5@5 is a food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
We're positively slab-happy it's summer. There's something inherently appropriate about spending the longer, sunnier days at a picnic table, unabashedly attacking a rack of smoky, pink-tinged ribs with the exhilaration of 300 Spartans.
Perhaps no one shares that sentiment more than Myron Mixon, champion pitmaster, cookbook author and chef/owner of the Pride & Joy Bar B Que restaurants in Miami and New York City.
His pointers for remarkable ribs will stick with you long after you've finished reading. Pro tip: Don't forget the wet naps.
Five Tips and Tricks for Mouthwatering Ribs: Myron Mixon
Fact: Americans are in a fiery, long-term love affair with their backyard grills, and the CNN Library has the stats to prove it.
62 – Percent of Americans who own a grill.
79.1 million – Americans who have grilled out in the past 12 months, according to the U.S. Census from 2010.
I lived in a fifth-floor New York City walk-up apartment with no yard when I started getting the itch to put food to flame. I was drawn to it like a moth, for reasons I couldn’t quite grasp, and which now smolder at the core of my food-loving soul.
Whenever my friend Ali was out of town, I’d let myself onto her back deck to fire up her kettle grill after watering her plants. Since I took pains to replace the charcoal and scrub the grate as cleanly as I could manage, she was kind enough to issue me a key.
Some people maintain that Memorial Day officially marks the start of grilling season and Labor Day, the end. Those people, for the most part, are wrong. Some folks maintain the flame in snowdrifts up to their thighs. Others won't haul out the hibachi until late September because it'll finally be cool enough to cook outside without wilting like a hothouse gardenia.
So what we're saying is, so long as our spatula isn't actively frozen or melted to our hands, and monsoon spray does not prevent us from lighting a charcoal chimney, we're going to be outdoors, putting flame to food and quaffing a cold beverage. Why don't you just come along and join us?
Catch up on the rest of our great cookout and picnic tips below, and if you run into a sticky grilling situation - we're here to help. Share your burning questions in the comments or Tweet us @eatocracy and we'll have your festivities back on track in no time.
Achieve Grilling Greatness
Editor's note: For more on Hannah Storm, don't miss "Sanjay Gupta, MD" on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday and 7:30 a.m. ET Sunday.
ESPN "SportsCenter" host Hannah Storm suffered severe burns as the result of a propane grill accident at her Connecticut home on December 11. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta spoke with her recently. Here is an edited version of that interview.
CNN: Is it hard for you to just be by that grill where this all happened, psychologically?
Vegetarians are (mostly) not here just to ruin your good time. Really. I swear. I was one, myself for seven years and all I wanted at a cookout was to hang out with my friends, and not have to worry that the omnivores would gobble up all the meat-free sides before I got to the table.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the bounty of the season and make sure all my guests leave full and satisfied - no matter how they choose to chow down.
Here's the cruddy thing about ribs: you can spend hours upon hours lovingly seasoning, basting and smoking a rack to melting, knee-knocking perfection, and at least one of your guests is going to be sitting there thinking, "Well, if I had been manning the grill, I would have..."
Fine. They get to host next time. Meanwhile, rest assured that there are as many ways to prepare ribs are there are meat-loving lunatics with nothing better to do than to spend four or more hours slaving over a hot grill. You're not going to please everyone, but if you follow these basic guidelines (and add your own touches along the way), there's an awfully good chance you'll at least please yourself.
For a safer grill cleaning method:
Remove the grates - and any other removable elements - from the grill and use a lightly dampened sponge to remove grease, rust and baked-on food. For tougher spots, make a paste of three parts baking soda to one part water and work that in with a ball of crumpled heavy-duty foil until they've worn away. Rinse away any residue with water and a soft, non-wire brush and dry all parts thoroughly.
We've all seen, smelled, eaten and regretted some mighty bad grilling mishaps over the years, and it's always such a shame. The meat is juuust a little overdone, under-seasoned, inedibly dry, or even reeking of creepy chemicals. With just a few tweaks, dinner would have been a winner.