When I think of the Fourth of July, I think about celebrating our independence. There is so much history in this day that many forget and just take the whole day for granted.
Of course fireworks have to be in the mix, and the old-fashioned picnic, and what could be better than an old-fashioned bottle of ice cold root beer in the summer?
Many food historians credit pharmacist Charles Elmer Hires as the first person to commercially market root beer. The drink was actually prepared centuries before, but Hires is credited for its popularity in bringing it to the market.
I have always liked preparing recipes with root beer, including an oh-so-easy pork butt, but my favorite still has to be Root Beer Ribs. I researched a simple rub and a glaze that you can prepare ahead of time.
Believe me when I tell you, the ribs are going to fall off the bone.
I’ll let you in on another secret: I also love to add some root beer to brown sugar and seasoning, minced onion and garlic, bacon and ketchup and mix it in with beans and bake.
To finish off the holiday festivities, get yourself a box of basic white cake mix and substitute the water in the directions with root beer. Add some allspice to the mix and bake as usual. Finish with a cream cheese icing and your Fourth of July holiday ends with a bang.
Don’t forget to chill down some local Lost Trail Root Beer, made in Louisburg, Kan., by our friends at the old Louisburg Cider Mill, to serve with your holiday picnic. Now that’s one celebration.
Root Beer Ribs
2 slabs Baby Back Ribs
2 12-ounce bottles Lost Trail Root Beer, divided
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Mix all rub ingredients and set aside.
Root Beer Glaze:
4 ounces Lost Trail Root Beer
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 green onions, minced
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 cup Thai Red Chili Dipping Sauce
Mix all glaze ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate.
Peel the silver skin off the back of the ribs. In a container, fully submerge the ribs in remaining root beer. Let the ribs soak as long as your schedule permits, to a maximum of 24 hours and a minimum of 3 hours.
Drain the root beer and pat the ribs dry. Transfer the ribs to a large rimmed baking sheet. Add rub all over ribs.
Cover with foil and bake in a 325-degree oven for about 2 hours, until the meat is very tender but not falling off the bones.
Finish the ribs by moving them to a grill over hot coals and turning and basting with the root beer glaze for 15 to 20 minutes.
Chef Jasper J. Mirabile Jr. of Jasper’s runs his family’s 62-year-old restaurant with his brother. Mirabile is a culinary instructor, founding member of Slow Food Kansas City and a national board member of the American Institute of Wine and Food. He is host to many famous chefs on his weekly radio show “Live! From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO 710 AM and 103.7 FM. He also sells dressings and sauces.