Welcome to the 16th day of May. Mid May. A day filled with possibilities. On the National front, there are nine different celebrations to choose from. It would be impossible to bring all these celebrations together for one massive party. I mean, how can you celebrate National Barbecue Day, Piercing Day and Sea Monkey Day with a single event?
What we can do is have a barbecue, talk about who is our neighbor and touch on Love a Tree Day. Let’s start with the idea of doing something good for our neighbor. Who are our neighbors? The obvious response would be those who live nearby. The lady across the street or the family we share a common backyard fence with. Neighbors are also those people we see at the market, or at church or the table next to us in a restaurant. Bottom line is the world is our neighbor. So all you need do is be kind to everyone.
If you want to go to a place that brings the idea of neighbor together beautifully with a barbecue and loving trees, I would suggest Rand Creek Ranch in Wyoming. Rand Creek Ranch is mid-way between the town of Cody and the east gate to Yellowstone. It is a magical place for families. Run by Joel and Krystal, Rand Creek is a comfy home away from home. Every morning Krystal bakes fresh muffins. The muffins are put into pails along with some fruit and juice. Joel, usually accompanied by the ranch dogs, delivers breakfast to the door of your cabin. It’s there, waiting for you whenever you decide to wake.
After a nice breakfast, you head out on whatever adventure you have planned. You could hang out at the ranch, spending a little time at the stocked pond (catch and release, poles provided), or take a guided horseback ride. There’s even a barbecue shack for your use.
You could take a scenic drive east into the town Cody to spend time exploring Trail Town, or Buffalo Bill’s massive museum. In Cody you’ll find shops and restaurants to keep you busy.
Or you could head west for a day of exploring in Yellowstone. That would be a great place to love a tree, don’t you think? After all, Yellowstone is more than mud pots and geysers.
Whatever your adventure, come nightfall be sure to be back at the ranch. It will be the highlight of your visit, that’s for sure.
Joel and Krystal host a campfire. You get to know your cabin neighbors. You share stories of the day’s events. You can roast marshmallows. Maybe if you are lucky, someone will break out a guitar. Or just lead everyone in song. Rand Creek is a great, family-friendly destination for those looking for more than what a theme park can offer. It’s a place for making memories. And meeting strangers who just might become new friends.
Not only is Krystal a wonderful host, she’s also the author of a cook book. While these ribs are in keeping with her original recipe, I did take certain liberties. I rub the ribs, then let them sit in the fridge for a while while I ran some errands. Came home, popped the ribs in the oven to slow cook to perfection just as Krystal’s recipe had promised. While 4 hours is the recommended slow-cook, you could let them go a bit longer. The flavors are amazing. As long as you’re having a barbecue, do something good for your neighbors and invite them to join you. Happy Days!
Rand Creek Ribs
Dry Rub Mix
1 tablespoon Cumin
1 tablespoon Smoked Paprika
1 tablespoons Garlic Powder
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
1 tablespoon New Mexican Red Chili Powder
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
1-1/2 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper
3 lbs Country Style Ribs
1 bottle favorite Barbecue Sauce
Note: We used Mad Moose Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce. It was amazing with sweet undertones and a nice kick.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients for the rub. Trim any excess fat from the ribs, leaving a small amount of fat for flavor. Sprinkle ribs with half of the rub. Work into the meat. Turn ribs over, sprinkle with remaining rub, work into the meat. Place rubbed ribs in a non-reactive dish such as a casserole dish, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat oven to 250 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Cut another sheet of foil large enough to wrap ribs tightly, set aside.
Remove ribs from the refrigerator. Let rest on the counter for about 20 minutes to take the chill off the meat. Wrap seasoned ribs in foil, place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the warm oven for 4 hours undisturbed.
Heat grill to medium heat. Remove ribs from oven, finish on grill to sear outside of the meat. Brush with barbecue sauce, continue to grill until sauce is bubbling. Transfer to serving platter, brush with any remaining barbecue sauce and enjoy.
These ribs are great served with buttery corn and Home on the Range Potatoes.