First Bourbon & Ribfest

So we are having a BBQ and pool party today. It’s an annual thing though usually on the last day of school and with far fewer guests. So it’s old and new! Guests can drop in any time after 4. Our usual crew, oddly didn’t commit. Both families said maybe. Which isn’t that odd given we see some of them every week in an awesome way. On the other hand the will they or won’t they is too much for my girls to deal with.

The start time is perfect for us grow ups. Enough time for. Mark to run errands and do all the grunt work associated with getting the pool, backyard, and BBQ ready for company, for the Hulk to nap, and for me to finish prepping the food, kitchen, towel carpet (more on this) and have a pr drink (still haven’t grown out of this).

On the other hand. 4 is the worst for my girls who are now parked in front of the tv watch Jem and the holograms. They’ve been bored to the moon and back; a pain in my ass to the moon and back twice and if they weren’t watching TV they’d be fighting or eating. It’s frankly too hot and requires too much supervision to throw them on their bikes or in the pool, and apparently there is nothing else to do in our house -it having been summer vacation for 23.5 hours already.

I’m looking forward to the party and hope it lives up to their expectations. The food should anyway and honestly they are pretty gracious and grateful kids so just the thought of swimming for hours has them excited.

I suppose I should let them get it their swimsuits soon.

After Party Update

Much fun was had with kiddos in the pool for about four hours with a very brief break for food. Then the littlest played before drawing pictures on a five foot long piece of papers and all remaining 8 (out of 13) kids headed for the basement where they played rock band and Lego and watched a movie.

After lifeguarding, bbqing, cooking, cleaning, feeding, and official hosting duties were over, the parental units retired to the living room where amongst shots of bourbon and mescal along with beer, and pitchers of sangria and bourbon sours we, arguably, had more fun then the kids.

Eight hours later, Mark and I cleaned up, which mainly consisted of trying to find room in the fridge for all the leftovers.

I think it is safe to say our first ever ribfest and pool party was a success and we hope everyone else thought so too. Especially given we have commitment from all attendees for next year!

We served:cornbread, bourdon-apricot ribs; hoisin,cola, siracha ribs, lemon-oregano chicken along with homemade bacon-maple syrup-bourbon baked beans, Mark’s antipasta potato salad, and of course, grilled corn with lime-chili-cream butter or lemon-oregano-maple butter.

I’m looking forward to the leftovers and am very glad it’s only Saturday.
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Cornbread: 1 cup flour: 3/4 cup corn; 1/2 tsp each: baking powder, baking soda, salt. 1/2 cup melted unsalted nutter; 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt; 2 eggs. Mix dry. Pour liquid to hold in middle,mix. Combine. Load pan line with butter and parchment for 25 minutes at preheated 425 oven.

The Baked Beans were unintentionally the most complicated dish. I had made a large batch of what were supposed to be red refried beans about a month ago. Soaking dry pinto beans overnight, changing the water, simmering in a pot for hours with dried oregano and bay leaves, fresh thyme, a whole head of garlic and a whole shallot. I then continued to slow cook them with duck stock and duck fat, salt, some adobo, and a pound of onions I’d Caramelized with oil, balsamic, salt, sugar and thyme. While the bag of dried beans is supposed to be cheaper and healthier than canned, I swear I used up an exorbitant amount of energy cooking them! And they still weren’t ready to be smashed. So I threw them in the freezer, and much like my last try at cooking dried beans, this somehow worked. I assume it’s because they absorb more water. But throwing them in a Dutch oven with bacon fat and diced bacon, along with some smashed oven roasted tomatoes, beef stock, and a healthy glug of bourbon. While I was pleased I was able to rescue the beans -and in fact it was one of the first dishes polished off- I’m still inclined to go with plain canned pinto beans next time to save a days worth of cooking time.

Our version of a bourbon sour: bourbon; dash alone bitters; bourbon-soaked cherries with some liquid; pineapple juice.
For the cherries: Bring 1/4 cup agave syrup and 3/4 cup bourbon to a simmer; add 1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon and real vanilla. Simmer for 7 minutes to kill the actual alcohol and enhance the flavours. Let cool slightly. Add two cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted (buy a cherry pitter because OMG they are awesome and do not go unused if you eat even a moderate amount of cherries or olives!). Seal in a jar when cooled and let sit for at least a day before using. Yumm!

Our version of sangria: Grenache wine; bourbon or brandy, grand marnier, sugar; orange/mango/peach juice; frozen blueberries/cherries/peaches/strawberries

Glaze: small bottle Bourbon; small bottle apricot jam; lemon juice, roasted garlic; generous amount maple syrup. Boil until reduced.

Glaze: Hoisin, siracha, ketchup, 2 cans of coke, lime juice. Boil until reduced.

I pre cooked the seasoned, pork back ribs for 2/2.5 hours at 250F to acceptable results. They were a bit more…toothsome then I personally , appreciate. It was, believe it or not, the first time I’d ever bbq’d ribs. I usually make them in a pulled pork style, braised and saucy.

Next year, I might combine both sauces for the glaze. And definitely extend the precook time-maybe on a rack in a roasting pan with some stock (and bourbon!) in the bottom of the pan. We’re also thinking baked potatoes cooked on the grill.

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