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The Smoking Musket Tailgate Menu: The Other White Meat

WVU opens Big 12 play and we open our ovens and our grills.

It’s the opening week of Big 12 Conference play and our Mountaineers are on the road to play Oklahoma State. Not that the game location matters, as West Virginia fans wouldn’t be allowed to attend at Milan Puskar Stadium.

BUT THAT IS OK! We can hold the game day party at home!

As I mentioned on Cowboys Ride For Free podcast this week, for some reason, my mind weirdly goes to pork when planning a tailgate for Oklahoma teams. The state may be the fifth-largest cattle producer, but it’s behind Kansas and Texas. Also, I love grilling pork. It’s a meat group consistently dismissed when we talk tailgate foods unless it’s in sausage form.

We’ve done ribs before, but we’re going back to this timeless favorite in a way that, for me, cooks the ribs the best and gives them the best flavor. And we are adding some extra pig for dessert.

Mom’s Baby Back Ribs

For me, this is the best way to cook ribs if you don’t have a smoker (or don’t want to tackle that process). It’s a method my mom has used for as long as I can remember (shout out to Darcy), and it consistently produces the best-cooked, tender ribs and still imparts that smoky flavor you want.

The process is simple: rub the ribs generously with your favorite rub, cook the ribs low and slow in the oven with some liquid (water, broth, whatever!), remove and sauce the ribs, finish cooking them on the grill.

This cooking method works better than just about any method because it allows the ribs to slowly cook in their own juices in a controlled environment. Then, you sear them on the grill to inject the smoky flavor while also reducing the sauce down to the sticky sweetness you want on your ribs.

Because we’re tailgating at home, this is the perfect way to utilize all the cooking appliances we have at our disposal.

Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts Slaw

Maybe this is me growing older, maybe it’s just that the human race is finding better to prepare them, but I have an ever-growing appreciation for Brussels sprouts. I love how they’re more hearty cabbage that responds better to acid and heat. And I love how the crisp up in the oven.

Using shredded raw sprouts will give a bittersweet base to this slaw. Adding the honey mustard enhances that experience while the toasted almonds balance the bitterness.

Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Peaches

Bonus pork in your belly. You are welcome.

While the ribs are in the oven, you can assemble these tasty treats, as they do take some patience to assemble. Once the ribs have finished on the grill, you can throw these flavor nuggets on, turning consistently for about 12 minutes. You want to ensure they caramelize, but not burn, so watch them carefully.

Serve them on top of a lightly dressed bed of arugula. That may seem fancy, but Kroger carries cartons of arugula and it’ll elevate both the presentation and the eating experience. I promise.

Home tailgating can be great, so make sure you stay safe and still celebrate Mountaineer football the best way we know how!