Gentlemen, fire up your grills!
Father’s Day has become synonymous with outdoor cooking, and with pandemic restrictions lifting across the US, this weekend may be one of the first in months that small groups will be able to gather — at a healthy distance, of course.
But there are still many who may be celebrating indoors — or on a Zoom call with family and friends — and they shouldn’t be left out of the barbecued, smokey fare that so many come to expect on this holiday.
That’s why we asked chef Michael Symon to share a classic BBQ-style meal that can be done on the grill or in the oven, so eaters can feel those summertime vibes no matter what. The former Iron Chef has been busy with production on his new “self-shot” show, “Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out,” which premiered on the Food Network last week and is available to stream via the Food Network Kitchen app.
Symon told The Post that versatility is one of his show’s primary objectives.
“Look, we’re [cooking everything] outside on the grill, but it’s very easy to make inside also,” he said.
Of course, the Food Network celeb has already filmed this weekend’s episode, so he’ll be able to spend some time with family on Sunday.
This year, he’s planning on putting his father to work — sort of.
“We’re gonna do a cookalong video with me and my dad making burgers and stuff outside on the grill,” he says.
“My father likes to say, ‘I’m going to teach everybody how to make burgers this year,’ ” Symon says. “I’m like, ‘Oh boy!’
“My dad’s most famous dish when we were growing up was to fry hotdogs with potatoes and put eggs on it, and call it ‘hot-dog hash.’ ”
Like many this year, his Father’s Day won’t be the same as it has been.
“Up until about five years ago on Father’s Day, we would all go golfing together,” he says, referring to his father and grandfather, who recently passed away at a remarkable 102.
“My grandfather was an amazing cook,” says Symon.
His dad’s hot-dog hash won’t be on the menu for the Father’s Day edition of “Symon’s Dinners Cooking Out.” (We know that’s a disappointment.) Instead, Symon says, he’s going with a more elevated theme, albeit one that’s a longtime family favorite.
“They’re all fans of salty-sweet,” he says, pointing to the sticky ribs with a salty-sweet sauce he shares here with The Post. (On the episode, he also makes a giant, grilled, salty-sweet cookie.)
The decadent holiday menu won’t be without some balance, though. “I just had to make sure I had some vegetables for my wife,” he said of spouse Liz Symon. “She’s trying to keep us healthier.”
Yields 4-6 servings
- 4 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs, cut into individual bones
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ozs. light beer
- 1 cup light-brown sugar
- 1 cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
- 2 tsp. crushed red-pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
For outdoor grill method:
Prepare a charcoal grill using the snake method: Stack the unlit charcoals around the perimeter of the grill, forming a semicircle and leaving an empty space at the center. Light a few coals at one end so the “snake” begins to burn slowly. Fill a metal pan with about 1 cup water and place it in the empty space next to the coal. This helps maintain moisture.
Season the ribs liberally with salt and pepper and set aside.
Combine the liquid ingredients, sugar, spices, garlic and a few shakes of salt and pepper in a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer over direct heat and cook until reduced by a third, about 30 minutes.
Place the ribs bone-side down on the grill over indirect heat. Close the grill and cook, brushing the ribs with the glaze every 30 minutes to an hour. Be sure to maintain a grill temperature between 275 to 350 degrees F. If the temperature gets too hot, close the airflow of the grill; if the temperature cools down, open the airflow of the grill.
When an instant-read thermometer registers 200 degrees F, which may take between 3 to 3.5 hours, take the ribs off the grill, wrap in aluminum foil and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Bring the remaining glaze back to a simmer over direct heat for several minutes. Garnish the ribs with the cilantro and serve with the remaining glaze on the side.
For oven method:
Alternatively, you can bake the ribs on a rimmed baking sheet in a 300 degrees F oven for 3 to 3.5 hours. Steps to make the glaze are the same.
Bonus: Spice Rub
Use the Basic Rub formula as the base for a DIY spice mix with your favorite flavor combinations. The recipe and variations below are written as a ratio, allowing cooks to scale to their needs.
“This rub goes well on any meat. It is savory and bold and packs a lot of flavor without overpowering the meat,” says Symon.
- 2 parts kosher salt
- 2 parts black pepper
- 1/2 part celery seed
- 1/2 part ground coriander
“There’s something magical about pork and paprika,” says Symon. “Use any kind you like — sweet, sharp, smoked. Any will work for a sharp kick and buttery finish.”
- 5 parts Basic Rub mix
- 1 part paprika
“Lamb and oregano — tried and true combination. The addition of oregano to the basic rub gives lamb a savory, herbaceous flavor that breaks up any gamey flavor that may be there,” says Symon. “This is also great on beef.”
- 5 parts Basic Rub mix
- 1 part dried oregano