May is National BBQ Month, which also means it’s officially grilling season at its best! Thanks to its fresh taste, endless marinade varieties, smokey flavor, and even the char marks, firing up the grill is a sure sign that summer is just getting started.
Food poisoning tends to peak in the summer, so it won’t hurt to cover some reliable safety rules that you packed away with the barbecue tools last fall, so check out this refresher guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To really get the season sizzling, we’ve rounded up some authentic Arkansas recipes that will have you wishing these wistful summer days could last just a little longer.
The Best Baby Back Ribs
Recipe courtesy of Taste of Home
- 2 racks baby back ribs (about 4 ½ pounds)
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup soy sauce
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 6 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Dash cayenne pepper
- Barbecue sauce, optional
- Remove thin membrane from ribs and discard. Combine broth, soy sauce, ½ cup sugar, vinegar, olive oil and garlic. Place ribs in a shallow baking dish, place two-thirds of the marinade over the ribs. Turn to coat; refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.
- Drain ribs, discarding marinade. Combine remaining sugar, salt and seasonings; rub over both sides of ribs.
- Grill ribs, covered, on an oiled rack over indirect medium heat for 30 minutes on each side.
- Baste with reserved marinade, or if desired, barbecue sauce. Move ribs to direct medium heat and cook until pork is tender, turning and basting occasionally, 20 to 40 minutes longer.
Arkansas BBQ Burger
Recipe Courtesy of Food Network and North Bar in North Little Rock
- 4 6-ounce Angus beef patties
- 4 1/4-inch-thick slices bologna
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 4 brioche buns
- 4 slices provolone cheese
- 4 romaine lettuce leaves
- 8 thick slices Roma tomatoes
- 1 ½ cups barbecue sauce
- Cook the beef patties in the oil on a griddle over medium-high heat, 4 minutes per side. Set patties aside and fry the bologna over medium heat, 2 minutes per side.
- Build the burgers on the brioche buns, topping each patty with provolone, lettuce, tomato slices and some barbecue sauce. Serves 4.
Grilled Corn on the Cob
Recipe Courtesy of Eat This, Not That
Fun note: “How to grill corn” is the most searched grilling-related phrase in Arkansas, according to Eat This, Not That.
- Peel the husks and remove the silk strands.
- Heat a large cast iron pan over medium high until very hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Place as many ears of corn as will fit in one layer in the pan.
- Turn the corn every few minutes to ensure it gets charred nicely all over.
- Remove ears from the pan and rub with softened butter and season with flaky sea salt.
Chef Mark’s Heart Healthy BBQ Sauce
Recipe Courtesy of Arkansas Heart Hospital and Chef Mark Elliotte
- ¼ cup diced onion
- ¼ cup diced bell pepper
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ cups tomato purée (no salt added)
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (low sodium)
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 ounces apple juice concentrate
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Hot sauce, to taste
- In a large stock pot, cook onions, bell pepper, garlic, apple juice and vinegar at medium heat.
- Cook until it becomes a syrupy consistency, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for one hour.
Grilled Pork Chops with Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce and Granny Smith Salsa
Recipe Courtesy Arkansas Living Magazine
- 4 pork chops ½ inch thick
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 2 tablespoons red onion, minced
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons apple juice
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup apple butter
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
- Place pork chops in a large dish and add the apple juice. Marinate for 10 minutes, then flip and marinate another 10 minutes. Remove from the juice. (Do not over-marinate, or it will make the pork tough.)
- Drizzle olive oil over pork, then heavily salt each side and add pepper. Set aside.
- To make the salsa: Core the apples and then place them in a food processor. Chop and transfer to a bowl. Add all remaining salsa ingredients and stir. Set aside.
- To make the sauce: Stir together the apple butter and barbecue sauce.
- Heat grill to 400 degrees F. Place pork on the grill and cover with lid. Grill 6-7 minutes, then flip the pork. Cover and cook for 4 minutes. Open the lid and cook another 1-2 minutes, or until pork is done.
- Serve with apple salsa on top and barbecue sauce on the side. Makes 4 servings.
Stay Safe This Summer with Farm Bureau Insurance
Stay safe while you’re grilling! Make sure that your grill is 10 feet away from the house while in operation, and make sure your home is properly insured with a homeowners insurance policy from Farm Bureau Insurance.