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The Secret to the Best Fourth of July Barbecue

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The Secret to the Best Fourth of July Barbecue

July 2, 2012

Some men murmur the names of other women in their sleep. My husband calls out to his favorite barbecue joint. Nudged awake, he describes his love like this:

The best barbecue I ever had was on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, at the world-renowned Salt Lick. The barbecue sauce is sublime, and unlike any I’ve tasted. The secret ingredient: mustard, which also accounts for its yellowish hue. Trust me on this–the secret is in the sauce.

I buy that stuff by the case. I used to get it straight from the Lick, but these days, even some Whole Foods stores stock the stuff. The trick is using it wisely (see recipe below). And don’t forget to hide the bottle:

Photograph by VXLA via Flickr.
Above: Photograph by VXLA via Flickr.

Above: The essential ingredients for the Cheater’s Best Barbecue are baby back ribs (half pound, minimally, per customer), a dry rub, cider vinegar (either brush onto the ribs or put in a spray bottle), and a bottle of Salt Lick barbecue sauce.

Salt Lick Barbecue Sauce Dry Rub

Above: A six-bottle Sauce and Dry Rub Gift Pack is $29.95 from Salt Lick.

Instructions:

  • Massage your baby-back ribs with a dry rub. Rib rubs are all roughly the same; let’s not sweat this part. This one will do just fine.
  • Fire up your grill. Make sure you cook the ribs on a LOW heat (325 or even lower) for two hours or more. Baste those pups a few times with cider vinegar, which will further break them down. By the three-hour mark, your babies will be falling off the bone.
  • Before you remove them, lightly brush on some Salt Lick barbecue sauce. All we’re doing here is gilding the lily–don’t waste too much time cooking them beyond this point. The sauce is for show.
  • After the sauced ribs are hot, plate them. Serve with extra sauce (in a bowl, not the bottle.)

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