BBQ ribs and apple crisp for Labor Day


I really can’t believe that summer is coming to an end and Labor Day is here!

It’s been a crazy summer for us all. But Labor Day still means eating some delicious seasonal foods, and Ohio has the best! What I’m hungry for is some barbecue ribs and corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, and apple crisp. In Ohio we have the best pork. We grow the best tomatoes. Our corn this time of year is unbelievable. And the apples are ready to be picked!

Since I don’t want to be cooking all day on Labor Day, I’m going to start my ribs a day or two before. I’ve adapted a recipe from Bon Appetit where you season the ribs with a rub, wrap in foil and bake for two to three hours and then refrigerate. Then on the day you want to serve them, heat your grill. Add a little broth and the pan drippings to your favorite barbecue sauce. Then baste and grill the ribs for about 10 minutes. It’s a good way to get most of the work out of the way and be flexible about when you actually want to eat. You never know when the kids might stop by for an outdoor picnic!

My apples are just beginning to come on the trees and we have lots of different kinds. We started years ago when we first bought our home, planting different kinds of apple trees for each of the kids. First we planted a Spitzenburg for Pat (he loved Thomas Jefferson, and that was his favorite). Then we planted a Red Rome Beauty for Jill, a Macintosh for Becky, and a Jonathon for John. Over the years we added lots more and have lost some of them. In recent years we planted some of the dwarf variety that are resistant to disease and these are producing very well. Whether you are making a pie or apple crisp, a variety of apples makes it more flavorful. So I am just using all that are ripe. I like to mix up the topping and keep it in my refrigerator. Then I can just peel a couple of apples for Mike and me, put some of the mixture on top and cook in the microwave for a quick dessert.

And Maybe I can talk Mike and the kids into cranking some ice cream!

Easy Barbecue Ribs


2 Tablespoons kosher salt

1 Tablespoon garlic salt

1 Tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 pounds baby back ribs (8 racks) or spareribs (4 racks)

Chicken broth (or water)

1-2 cups barbecue sauce (store-bought or home-made)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix together rub ingredients in small jar. Place each rack of ribs on a double layer of foil. Sprinkle rub over ribs, both sides. Wrap racks individually and divide between 2 baking sheets. (Keep reserved rub in jar if you are only making half a recipe of ribs).

Bake ribs until very tender, about 2 hours for baby back ribs, 3 for spareribs. Carefully unwrap ribs (pour juices into Pyrex cup and reserve). Cool ribs completely. You can bake the ribs up to 3 days ahead. Cover and chill juices. Re-wrap ribs in foil and chill.

Heat gas grill to high (or build medium-hot fire on charcoal grill). Add broth or water to juices to measure 1 1/2 cups. Whisk in barbecue sauce.

Grill ribs, basting with barbecue sauce mixture and turning frequently until nicely glazed and charred in places and heated through, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board and cut between ribs to separate. Serve with additional sauce.

Apple Crisp

8 cups peeled and sliced tart apples


1 cup oats

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 stick butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place apple slices in greased casserole dish. Add 1/2 cup water. Mix topping ingredients thoroughly and sprinkle over apples. Bake 30 minutes until apples are tender and topping is brown.

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Fran DeWine

Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine is a Cedarville resident, Yellow Springs native and guest columnist.

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