Thursday, July 25, 2013

Big Dude's BBQ Ribs and a Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest with Friends and Family

Last week blogging buddy Larry of Big Dude’s Eclectic Ramblings and his family once again took an RV trip to our neck of the woods near Lake Chatuge in Hiawassee, Georgia. For more about their trip and where they stayed, check Larry's post here. You may remember we, along with Meakin's brother Stuart and his wife Sandy, toured wineries in north Georgia last fall with Larry and his wife Beverly and SIL Pat, post here.

This year he brought along his three granddaughters and we thought it would be fun to get together again, but this time have an old-fashioned picnic-style lunch with BBQ ribs and burgers at Stuart's house. Of course no summer picnic is complete without watermelon and to make it even more fun, Meakin suggested a watermelon seed spitting contest for the girls.

This posts looks longer than normal, but never fear, it’s mostly pictures.

Neither of the three girls had ever participated in a seed spitting contest, so a little help and encouragement was needed from Grandmom Beverly. I wish I had a picture of Meakin showing them his seed spitting secrets. It was pricless, but he was the photographer…

They finally mastered the art themselves as you can see from the lead photo, and everyone had a good time.

I had raved about the fabulous sweet and spicy pineapple flavored BBQ pork ribs that Larry made for the annual blogger get-together earlier this year at his house on Tellico Lake on Memorial Day (post with recipe here) and he graciously offered to show us how to make them while he was here.

As he explained to Meakin and Stuart, first you have to remove the silver skin on the ribs. I would have thought that would have been difficult, but Larry made it look easy by just lifting the white skin and, using a butter knife for help, just raised it up with his fingers and discarded it.

Then using a dry rub, he massaged the rub in on both sides of the ribs.

The ribs were then smoked on Stuart’s smoker (notice the wine cork: it was run through the probe of the thermometer to keep it from touching the grill - another nice tip from Larry)

until they were ready for Larry to brush on his marinade made up of pineapple juice, a little more dry rub, balsamic vinegar, and minced garlic. You can find the recipe for the ribs and the marinade on Larry’s blog post here.

The ribs were cooked for a while longer and here’s the finished product. They are exactly how I like them – falling-off-the-bone tender with lots of flavor.

I made a succotash salad that’s been on my blog before (recipe here)

and some Southern pimento cheese sandwiches that got gobbled up before we could get a picture. I used my own pimento cheese recipe (here), but took my inspiration for making the sandwiches from Gena Knox in her charming cookbook Southern My Way.

I like Gena's book a lot, primarily because not everything is fried or smothered in butter. I am a 5th generation Southerner and not all Southerners cooked that way, and that would include my mother and grandmother. And furthermore, in many households, including mine, we had African-American help. In fact I was raised by a lady named Rhoda, who I wrote about one Mother's Day as my "other" mother, post here. I can guarantee you that no racial slurs were ever used or tolerated in my house and I don't even want to imagine how much trouble I would have been in had I used one. Don't believe everything you hear about Southerners. We are not all alike by any means.  Whew, I just had to get that off of my chest.

Photo from Southern My Way

I love the chopped parsley on the side of the sandwiches. James Beard first made chopped parsley on the side of finger sandwiches popular when he introduced the food world to his classic sliced onion sandwiches in 1974. It's simple to do - smear a tiny bit of mayonnaise on the side of the sandwich and dip it in finely chopped parsley.

Stuart grilled burgers and dressed them with his secret sauce and later Sandy made ice cream sundaes for the girls and then the picnic ended with the watermelon seed spitting contest. All in all it was a great day with family and good friends. I want to thank Larry for showing us some of his secrets of how to make great ribs. He is THE king of the grill in my book. Meakin, were you taking notes?

This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, and Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper.

Have a great weekend everyone.


  1. The girls are so cute..little divas:) Great tip re the sikver skin..I hate that part:)

    You all sook so relaxed and comfy..
    You're a great little group!
    Love the parsley tip too..I didn't know..blush.

  2. The girls look so funny, they have a look in there eyes like they are getting away with something bad. What a great tutorial on cooking the ribs. The picture of the membrane removal is excellent.

  3. It looks like you had a great time with your family. Cute girls, fun contest and scrumptious food.



  4. I feel as if I were there--well, all but my taste buds which wish they had been!! I am reminded that it's time to make some pimento cheese around here. True southern pate! My family added sweet pickle relish--not to the cheese mixture but on top. I still do.


  5. It sounds like a fantastic get-together. The photos are wonderful and those ribs are sirens. What a great day this must have been. I'm sure everyone had a great time and found it difficult to get back to the normal routine. I hope you and Meakin are both well. Blessings...Mary

  6. What a great day! How lucky you were to get a cooking lesson from the master of the grill himself. It looks like you have some first rate seed spitting talent there.

  7. What a FUN BBQ party! Seed-spitting...LOL...I would love to join the fun too!

  8. What marvelous feast for body and soul!

  9. Great looking food and my kids don't know how to spit watermelon seeds because it is almost impossible around here to find watermelon with seeds. It tastes better with the seeds.

  10. Wow but those look so yummy my mouth is watering. I bet the girls had fun, I have never heard of a seed spitting contest before! Have a good weekend. Diane

  11. Great job capturing the event Sam and thanks so much for the kind words. You guys are always a blast to be with and even the kids had a good time with us old guys. As always, great shots from Meakin.

  12. Looks like a fun day Sam! Ribs are always great and I love-love-love the pretty parsley on the side of the sandwiches! Off to check out your succotash salad:@)

  13. What fun and great looking food. Just curious why the wine cork is on the grill between the racks of ribs. Something like that speaks out to me.

    1. Susan, I'm glad you asked. I had the same question and was told that the cork was run through the probe of the thermometer to keep it off of the metal. Another of the BBQ King's great knowledge.

  14. Wow Sam looks like you had a great day and such fun filled memories too! I didn't know you have to take the silver skin off the ribs. Thanks for a great tip!
    Enjoy your weekend!

  15. What a wonderful get together! We love ribs and I need to try Larry's recipe and tips.

    I haven't thought about seed spitting in many, many years :)

    You are a true southern lady and I know you are the norm and not the exception!

  16. Oh those ribs look so mouthwatering delicious! The watermelon spitting photos made me smile! I am actually having a hrd time finding watermelons with seeds --seems like they are all being sold seedless in our local stores.

  17. What a fun post, Sam! I remember watermelon-spitting...funny!
    Those ribs look totally delicious. Larry has lots of tips and great recipes!

  18. BBQ ribs and pimento're speaking my language!

  19. What fun! A seed spitting contest. Those girls were cuties!

  20. I enjoyed this post so much, Sam. The food looks mouthwatering good! I'm glad to read about the wine cork tip! Love your posts. Have a great weekend.

  21. Ha! Seed spittin, and ribs! You can't get more fun than that! So, how far did the winning seed fly?

  22. What a great time everyone must have had! Good food,great memories and surrounded by wonderful people....a perfect day!

  23. Great post! Larry's granddaughters are all cuties. Great grilling tips and those!

  24. Sam, you are such a wonderful representative for the South - at least from this Californian's perspective:).

  25. Oh my goodness Sam, ya'll are just having to much fun spitting those watermelon seeds, I just love it! Those ribs do look like they would melt in your mouth and your salad is a perfect side dish to compliment the afternoon. What wonderful friends and memories.

    Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week.
    Miz Helen

  26. Such a great post, Sam. My mouth is watering at those ribs!

  27. Sam, these pictures are priceless!!! Looks like so much fun. How often do we want anyone to spit? Ha Ha! Fabulous food and fun is certainly the stuff memories are made of!

  28. Hello Sam
    You are having too much fun. Love those ribs.

    Continued joy
    Helen xx

  29. Any day that you get together with Larry has to be a fun day. I do know that you eat well.

  30. okay so after reading this post I want to eat watermelon, dig into some bbq ribs, whip up some pimento cheese and color my hair like your girls:) Love it all!

  31. Such a fun time with friends and family...I never played watermelon spitting seed contest...will try this next time when having watermelon :)
    The ribs look delicious Sam.
    Hope you are having a lovely week :D

  32. Sam, I love the memories that you've given me of watermelon seed spitting contests as a young girl! It would have been fun to see Meakin demonstrating his 'secrets'! Those ribs look fantastic and I LOVE the idea of the chopped parsley on the sides of the pimento cheese sandwiches! When living in the 'other' parts of the country, I had always read about this stuff called 'pimento cheese' in Southern recipes, yet could never find any in the stores. Now that I've lived here for nearly 18 years, I now know what all of the hoopla is about and LOVE, Love, LOVE it!!!!!


  33. Watermelon seed spitting contest, boy that brings back memories of days on the farm with my cousins. The ribs look fantastic, of course!


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