Ask a Washington, D.C. Chef: Easy 4th of July Recipes

June 18, 2014 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Independence Day is for commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, fireworks, carnivals and delicious barbecue. Forget going to the barbecue joint down the road. Try these easy 4th of July recipes and enjoy a scrumptious meal without the hassle of waiting for a table.

Jeffery Russell
Charlie Palmer Steak
101 Constitution Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 547-8100

Chef Russel, a key figure at Charlie Palmer Steak in downtown D.C., fell in love with the culinary arts at age 15. After completing his professional training courtesy of the famed Culinary Institute of America, Russell discovered a more specific culinary passion — whole animal butchery and homemade charcuterie. Since then, Russell has dedicated himself to the art of American cuisine by creating a menu that focuses on artisanal cuts of beef, classic steak dishes and locally sourced ingredients. His interpretive cooking style has been recognized and valued at Charlie Palmer Steak. Want to see what all the fuss is about? Check out his recipes below for tasty margaritas and St. Louis style ribs.

Related: Best Barbeque in Washington, D.C.

Charlie Palmer Steak Margaritas


  • 6 oz Patron Anejo Tequila
  • 1 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 oz agave nectar
  • 2 fresh lime wedges for garnish

Preparation for margaritas:

Combine all ingredients over ice in a bar shaker, shake well and pour into a chilled pint glass

Note: These margaritas are stronger than most. Don’t overdo it, and get a designated driver! Also for a nice twist, the margarita mix can be strained and put into an ice cream maker for a delicious adult smoothie.

St. Louis Style Spare Ribs


  • 4 each racks of fresh St Louis style spare ribs
  • 1 batch dry rub (see below)
  • 1 batch Big Ass BBQ Sauce (see below)

Dry Rub Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons granulated onion
  • 1 tablespoon dry English mustard
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Preparation for the dry rub:

Mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Apply liberally to ribs three hours before cooking.

Big Ass Barbecue Sauce


  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 2 cups ketchup

Preparation for the sauce:

Combine vinegar, Worcestershire, sugar, Sriracha, dry mustard, garlic and ginger. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and add to ketchup and black pepper

Preparation to cook ribs:

A grill with a smoker attachment is preferred for this recipe, but you can also use a charcoal grill with some wood chips and/or chunks to impart the great smoky flavor that makes these ribs so delicious. Preheat the grill or smoker up to an hour before cooking. Allow the flames directly under the cooking surface to burn off. If you have too much flame, the ribs will char, and that would be a shame.

Brush the ribs with the Big Ass Barbecue Sauce and place on the grill, close the lid and allow the smoke to work its magic. Keep an eye on the ribs while you enjoy a tasty margarita. Not too many though, you might forget the ribs are cooking.

Rotate the ribs during the cooking process to promote even cooking. And continually brush with BBQ sauce. Continue to cook the ribs low and slow until the meat is just beginning to fall off of the bone.

Remove ribs from grill, and place on a large cutting board. Cut the rack into two-bone portions and enjoy with another margarita.

Related: Best Boozy Brunches in Washington DC

Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at

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