Sunday, September 4, 2022

Labor Day Recipes


For the family cookbook I'll probably never get around to compiling, here is a Labor Day barbecue recipe that we love. Also for Independence Day cookouts along with the salmon that my wannabe New England side loves.

Barbecue Spareribs prepared following Judith Huxley's superb method in her Table for Eight...

 But following the recipes in Mary Emmerlings' American Country Cooking for the sauces...

I begin 3 days ahead by making the Mopping Sauce:

Combine and simmer over low heat in non-aluminum saucepan for one hour, stirring when you think about it:

2 sticks unsalted butter

4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups vegetable oil [I now use avocado oil]

2 cups fresh lemon juice

2 cups Worcestershire sauce

1 cup prepared mustard

1 medium onion, minced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced [germ removed]

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

That is the only sauce we mop the ribs with while cooking and if it's just RH and I eating we no longer make the sauce below to serve with it. I'm including it here because everyone loves it.

Barbecue Sauce for Eating, makes 2 quarts:

Melt 1 stick unsalted butter in non-aluminum saucepan over moderate heat and sauté 1 medium onion, minced. Then add 1 garlic clove, minced.

Add: 2/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons prepared mustard

1 5 oz. bottle of A-1 sauce

8 oz. tomato sauce

14 oz. ketchup

Cook, stirring occasionaly for at least 3 hours.

Cool both sauces, cover and refrigerate. Warm both up to use. 


Now to Judith Huxley's directions. Her wonderful book, which I wrote about on another post here, is a little pricey now. If you can find one for less than $50, grab it even if the cover is missing as the hardback is beautiful.

The 2nd day: wash the spareribs, as many as 7 pounds, pat dry with paper towels. Marinate in stainless steel roasting pan, or enamel bowls, with:

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, about 6-7

2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cover pan with plastic, not foil, and refrigerate overnight, turning the ribs as you can.

On morning of 3rd day: Remove the ribs from the pan or bowls and drain marinade into a saucepan. 

Put metal rack in bottom of large roasting pan and arrange ribs in single layer if you can, fat side up.

Bake uncovered in 250 degrees F. for 3 hours. Remove from oven and let cool.

Very important--cut into SINGLE rib portions! The picture below is before they were cut. You want all the crispy edges you can get.

Finish over a charcoal fire on medium heat, basting often with the Mopping Sauce and turning with tongs for about 40 minutes. 

One rainy day I did skip the grilling and finished them off in the oven at 350 degrees F. for an hour. 

Serve with the Eating Sauce!

When RH and I are eating these by ourselves now we just fix corn on the cob to go with the ribs and I make a wedge salad based on Xavier Faucan's famous recipe that is still served at Jimmy Kelly's and Belle Meade Country Club here in Nashville. 

I wash Iceburg lettuce and soak it in ice cube water early in the morning, drain and refrigerate, wrapped in towels.

The Faucon Salad has traditionally been served with blue cheese or Roquefort dressing. I used to make a wonderful Roquefort dressing but RH can no longer eat it so instead I mix up a dressing that was in the Tennessean newspaper, I think back in 2008. It is by Elizabeth Cole and Kris Geist who served it with their Tomato Salad at the Tomato Arts Festival in Nashville. It is our favorite mayonnaise based dressing.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 1/2 teaspoons Maille mustard

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 small garlic toe [germ removed], minced.

Then I prep the rest of the ingredients of the wedge salad:

hard-boiled eggs, crisp bacon, minced green bell pepper, sliced scallions, thinly sliced radish, sliced long sweet peppers, tomatoes

A well-deserved Labor's Day rest to my U.S. and Canadian friends and others enjoying holidays around the world. We all need them, don't we?

My apologies for a long post that perhaps no one but myself may be interested in. I've felt as if I couldn't stop writing simply because there was one subject, one dear lady, that I couldn't yet bring myself to write about. 

This has been a brutally difficult week for friends of my dear friend Tammy who has commented here and at my other blog for almost ten years now. Poppy and I and other blog friends are trying to adjust to a world without our dear Tam who passed away after a recent stroke. 

As her wonderful brother kept a group of us informed and updated we truly felt that our feisty friend would have the strength to fight her way back to our world once again. It was not to happen this time. 

Tammy was a loyal little soul who championed those in pain in our world, whether animal or human. Sometimes she had to withdraw even from us for a short while when the world's pain became too much for her.  

Tammy might have even skipped commenting on this post because she just could not have let herself think about an animal having given its life to provide our Labor Day menu. I always wanted to apologize to her when I published a post like the one above. 

I miss Tammy so much. I miss knowing that she's there, a few states away from me. I miss getting emails that nearly always ended in her asking me to hug BreeBree and James Mason. 

In the group of friends of Tam who got emails from her brother about her progress or lack thereof, one thing that we all told him (the brother Tam always called the Marine) was that our world, each of us, would not be the same without his precious sister but that we would treasure the sweet memories of what she meant to us.

Please forgive the mixture of the mundane of this post with the message of loss. I didn't think I could yet write about my friend and then I went ahead and did it and I don't have the heart or brain energy to do them both over separately. 

It's been that kind of a week.



  1. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend, Dewena. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing Tammy's blog, but from what you've written she sounds like a beautiful soul. It's heartwarming how friendships are formed through our blogs. And so heartbreaking to lose such beautiful friends.

  2. Losing a friend is difficult, and you've written so tenderly about Tammy. Blogging friends can become so dear.
    Your rib recipe sounds delicious! I used to make a mopping sauce and an eating sauce, too, but don't do that any longer.
    Hugs to you, Dewena.

  3. First and foremost, I am so sorry that you lost your friend, Tammy. Our blogging friends almost become like real-life friends, don't they? Please allow yourself the time and room to grieve. Be gentle with yourself.
    Those ribs and sauce look amazing and I'm not even a rib fan! I think you and your husband are a great cooking team.
    Sending love and a gentle hug.

  4. Dear Dewena,

    Thank you for this wonderful tribute to our Tam. Today marks exactly one week since we got the devastating news about our special, sweet, caring and loving friend, who passed away peacefully, thank the Lord, early that morning, after a last effort to recuperate from a stroke. It has been one of the longest, saddest, most somber weeks of our lives.

    Yes, we instantly felt her absence, didn't we, the sudden silence, where her feisty, witty and wise words filled the pages of our correspondence! Her emails to us will be treasured forever, and when I am ready to reread them, I will feel her precious presence surrounding us with love and kindness and compassion, and so many other deeply endearing virtues that Tam generously bestowed upon those she treasured.

    She will never be forgotten, but forever remembered, and loved.

    Sending you hugs,

  5. Barbecue spareribs are the best! I always like to see your meals displayed on your pretty blue dishes. A wonderful picture of RH holding up the ribs and smiling. I'm so sorry to hear about your dear blog friend. Our blog friends truly become like family to us. Thinking of you, Dewena, and sending thoughts of comfort and love.


  6. I'm sorry to hear about your friend Tammy. It sounds to me like she would have rejoiced in your post about barbecued ribs and all the lovely fixings.
    I do love reading your posts - they "fortify" me after a week of being too serious about my history class.