“Make-Ahead” BBQ Menu

Labor Day is the last chance to celebrate summer, so invite friends and family over and head to the backyard for some fun! Try this “make-ahead” menu and be a guest at your own party! Ribs are a great idea after a summer of hamburgers and hot dogs, your guests will welcome the change (and they can be cooked ahead of time). Add a Tomato Salad, Napa Style Cole Slaw, Corn Bread Poppers and sliced Watermelon to round out the menu and compliment the spicy meat. The only thing to do when guests arrive is heat up the ribs and put out the sides. Enjoy your day too. Make a plan, prepare ahead and be sure to celebrate in the true spirit of this holiday – No Labor!

Spice-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Here’s why you’ll love them – 5 minutes prep time and pop ‘em in the oven. This means less time standing over a hot grill at your party and more time enjoying a cool beverage with your guests!

Recipe and Image from McCormick.com
Makes 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

  • 3 to 4 pounds pork baby back ribs
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons McCormick® Grill Mates® Pork Rub

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Place ribs on foil-lined baking pan. Rub Pork Rub evenly over both sides of ribs. Cover with foil.

2. Bake 1 hour or until meat starts to pull away from bones. Transfer ribs to grill or cover and refrigerate until you are ready.

3. Grill over medium-high heat 1 to 2 minutes per side or until evenly browned. Cut into portions to serve.

Note: Use 2 tablespoons Pork Rub per pound of ribs.

Fresh Summer Tomato and Onion Salad

Here’s why you’ll love it – Prepare ahead of time and enjoy tomatoes now at the height of their freshness and flavor!

Recipe and Image from McCormick.com
Makes 6 servings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Herb Seasoning from McCormick® Italian Herb Seasoning Grinder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, sliced (about 3 medium)
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Mix oil, vinegar, Italian herb seasoning and sugar in small bowl.

2. Layer onion and tomato slices on serving plate.Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with feta cheese.

Cornbread Poppers

Here’s why you’ll love it – Make-these simple bite-sized muffins the day before. The mini-size saves you time because they bake faster. They are a real crowd-pleaser, you can pop them in your mouth and young and old alike will love ‘em!

Ingredients & Preparation:
Prepare cornbread from your favorite recipe or use a box mix. Grease mini muffin tins and fill ¾ of the way with batter. You’ll need to adjust cooking time since the mini muffin tins are much smaller than regular muffin tins. Cut the baking time by at least half. Cool slightly and remove from pan. Line a basket with a cloth napkin or tea towel, arrange the Cornbread Poppers in basket and cover with cloth.

Napa Cold Slaw

Here’s why you’ll love it -it is a light and refreshing version of cold slaw and it doesn’t get any easier than this!!



  • 1 head napa cabbage – washed, dried, shredded
  • 1 small carrot – grated
  • or buy the pre-shredded bag


  • ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Combine shredded cabbage and carrots. Cover and refrigerate until ready to dress and serve. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar or blender. Shake/blend well. Cover and set aside until ready to dress salad and serve. Dress salad lightly, toss to fully coat and serve. You want to serve it nice and crunchy, so don?t let it set too long with dressing before serving.

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