The Grillmaster 4-burner gas grill

Labor Day was first celebrated on September 5, 1882, in New York City. The Central Labor Union started the “workingmen’s holiday” which quickly became a federal holiday in 1894 after a number of workers died at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals following a Pullman strike, and President Cleveland made reconciliation with the labor movement a top political priority. The first Monday in September of each year then became the official Labor Day.

Labor Day, as outlined in the original proposal, was to be celebrated with a parade exhibiting the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations followed by a festival for the workers. Today in the minds of sports fans, Labor Day marks the start of football season, and for other Americans, it is the symbolic end of summer: a day of rest and parties and thus the barbecue.

At the start of summer, John and I gifted a grill as a housewarming present to ourselves. After consulting Consumer Reports, we settled on a Grillmaster four-burner propane grill from Lowe’s for $200. I can recall the night my then fiance lugged the box upstairs to our balcony where he proceeded to piece the thing together in order to passively avoid having to do any wedding preparations. Since Houston summers are notoriously sweltering, we only used the grill once back in May the day after our wedding to celebrate my birthday. After that, the Grillmaster donned its cover, and the balcony was abandoned except for a few anolamous balmy evenings which, sadly, I could count on one hand. Also, toward the end of summer, we finally dish out the money for a 16-foot retractable SunSetter awning after I complained my husband’s ear off about how it’s too hot and sunny on the balcony. This reason to have an awning party combined with our underused grill and the fact that it was the end of summer days, we decided to have a barbecue to commemorate the first Labor Day in our new home and as husband and wife.

Now every barbecue must have some sort of meat or meat byproduct or else it cannot be considered an authentic Texas BBQ. This time, we decided to do pork spareribs, chicken legs, and Wisconsin beer brats. As a bonus, I’m going to cram two recipes into today’s post.

Let’s start with the ribs. I love pork spareribs. I think they’re much juicier (read: fattier) than their beef or baby back counterparts. Spareribs are taken from the belly side of the rib cage below the section of back ribs and above the sternum. They’re flatter and contain more bone than meat not to mention more fat which is why they’re so succulent. On the other hand, baby back ribs are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and spareribs below the loin muscle. The term “baby” means the ribs are taken from a market-weight hog rather than a sow. Back ribs have meat between and on top of the bones; and are shorter, curvier, and meatier than spareribs. Needless to say, I always get pork spareribs. People often say ribs are hard to cook, but I’ve found that I have yet to mess up a rack of pork spareribs. The recipe is very simple too.

Note: Sorry there are no photos of the food–the carnivorous friends of mine were vultures and tore up all the food before we had a chance to take pictures.

Recipe: Rudy’s Oven-Roasted Pork Spareribs

Ingredients

  • 2 racks of ribs, about 3 lbs. each
  • 1/2 c. Rudy’s dry rub
  • Rudy’s or Stubb’s BBQ sauce

Instructions

  1. Wash ribs if so desired. Rub Rudy’s dry rub liberally over both sides of the rib racks. Wrap in 3 layers of aluminum (preferably heavy duty) foil and let marinate overnight in refrigerator.
  2. Remove from fridge and let racks return to room temperature before cooking.
  3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook for 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let meat sit in its own juices for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve with barbecue sauce.

Quick Notes

Okay, so I cheated. I used Rudy’s ready-made dry rub instead of making my own. But when you are designated to entertain/feed dozens of people, why make it harder on yourself when the Rudy’s rub is perfectly delectable? I got my Rudy’s rub from the Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q

I also cheated in the fact that I said we were having a barbecue, and my first recipe used the oven. You can grill ribs on low heat for hours if you want to keep it real. Remember to keep the grill cover closed. This will produce fall-off-the-bone ribs, but you can achieve the same thing in the oven in a fraction of the time. Of course, I know some true barbecue experts out there will say it’s totally different in taste or whatnot, but in our defense, we needed our grill space for other things (see below).

Variations

You can also baste the ribs before popping them into the oven with the barbecue sauce, then uncover the ribs in the last 15 minutes or so of cooking to thicken the sauce. I find that some people prefer dry ribs, though, which is why I skip the basting, opting to use barbecue sauce as a dipping condiment instead.

Cooking time (duration): 70

Meal type: supper

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Our next recipe called for the same Rudy’s dry rub but on chicken instead of pork. (See how versatile this Rudy’s dry rub is?) We chose to grill chicken legs because: (1) dark meat is juicier than white meat; (2) legs are easier to eat and less fatty than thighs; <3) they take less work than, say, burgers; and (4) they’re less expensive than breasts or beef.

Recipe: Rudy’s Grilled Chicken Legs

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken legs, skins removed
  • 1/2 c. Rudy’s dry rub
  • olive oil
  • Rudy’s or Stubb’s BBQ sauce

Instructions

  1. Apply dry rub liberally over chicken legs. Let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat grill to medium-low heat. Oil grill grates with olive oil.
  3. Grill chicken for 50-60 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time.
  4. Chicken is done when it is no longer pink on the inside. Serve with barbecue sauce for dipping.

Quick Notes

Remember to oil the grates before each new piece of chicken. This helps the meat not stick to the grates while cooking.

Variations

If desired, baste the chicken with barbecue sauce in the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. Don’t make the mistake as I did in college of basting the meat with sauce before grilling–this will result in a burnt mess. You want to baste it towards the end, giving it just enough time to thicken and stick onto the meat but not to turn into a charred, carcinogenic mess.

Cooking time (duration): 65

Meal type: supper

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Everyone marveled at how yummy the ribs and chicken turned out. And with it being this easy, why not add it to your barbecue repertoire? You can feed the masses while not having to do too much work. Stay tuned for the other chicken recipe and the Wisconsin wieners. And remember, if the Blind can Cook it, so can you.

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3 Discussion to this post

  1. dark mark says:

    had rudy's twice this wkd…their brisket is unbelievable and their ribs are incredibly tender. I'm afraid to try salt lick b/c i know i'll only be able to have it every once in a blue moon that i'm in the austin area.

  2. […] from the previous post on the Labor Day barbecue, here is the other two recipes that made up our grilling […]

  3. Justin Soul says:

    This is one of my favorite recipe of BBQ. I love to read out the updates on your blog because each time i visit your site i get new recipe along me. Thanks

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