Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Summer in February - Mid March Edition

Usually around Valentine's Day or school's winter break, we get together at my in-laws for Summer in February (also known as Rib and Pierogi Day). The day is essentially a summer barbecue to help break up the middle of winter. Due to a number of scheduling conflicts and a seriously cold winter, the annual celebration was pushed back to this past Sunday.

Sadly, I haven't fired up this barbecue pit since last February. Which is too bad because it is fun cooking food over coals. Have I mentioned propane sucks lately? This is just a square of old concrete blocks that have slowly started to crumble but can hold it together enough to support and old commercial oven grate. I rearranged some of the blocks Sunday morning and I was one course off. So I took a few similarly sized logs and put them around the top. A piece of stainless steel sheet metal goes on top of the logs as a lid. The burn barrel in back is used to burn wood down to coals.

I had three racks of ribs in there and about three pounds of sausage at the end. The came out pretty well. I should have trusted my instincts instead of the clock and pulled the ribs a little sooner. I think I have mentioned this before, the coals go on the ground in a pit like this. Not a problem in the summer, but in the winter the ground thaws and puts out the coals (ask me how I know). Buried under the coals is an old cast iron grate to keep the coals off the ground.

Here's Aunt Carol hard at work getting the pierogi cooked.

She brings her own frying station and sets up in the garage. It is actually a pretty slick setup. She's got two electric fryers and an electric warming tray. I believe it only tripped the circuit twice.

After a handful of appetizers - taco dip, a warm spinach/artichoke dip, shrimp cocktail and some killer stuffed mushrooms (these were my downfall - I ate a lot of those), dinner was ready.

There were ribs and pierogi, sausage, salad, deviled eggs and potato salad (my mother-in-law makes a superior tater salad).

For dessert, there was an apple square and a few flavors of ice cream. If you went home hungry, it was your own damn fault. It's been two days, I don't think I've fully recovered yet.

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