6.24.2016

Summer BBQ Dinner Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyKCMasterpiece #CollectiveBias

One of our favorite things to do when the weather warms up is having our friends and family over, grilling out, and enjoying good food and each other’s company. It has been a usual occurrence since my husband and I began dating, with me making a last minute plan to have everyone over and him putting up with agreeing with me. I always seem to have a theme in mind also. We've done many a seafood boil and we host a pumpkin carving party every fall.

No matter the theme or my vision, we're usually firing up the grill for some delicious dishes. One bonus about grilling out is not heating up the entire house with a hot and overworked oven! One of our recent favorites is ribs. It all started last Labor Day weekend when my husband wanted to try and cook some ribs the day before our little man was due to arrive. Not only were the ribs delicious, but little baby Dawson must've thought so too because I went into labor just a few hours later! :)

Since then, my husband purchased a smoker and we have enjoyed delicious ribs and other meats many times since then. One perk of living as near as we do to Kansas City is all of the delicious food options nearby. Kansas City is famous for its BBQ and we sure do love it! Even so, it is nice to be able to easily recreate that delicious BBQ in the comfort of our backyard at times.



We decided to host a gathering and share our love for ribs with our family. While I was picking up the ribs at our local Dillon's Food store and was trying to decide what sides to make, I discovered KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub, a completely new offering in the condiment aisle. I had a hard time deciding whether to go with the Original or Sweet Honey flavor because they both sounded so good!

Each box contains two 2 oz. pouches that, when with mixed with liquid, will create 16 oz. of BBQ sauce. What I love most about this versatile product is that you can use KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub as a dry rub to season your meat before grilling, or you can mix it with any combination of liquid from water to soda, beer, juice or even an alcoholic beverage to make a delicious sauce, marinade or dip by customizing the flavor to your tastes or to complement the rest of your meal.



While we planned to use the sweet and smoky BBQ mix on our pork ribs, it would be excellent on chicken, beef, or even vegetables too. I even added the dry mix to my pasta salad dressing for a sweet, smoky kick. Check out this store locator to see if a Kroger or Dillon's Food store near you carries it. Bonus: click here to find a coupon for $1.00 off 1 KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub if you use this coupon on your purchase sometime between 6/18 and 8/31!

Once I found the KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub, I started to piece together the rest of our meal. I knew I wanted to make the entire meal quick and as simple as possible, and without having to do too much work in my kitchen. It is also a necessity that most everything is able to be prepared in advance so that I can enjoy spending time with the guests rather than working away in the kitchen throughout the whole party. I went ahead and picked up a variety of fresh produce knowing that I wanted to grill some vegetables for a healthy and yummy side dish, and that I wanted to make a dessert using the grill as well.

I knew right away that fresh, juicy peaches would be a great summer flavor and would compliment the BBQ flavors perfectly. I took a quick mental inventory of what I had on hand at home and was able to get everything else in my one stop at Dillon's. I made a quick run to the liquor store and picked up some bourbon to use in a cocktail and also to use as one of the liquids to mix up my BBQ sauce. I also decided that the KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub would make a fantastic seasoning to spice up a dressing for a simple pasta salad side dish.

The menu for our party quickly fell into place:
  • Peach Bourbon BBQ Ribs 
  • Root Beer Sauced BBQ Ribs 
  • Creamy BBQ Pasta Salad 
  • Grilled Vegetables 
  • Grilled Peaches with dairy-free vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce
  • Peach Berry Frozen Yogurt Pops (as a cool treat for the kids) 
  • Peach Bourbon Cocktails
As for the decor, I wanted a kind of rustic vibe with some elegant touches. Since our parties are always kid-friendly, I did not want to go over the top and make anything too fancy, but just a few sparkly touches add the perfect bit of class to our outdoor BBQ.

Rib Prep:

We started the food prep the day before our party, mainly because the ribs are best when seasoned the day before so the meat has time to absorb all of that delicious flavor. My husband started by rinsing the ribs, trimming the fat, and peeling away the membrane that connects the bones on the backside of the racks. Once this was all complete, he smeared each rack with mustard and seasoned one rack with the KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub, Original, and the other rack with the Sweet Honey flavor.

Once seasoned, he wrapped each rack in plastic wrap and placed them in the refrigerator on a sheet tray to rest overnight. We decided to smoke the ribs part way and then finish them on the grill, so I just removed them from the refrigerator the next morning about an hour before he was ready to get started, just to allow them some time to take the chill off. See below for our complete rib recipe.



Cocktail Prep:

My drink incorporated both fresh peaches and the juice from canned peaches. I also planned to use the peach juice for one of the BBQ sauce mixes and the canned peaches for the kids' dessert pops.

Using similar ingredients and flavors for each dish or drink allowed me to have fewer ingredients to pick up as well as not having to waste anything. I sliced two of my fresh peaches, and made my simple syrup for the cocktail recipe so that it would chill in time for the party. I separated the canned peaches and the peach juice into containers so they would both be ready when I needed them.

Sides and Dessert Prep:

For my easy side dishes, I made sure that everything could be prepped in advance. I sliced up all of the vegetables we planned to grill and just popped them into a bowl to store in the fridge until it was time to get grilling.

For the pasta salad, I went ahead and cooked up a box of gluten-free elbow noodles, drained and rinsed them, and then just set them aside while I prepared the rest of the additions. I wanted to include bacon, which I crisped up in the oven and allowed to cool while I was chopping veggies.

Since I was using fresh peaches for dessert, I washed them, sliced them in half and removed the pits, then just stored them in a bowl for later. I already had a jar of my dairy-free caramel sauce on hand in the fridge, which I knew would just take a few minutes to heat up before dessert.

For the kids' dessert pops, I used the canned peaches and just a bit of the juice to blend up a puree which I poured into little zip-top pouches and placed in the freezer. Just a few hours and they would be ready for the kids to devour!



Party Decor:

I strung up some outdoor lights above the table and placed some little citronella candles in glass cups as well as a few in blue Mason jars, which would look pretty after dusk as well as help keep the bugs at bay. Glass Mason jars for water and melamine dinner plates kept the rustic feel, while some pretty white napkins with a blue stripe and bamboo placemats with a silvery thread added a little sparkle. I have also really been into the galvanized metal trend right now and I already had a serving tray that went perfectly with the utensil caddy I also picked up at Dillon's in the seasonal aisle.



All of the decorating and food prep was so simple to do and took me about the same amount of time as it took my husband to start the ribs in the smoker. By the time he was ready to pop them on the grill, I had everything else ready to go too. The best part was that we could enjoy our company while finished up the last few steps at the grill before it was time to eat!

Check out the full recipes and instructions as well as my shopping list below!



Peach Bourbon BBQ Ribs

Makes approximately 4 servings

  • 1 4-lb. rack of ribs (we used St. Louis style) 
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard 
  • 1 box (2 pouches) KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub, Sweet Honey 
  • 1/2 cup apple juice 
  • 1/2 cup peach juice (drained from 2 cans Kroger peach halves in 100% juice) 
  • 2 Tbsp water 
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon 
  • 1 Tbsp honey (optional) 

Prepare ribs the night before by rinsing them, trimming off any excess fat, and peeling away the thin membrane connecting the bones on the back of the ribs.

Coat the ribs liberally with the yellow mustard, and sprinkle one pouch of Sweet Honey flavored KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub evenly over both sides of the rack. Wrap the rack in plastic wrap, place it on a sheet tray and refrigerate overnight.

About 4 hours before planning to serve, cut the rack into two parts and place on a smoker rack. Your smoker should be prepared with BBQ wood chips and heated to about 260 degrees. Smoke for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from the smoker and carefully wrap the ribs with aluminum foil, making a pouch with the closure on top so that the juices will stay in the pouch. Pour the apple juice inside the foil underneath the ribs. Wrap the foil up so that it is tightly closed around the ribs. Return to the smoker for another 1 1/2 hours.

Prepare the BBQ sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together one pouch of dry rub mix, peach juice, water, bourbon and honey. The sauce may seem thin at first but will thicken as you whisk it and will thicken more as it sits.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to about medium heat. Remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap them from the foil, and place each rack directly on the grill grates. Baste with prepared BBQ sauce and cook on the grill for about 15-20 minutes at medium heat. Carefully remove from the grill, place ribs on a platter, and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.



Root Beer BBQ Ribs

Makes approximately 4 servings

  • 1 4-lb. rack of ribs (we used St. Louis style) 
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard 
  • 1 box (2 pouches) KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub, Original 
  • 1/2 cup apple juice 
  • 1/2 cup root beer 
  • 2 Tbsp water 
  • 2 Tbsp bourbon 

Prepare ribs the night before by rinsing them, trimming off any excess fat, and peeling away the thin membrane connecting the bones on the back of the ribs.

Coat the ribs liberally with the yellow mustard, and sprinkle one pouch of Original flavored KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub evenly over both sides of the rack. Wrap the rack in plastic wrap, place it on a sheet tray and refrigerate overnight.

About 4 hours before planning to serve, cut the rack into two parts and place on a smoker rack. Your smoker should be prepared with BBQ wood chips and heated to about 260 degrees. Smoke for 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from the smoker and carefully wrap the ribs with aluminum foil, making a pouch with the closure on top so that the juices will stay in the pouch. Pour the apple juice inside the foil underneath the ribs. Wrap the foil up so that it is tightly closed around the ribs. Return to the smoker for another 1 1/2 hours.

Prepare the BBQ sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together one pouch of dry rub mix, root beer, water and bourbon. The sauce may seem thin at first but will thicken as you whisk it and will thicken more as it sits.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to about medium heat. Remove the ribs from the smoker, unwrap them from the foil, and place each rack directly on the grill grates. Baste with prepared BBQ sauce and cook on the grill for about 15-20 minutes at medium heat. Carefully remove from the grill, place ribs on a platter, and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.



Creamy BBQ Pasta Salad

Makes about 10-12 servings

  • 2 cups mayonnaise (use eggless mayo so you don't have to worry as much about refrigeration) 
  • 1/4 cup apple juice 
  • 2 Tbsp Sweet Honey flavored KC Masterpiece® BBQ Dry Rub Mix 
  • 1 Tbsp honey 
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 
  • salt + pepper to taste 
  • 1 box dry gluten-free elbow noodles, prepared as directed, drained and cooled 
  • 10 pieces crisp cooked bacon, crumbled 
  • 1/2 purple onion, diced 
  • 1 cup frozen peas 
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced 

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, apple juice, dry rub mix, honey, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the cooked and cooled noodles and toss to coat completely in the dressing.

Add the bacon, red onion, and frozen peas. Fold until well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired (be careful with the salt at first if your bacon is salty, as you may not need much). Top with sliced green onions and additional bacon crumbles for garnish.



Grilled Fresh Vegetables

Makes approximately 6 servings

  • 1 1/2 purple onion, sliced thick 
  • 2 red bell peppers, sliced thick 
  • 2 yellow bell peppers, sliced thick 
  • 2 medium or 3 small zucchini squash, sliced lengthwise into strips or spears 
  • 1 bunch green onions 
  • Olive oil spray 
  • Garlic salt, Italian seasoning, or other preferred seasoning 

Wash and slice vegetables in advance. Preheat grill to medium heat. Spray veggies with olive oil spray. Using heat-proof tongs, place veggies on grill, either directly on the grates or in a grill pan. Season with garlic salt or other seasoning.

Grill for about 8 minutes, or until veggies are tender crisp and have grill marks, turning halfway through. Remove veggies from grill and place on a platter. Cover with foil until ready to serve.


Grilled Fresh Peaches

Makes 6 servings
  • 3 fresh pieces, cut in half, pits removed 
  • Olive oil spray 
  • Vanilla ice cream (I used dairy-free cashew milk frozen dessert) 
  • Caramel sauce (I used my dairy-free version) 
Preheat gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Spray peach halves with olive oil and place cut-side down on the grill grates or on a preheated grill pan. Grill for 3-5 minutes per side or until peaches begin to soften and have grill marks. Remove from grill and place on a platter to cool slightly before serving.

Top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle with caramel sauce. Add a fresh mint leaf for garnish (optional).



Peach Berry Frozen Yogurt Pops

Makes 10-12 pops, depending on size

  • 2 cans peaches in 100% juice 
  • 1/4 cup peach juice (reserved from the can) 
  • 12 frozen whole strawberries 
  • 1 5-ounce container strawberry or vanilla flavor dairy-free yogurt 

Place canned peaches, 1/4 cup reserved juice, frozen strawberries, and yogurt in a blender and pulse until smooth. Pour into zip-top pouches or popsicle mold and freeze for 4 hours or until frozen solid. Remove from freezer just before serving.



Peach Bourbon Cocktails

Makes about 4-6 servings

Simple syrup:
  • 1/2 cup water 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • fresh mint stem and leaves 
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, sliced 
In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and stir mixture with a rubber scraper to combine. Turn heat to medium low and add the fresh mint and ginger. Simmer for 5 minutes to infuse flavor. Strain liquid into a jar and refrigerate until cold (this can be stored for several weeks in the refrigerator).

  • 1 recipe simple syrup 
  • 1 fresh peach, pitted and diced (plus a few thin slices for garnish) 
  • 6 fresh mint leaves (plus a few for garnish) 
  • 4 oz peach juice (drained from a can of peaches in 100% juice) 
  • 4 oz bourbon 
  • 1 liter ginger ale 

In a glass picture, muddle the simple syrup, diced peaches and mint leaves using a wooden spoon. Add peach juice and bourbon. Fill pitcher the rest of the way with ginger ale.

Pour drink over crushed ice in a glass and add a slice of fresh peach and a mint leaf for garnish.











Grocery Shopping List

Meat:
  • 2 4-lb racks St. Louis style ribs 
  • 1 package bacon 
Condiments:
  • 1 box KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub, Original 
  • 1 box KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix and Dry Rub, Sweet Honey 
  • 1 jar mayonnaise 
  • 1 bottle yellow mustard 
Frozen or refrigerated goods:
  • 1 bag frozen peas 
  • 1 bag frozen strawberries 
  • 1 pint dairy-free vanilla ice cream 
  • 1 5-oz container dairy-free yogurt (strawberry or vanilla) 
Canned goods / dry pasta / bottled goods:
  • 2 cans peach halves in 100% juice 
  • 1 liter bottle apple juice 
  • 1 liter bottle ginger ale 
  • 1 can or bottle root beer 
  • 1 box gluten-free elbow noodles 
  • Caramel ice cream topping (make your own dairy-free caramel sauce!) 
  • 1 small bottle of bourbon 
Produce:
  • 2 yellow bell peppers 
  • 2 red bell peppers 
  • 2 purple onions 
  • 1 bunch green onions 
  • 2 medium or 3 small zucchini 
  • 4 fresh peaches 
  • 1 bunch fresh mint 
  • 1 fresh ginger root 
Pantry items: (already on hand)
  • sugar 
  • apple cider vinegar 
  • honey 
  • salt 
  • pepper 
  • olive oil spray 
  • garlic salt or Italian seasoning blend
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