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Let the Flames Begin!

For those of us who love to entertain, are there four more beautiful words in the English language? Actually, yes: Our weekend is free! Invite friends over, fire up the grill, and throw the easiest kind of party. People love to gather around the grill, so you can chat while you cook.

Everything tastes better when it’s cooked on the grill! Just knowing there’s an outdoor feast ahead makes guests arrive with a hearty appetite and the assurance that there will be a good time. Natives of Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, and Kansas City have known all along about the nuances of barbecue. And those of us who live in the North have come a long way from the once-a-year Fourth of July fete when we ate chicken, burgers, and ribs that all tasted the same – charred with a sweet and spicy sauce on top. Today, we want the great flavor of grilled food flavored by the brush of an herb, the smoke of fruitwood, a distinctive marinade, or a savory salsa. And each spring it seems we send our kitchen ovens into an earlier retirement as we get impatient for the taste of grilled whole chicken, giant shrimp in the shell, mussels, game, and every garden vegetable imaginable.

The most fun finger food? Grilled Ribs. The best thing about this quintessential summer dish (besides the fact that it calls for a complete abandonment of all manners) is that the ribs take only a few minutes to finish on the grill. Most of the cooking happens in the oven at a low temperature – until the meat is falling off the bone – hours before guests arrive. Slather on the sweet-spicy-tangy sauce at the end. Offer more sauce (and wet naps) at the table.

These Oven Baby Back Ribs with Hoisin BBQ Sauce have an Asian flare. Slow-baked in a delicious hoisin barbecue sauce until the meat falls off the bone, they’re some of the best ribs I’ve ever tasted.

“Experience is simply the name we give our barbecue mistakes.”
~ Oscar Wilde

Maple Bundt Cake Photo