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Barbeque with Foodie Mama: Red Garter's Ribs and Pulled Pork

When I was a teenager and into my twenties, there was a great restaurant in Calumet called the Red Garter.  It was an awesome place.  There were little alcove dining areas, a fun, fancy ambiance, a great bar crowd and the most delicious ribs my younger self had ever tasted.  But I wasn't the only one who thought so; people would consistently rave about them.  So tender and flavorful.  Not 'fall off the bone', however, they definitely had some substance.  I remember going there with my friend Lisa and her mom and dad a few times after watching a boy's basketball game or hockey game on Friday nights.   Then when Ron and I were dating and during the first few years of our marriage we went there often.  Tragically, the restaurant burned down in 1990 due to a fire in the kitchen.  The owners did not rebuild or reopen the restaurant, and sadly, the Copper Country never did replicate those ribs quite the same way anywhere else.

Ron's brother Donald worked in the kitchen at the 'Garter' and he did a lot of the prep work so he knew how to make the ribs.  We got the recipe from him recently (over the phone, from 30 year memory) and tried to make it the way he said.  Keep in mind, he would cook hundreds of pounds for the restaurant, but the general method is similar for small batches.  We used the outdoor grill, the Red Garter grilled them in the kitchen.  Yup, I did say the restaurant burned down because of a kitchen fire.  Don said they would keep the pot of sauce on the stove top to bubble and bubble and would keep adding in more sauce and stirring to reduce it down to a thick, gooey, dark glaze that really stuck to the ribs (sorry.  had to do it).  Who knew that the secret sauce was just Open Pit bottled BBQ sauce?!  These turned out excellent.  I will give Ron the cooking credit here; he did this 100%.  That great char and grill marks brought me back to 1987.

Great Char and Grill Marks

Red Garter Ribs


  • Baby Back Ribs (however many you want, I will say 5# for the sake of this recipe.  About 3 full racks)
  • 1 Large Bottle of Open Pit Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 t Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 C Water

  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Arrange the ribs, meat side up, in (one or more) a large roasting pan or lasagna pan.  Add 1/4 C of water to the pan.  Season meat with Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  3. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place on lower rack in oven.  Cook for 90 minutes.
  4. While ribs are cooking, pour 1/2 bottle of Open Pit in a sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat on stove top, stirring occasionally, adding more sauce as it reduces down.  Sauce will thicken, bubble and darken over time.
  5. Remove ribs from oven, place ribs on platter and let rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Preheat Grill to 375 degrees.
  7. Place Ribs on hot grill.  After 5 minutes, turn the ribs over.
  8. Brush the ribs with the sauce.  The sauce shroud be very thick, not watery.  Cook for another 5 minutes, then tun the ribs over again.
  9. Brush the other side with sauce.  Cook for another 5 minutes.
  10. Plate and eat!

Reducing the Barbecue Sauce

Since we are all about BBQ here today, I'll add another recipe to this post.  I made pulled pork for the first time recently and it turned out pretty darn good.  I paired it with some home made Cole slaw and a toasted brioche roll and was a happy mama.

Foodie Mama's Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • Pork Loin Roast (5#)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 t poultry seasoning
  • 1 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1 small bottle Open Pit Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 1/2 C chicken broth

  1. Place the Pork Roast into the slow cooker.
  2. Quarter the onion and add to slow cooker
  3. Add the water to slow cooker
  4. Season the roast with the poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  5. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours
  6. After 8 hours, remove Pork from slow cooker and carefully place on a platter or in a roasting pan.
  7. Discard the liquid and onions from slow cooker.
  8. Place pork back in slow cooker and shred using two forks.
  9. Add about 1/2 C of the barbecue sauce and stir to coat pork.
  10. Cook on low for another 2 hours.  You may add more BBQ sauce if you prefer.  Either at beginning or throughout cooking time. 

Pulled Pork on Brioche Roll with Cole Slaw

Sweet and Crunchy Cole Slaw


  • 1 - 16 oz. Package Cole Slaw mix (or 16 oz shredded cabbage)
  • 2/3 C Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 T Vegetable Oil
  • 1 t Onion powder
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 T White vinegar

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together Miracle Whip, sugar, oil, onion powder, salt and vinegar, until smooth
  2. Add Cole Slaw mix and stir to coat
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving for best taste