June brings the promise of summery weather and family get-togethers like Father’s Day. So fire up the grill or sharpen up the spit: barbecue season has arrived.
Barbecue makes the ideal Father’s Day meal with no-nonsense good taste seared into every meaty bite. These days, barbecue comes many ways: grilled baby back ribs, barbecue burgers, or barbecue chicken fried rice, to name a few.
Barbecue has a long history, especially in the South where barbecue traditions are as vast as the Mississippi. A fiery debate lingers over the best barbecue sauces: vinegar-based, mustard-based, heavy tomato-based or light tomato-based. Here in Edina, we enjoy our own northern spin on the traditional barbecue feast. From extra-hot and spicy to Minnesota mild with a slight accent of heat, from the convenience of ready-made barbecue or made-to-order restaurant barbecue, from dine in to take-out to grill at home, Edina offers a full plate of choices. Check out these barbecue picks selected by a few local dads who know barbecue best.
GRILLED BABY BACK RIBS
Food and fun go together at Pinstripes, so of course barbecue has a prominent place on the menu. The grilled baby back ribs are a popular feature for guests and staff alike. Josh Clark, father of a 10-year-old boy and senior manager at Pinstripes in Edina says, “I love barbecue in general, but ours has a signature balsamic barbecue sauce and that’s my favorite. And I am not just saying that because I work here.” At the sprawling multi-level Italian-American restaurant, the meat bastes slowly in a slathering of sauce and becomes extremely tender. The grilled baby back ribs are served on a large plate with hefty sides of macaroni and cheese and coleslaw. “If you eat the grilled baby back ribs and you go home hungry, I would really be surprised,” Clark says. $21. 3849 Gallagher Drive; 952.835.6440.
BARBECUE CHICKEN FRIED RICE
A busy father of three, Noah Kaufmann has worked as a server at Big Bowl for a year and a half. Kaufmann enjoys the Thai-Chinese cuisine the restaurant features, especially the barbecue dishes. Picking a favorite “is a tough call,” says Kaufmann. Big Bowl has a big menu full of choices. Even the fried rice comes three different ways—teriyaki glazed chicken, barbecue pork or barbecue chicken. “I always recommend people try the barbecue chicken fried rice,” Kaufmann says. “When they do, they love it.”
The secret is in the sauce—soy, red chilies, garlic, vinegar and a dab of sugar. The addition of hoisin sauce adds Asian flair. “It’s almost sweet and salty in taste,” says Kaufmann. Sustainably sourced chicken from the free-range flock at Free Bird Farm cooks for more than an hour in Big Bowl’s house-made barbecue sauce. The boldly basted bird goes on top of a bed of specially made fried rice steaming with fragrant spices. Shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots and fresh peapods add a savory vegetable snap. As a hefty bonus, this rice portion is larger than most other entrées. In keeping with Big Bowl’s commitment to earth-friendly practices, all ingredients are eco-friendly, natural, organic and local. $12.95. 3669 Galleria; 952.928.7888.
Lunds meat and seafood assistant manager, Jerry Belko, creator of Jerry’s Rockin’ Rib recipe.
JERRY’S ROCKIN’ RIB RECIPE
Ron Hagen has been the meat and seafood manager for Lunds at 50th and France for more than seven years. He is also a father of two and barbecues like a pro. Jerry’s rockin’ rib recipe tops Hagen’s list of favorite barbecue sauces. This special sauce, invented by Jerry Belko, the meat and seafood assistant manager for Lunds, combines sugary-woodsy apple juice with the fiery essence of liquid smoke. A long simmer melds the sweet and savory ingredients into a harmonious glaze. Jerry’s rockin’ rib recipe is just the thing for baby back pork ribs or a pork shoulder roast. Hagen and the staff at Lunds meat department routinely test their expert knowledge, sampling meats, trying new recipes and perfecting them. Sometimes their families get involved with the recipe taste-tasting. Jerry’s rockin’ rib recipe shows the success of this process. Hagen loves sharing the best basic ingredient recipes with customers. “We try to keep recipes simple so people can easily make them at home,” says Hagen. 3945 W. 50th St.; 952.926.6833.
Josh Hoyt, general manager of Red Cow, is dad to a sweet baby girl born this year. Hoyt likes a good burger prepared with all the trimmings. Enter the barbecue burger. “This is the burger that made me fall in love with the Red Cow concept,” Hoyt says. In addition to the almost half-pound CAB (certified Angus burger) patty, Red Cow adds a generous helping of slow-roasted root beer barbecue pulled pork, a thick slice of sharp Cheddar cheese and three large onion rings drizzled with more of that delicious barbecue sauce. This burger is so massive, it’s literally held together with an oversized steak knife down the middle. A housemade barbecue sauce sears a pungent punch into quality hamburger with an updated gourmet twist of flavors. At this neighborhood eatery and tavern, brimming with all things cow, the barbecue burger stands apart. Good barbecue eating no matter how you slice it. $11.25. 3624 W. 50th St.; 612.767.4411.
BONE SUCKIN’ SAUCE
When it comes to a blowout barbecue worthy of hungry belles and beaus, the winning secret is always in the sauce. “Anytime family or friends are getting together for a barbecue, someone usually forgets to bring sauces,” says Jeremiah Ninneman, grocery buyer for Whole Foods Market and father of one. “So I like to grab a jar of Bone Suckin’ Sauce and bring it with!” This famed tomato-based barbecue sauce comes from the heart of barbecue country, North Carolina. A kick of serious spices and a sugary smack of honey and molasses enliven the flavor. “It’s very liquidy so you can brush it on throughout the grilling process and it goes great with pretty much anything,” Ninneman says. These sauces are all-natural, gluten-free and non-GMO, without preservatives or high fructose corn syrup. “The sauces are healthier for my kid as well,” says Ninneman. $7.99 for a 16 oz. jar. 7401 France Ave. S.; 952.830.3500.