The Ultimate Father’s Day Menu For the Master of the Grill

My dad was a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. When I think back to Father’s Days while I was growing up, I can still picture my dad standing at the grill cooking steaks or burgers – his two favorites.  

Mom would have a large dish of tangy German potato salad chilling in the fridge – also his favorite – and a green salad since vegetables were never tops on Dad’s list.

Dad was always master of the grill, so I suppose it was inevitable my passion for cooking would one day lead to a love of grilling.

I still remember my first attempt. I lived in an Austin apartment overlooking Town Lake during my final year of nursing school. The wooden building was old even then, but each apartment was spacious and featured a covered porch large enough for a couple of chairs.

Hibachi grills were popular in those days because they were small, easy to transport, and inexpensive, so as the semester began, I purchased my first grill, a bag of charcoal, and a can of lighter fluid.

That evening, I cooked two pork rib chops that covered the entire rack of my tiny grill. They were juicy, tender, and flavorful. I was hooked.

These days, my husband Randy and I split the role of grill master. We cook steaks, chicken, pork and lamb chops, fish, pizzas, vegetables, and even fruit, but my favorite is ribs.

If I’m grilling over charcoal, I cook ribs using indirect heat by piling mounds of charcoal on either side of the grill and placing the ribs in the middle. As they cook, the collagen breaks down, so the meat becomes fall-off-the-bone tender.

If I’m grilling over gas heat, I prefer to braise them in the oven at low heat and finish them on the grill during the final 30 minutes.  

This year, smoky soy lacquered ribs, picnic potato salad, grilled corn, and a fruit salad are on my menu for an ultimate Father’s Day celebration. Happy Father’s Day!

Smoky Soy Lacquered Ribs:

Dry Rub Ingredients:

2 racks St. Louis-style pork ribs

2 ½ teaspoons coarse kosher salt

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon Saigon cinnamon

1 ½ cups apple cider or beer


Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Loosen the cartilage at one end on the back of the ribs and use a paper towel to grasp the cartilage. Pull, strip it from the ribs, and discard. In a small bowl, stir together salt, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, smoked paprika, and cinnamon. Rub both sides of the ribs with the spice mixture, transfer them to a large roasting pan, and pour the cider around the ribs. Cover the pan tightly with foil and braise them 1 ½ to 2 hours until the meat is tender and begins to shrink back from the tips of the ribs. Transfer the ribs to the grill, reserving 1 cup of the braising liquid.

Smoky Soy BBQ Sauce


1 tablespoon canola oil

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced

1 ½ cups ketchup

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or rice vinegar

½ teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

¼ teaspoon Worcestershire

¼ teaspoon Liquid Smoke

¼ teaspoon dry mustard


While the meat is in the oven, make the sauce. Preheat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, add oil, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Add garlic, sauté 30 seconds, then stir in ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, ginger, Worcestershire, liquid smoke, and dry mustard, stirring well to mix. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce may be made several days ahead, covered, and chilled.

Preheat the gas grill. When it is hot, turn the heat off on half of the grill and place the ribs, meat side down, on the side where the fire is turned off. Close the lid and cook 20 minutes, mopping the meat every 5 minutes with some of the braising liquid. Turn the ribs over and cook 15 minutes more, mopping occasionally with smoky soy BBQ sauce.

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Christy Rost

Public television chef Christy Rost is the author of three cookbooks and a longtime resident of the Park Cities and Preston Hollow. For additional recipes and entertaining tips, please visit or follow her on Facebook and Twitter @ChristyRost.

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