker box. Spray with the apple juice mixture; close the grill and let smoke for 1 more hour. Repeat this process every hour until the ribs are dark brown and tender and the meat starts to shrink away from the bones for about 2 more hours. Remove the ribs from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

How to prep your ribs: Position the ribs meat-side down. Insert a paring knife under the membrane that covers the back of the rack. Loosen the membrane with the knife. Grab the membrane with your fingers and peel off completely.

Game Time!

Now that you are hungry let’s talk about what to play while you are waiting for your ribs to be done or working off everything you just ate! Nothing goes better with ribs than a good game of Horseshoes, but did you know that people have been playing the game since the existence of the Roman Empire?

According to legend, the game of horseshoes is over 2000 years old and was created by the ancient Roman military. Legend has it that Roman soldiers often collected horseshoes discarded by fellow officers while deployed and would play a game where they pitched them at a specific target. Supposedly, this was a version of a game called “quoits” played by Rome’s high society because the equipment was extremely expensive. 

It is said that the game made its way to America after the American Revolution when the Duke of Wellington, in an attempt to insult, called the opposition “pitchers of horse hardware.” Rather than be insulted, it seems the American soldiers thought it was a pretty good idea for a game!

Have fun out there! Until next time…If you like what you’ve read and think your friends and family can benefit as well, please share.


1 Courtesy of Food Network Magazine

2 How To Play Horseshoes [Complete Guide & History] - Elakai Outdoor