Serious Entertaining

Seasonal menu planning for the perfect dinner party.

Serious Entertaining: Game Night Essentials: Bourbon Baby Back Ribs

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[Photograph: Carrie Vasios]

I moved to San Francisco at the same time that Jim Harbaugh came to town to take the helm at the 49ers. It would have been the perfect time to get behind that team, to don the red and gold. I'd have been supporting a fellow newbie to the city and though I think Harbaugh has a chip on his shoulder the size of Baltimore, I can respect his drive and we-can-do-it attitude.

Yeah, I could have got in when the 49ers were still underrated and my change of allegiance wasn't suspect as a blatant change of allegiance to winning. But I just wasn't ready to call myself anything but a New Yorker. And how could I know the 49ers would crush the NFC West? I mean I can eat more turnovers in one sitting than Alex Smith threw all season. I've come to think Frank Gore is pretty fun to watch, if your idea of fun is 1,211 rushing yards and 13 wins so far this season. It would have been a great parallel story to follow, a personal Mighty Ducksian tale of two SF transplants really knocking it out of the park. I could cheer for my new city and feel like I'd become a part of something great.

But no. Instead I desperately tried to TiVo every Jets game, continuing to root for a team that had already made me a pariah in my Giants fan family. Well you know what makes Mark Sanchez less of a boob? Bourbon. Or Santonio Holmes less of an underachieving a-hole? Bourbon. What calms me down after I've lost my voice yelling at the TV that someone needs to pull the sweater vest up from over Rex Ryan's eyes? Bourbon.

Given the bourbon lying around my house this season, it seemed only natural to incorporate it into my other game time tradition: ribs. In fact I'm obsessed with this bourbon-based sauce and I go as far as to dunk my ribs in a small bowl as I'm eating. In my opinion, it reaches the tangy-spicy-sweet trifecta and perfectly compliments the moist, smoky ribs.

The ribs themselves are fall off the bone tender thanks to a three part cooking method. First they're put in a low temperature oven for a few hours, then cooked over indirect heat on the grill for about three hours more. Finally they get brushed with bourbon sauce and quickly seared over high heat.

Making these ribs are by far the most successful choice I've made all season. My new 49ers friends agree.

Get the Recipe

Bourbon Baby Back Ribs ยป

About the author: Carrie Vasios is the Community Manager of Serious Eats and writes the Wake and Bake, Cookie Monster, and Serious Entertaining columns. She likes perusing her large collection of cookbooks while eating jam from the jar.

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