I am SO excited to blog this week!!! I’ve been full of ideas for the last few weeks, and with Canada’s big 150th birthday fast approaching (next weekend!) I thought it would be fun to put together a menu for a backyard cookout! Specifically, a Canadian-style backyard cookout. I’ve been thinking about some of my favourite foods I like to make if we’re having a big BBQ.

Last Canada day, we hosted some of our family for the whole weekend. It was super fun, and when my family gets together, we pretty much just eat and drink the entire time. I always love making menus for when the family comes to visit.

Last year we had the ultimate backyard cookout. Three full days of it. And if I can remember correctly, my BBQ ribs, coleslaw, and macaroni salad, definitely made an appearance. The ribs and macaroni salad are definitely Canadian dishes. All three are always popular among the crowd. Typically, the macaroni salad is the first thing to disappear, and nobody has ever turned down ribs.

When you cook ribs, they should be fall off the bone tender. There’s nothing worse than biting into rib meat, and it’s hard, dry, and stuck to the bone.

Good news: My ribs are juicy, tender, fall off the bone, and VERY easy to make. They take a little prep work, but once that part is done, it’s smooth sailing from there. Want a sneak peek?

So what’s my secret to getting tender, juicy, fall-off-the-bone ribs every time? I use back ribs, and I bake them tightly covered, low and slow in the oven for a few hours.

I typically buy my ribs from Costco, because they are extremely meaty, and they are very large, so they feed a lot of people. They come in a pack of two, and they easily feed 8-10 people. I bake them for 3 hours. If you get smaller ribs from the grocery store, they won’t take as long to bake, probably about 2 hours.

To start: grab a large sheet pan (bigger than the standard 9×13) and cover it with foil. Carefully with a sharp knife, start out by separating the ribs into groups of two bones. Place the knife in between two bones, and slice down alongside the bone, cutting away from you. Place the cut ribs meat side down, and once they are separated, lightly dust them with your favourite dry rub. I love to use Barbarians Steak Spice, but you can use whatever you like.

Once both sides have been covered with the dry rub, make sure they are meat side up, and tightly seal the ribs with aluminum foil. Pop them in the oven at 280 degrees. They’ll take 3 hours to cook. And your house will smell amazing after the first hour.

Once the ribs are done, pull them out and check them. If the meat has come away from the end of the bones, they are done. Remove the foil, and let them sit out to cool.

That is what they look like after they’ve come out of the oven. I usually just leave mine on the pan and let them sit on the counter for a few hours until I’m ready to BBQ them.

About 10 minutes before you’re ready to serve them, preheat your BBQ to medium-high, and place the ribs on the barbecue. Grab your favourite BBQ sauce, and a brush, and pour a small amount on each rib, and brush all sides.

Make sure they’re nicely coated. You want to keep them on the grill long enough that they are re-heated, and the BBQ sauce starts to get sticky on the ribs. About 5-8 minutes. Then, grab a platter and serve!

Ahhh those look sooo good! And they were amazing. Just saying!

I wanted to pair the ribs with some awesome summer salads. Macaroni salad is always a hit, and very Canadian. I add dill pickles to mine for an extra zing, and people always notice and comment how much they love the pickles in there. And coleslaw just goes great with any kind of barbecued pork. Plus, I love a good creamy coleslaw to help wash down all that BBQ sauce and meat! My coleslaw is very comparable to what you’d find in a fish and chip restaurant.

When hosting summer parties, salads are always the way to go. They are great because they’re easy to make, and they feed a lot of people.

We definitely feasted on all this delicious food this weekend. Just so I could ensure all these recipes were perfected, so you can make them at home. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!

I hope I gave you some ideas for your own Canada Day cookout, and stay tuned because there is more to come this week. Hint: there was no dessert in this post 😉

And as my dad always says… you can never eat too good!

Happy 150 Canada! It’s time to eat, drink, and celebrate.

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BBQ Back Ribs (Fall-off-the-Bone)

This recipe is a fool-proof method to get juicy, tender, fall apart ribs every time. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 2 racks baby back ribs divided* - see instructions
  • 1/4 cup dry spice rub - chicken and rib I use barbarians
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce your choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 280 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with foil and set aside.

  2. On a large cutting board, lay the first rack of ribs meat-side down. Carefully, with a sharp knife, separate the ribs into groups of two bones. Place them meat side down close together on the baking sheet, and repeat with the second rack.*

  3. Once the ribs are separated, lightly sprinkle the side that's face up with the spice rub. Turn each piece over and repeat, evenly covering the top side with the dry rub.

  4. Place aluminum foil over the ribs and over the edge of the sheet pan, ensuring the ribs are tightly covered.

  5. Pop in the oven, and bake for 2.5-3 hours.* see note.

  6. Ribs are done when the meat has shrunk off the edge of the bone, and you can pull the meat away from the bone with a fork.

  7. When they are done: remove the top foil from the pan, and let them sit out to cool. They can sit out for 1-2 hours. See instructions below for reheating.

Before serving:

  1. Heat the barbecue to medium-high heat. Place the ribs on the barbecue and brush barbecue sauce all over each piece - covering both sides. BBQ ribs for 8-10 minutes, turning them halfway through, and cooking until they are just heated through, and the sauce is starting to dry and get sticky.

Recipe Notes

*Cook time will vary based on the size of your ribs. I buy my ribs from Costco, so they are large racks and take longer to cook. If you have smaller racks of ribs, check them after 2 hours. 

Use any barbecue sauce you like! My favourite is a smoked hickory.

 

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Macaroni Salad

A traditional, yet perfect summer side for any BBQ dinner. Quick, easy to make, and super delicious! Make ahead of time for dinner or potluck.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked macaroni noodles
  • 1 can white flaked tuna
  • 1 small red onion finely diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper finely diced
  • 1 stick celery finely chopped
  • 3-4 dill pickles finely diced
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Remove from heat, drain, and let it cool.

  2. In a large bowl, add the tuna, red onion, red bell pepper, celery, dill pickles and cherry tomatoes. Mix together and once the noodles have cooled, add them in with the vegetables.

  3. Add the mayonnaise and pepper to the bowl, and mix until all the ingredients are well combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Recipe Notes

This salad is great to make ahead of time for a party. The longer it sits, the better it tastes, so it can be made the day before and stored in the fridge until you're ready to serve.

 

 

Creamy Coleslaw

A restaurant-inspired creamy coleslaw that is similar to what you'd find served with your fish and chips. Delicious and creamy, you'll want to go back for seconds.

Servings 4 people

Ingredients

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup grated carrot 1-2 small carrots
  • 1/2 small onion finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp honey or granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp avocado oil or any mild oil

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add the cabbage, carrot, onion and pepper. Mix together and set aside.

  2. In a large measuring cup, add the mayo, vinegar, honey, oil. Whisk together until it is smooth.

  3. Pour the dressing into the big bowl with the vegetables, and mix until the dressing is evenly coated and the salad is nice and creamy. Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

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