Last summer I slipped away to C Lazy U, a mountain ranch in Colorado, for a weekend getaway with a girlfriend. We woke up at dawn to watch the thunderous parade of 200-some horses led by skilled wranglers making their morning commute onto the dude ranch to saddle up for the day. By dusk, we sidled up to the fire pit and enjoyed the crisp, cool mountain air and a star-studded night sky.
The dude ranch, which is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year, was the perfect setting for a quintessential summer escape in the great outdoors, imbued with the Wild West spirit of my home state. While the highlight reel from the horseback-riding weekend was full, the meals at C Lazy U Ranch — served family-style in a rustic-but-luxe lodge — were definitely a stand-out.
Want your own taste of the Wild West? With Memorial Day picnics and cookouts around the corner, the chefs at C Lazy U have shared with us some of their beloved summertime recipes so you can have an authentic ranch-style barbecue.
Grilled Beef Ribs with Sweet and Sticky BBQ Sauce
- 3 1/2 cups ketchup
- 1 cup honey
- 1 18-ounce can of crushed pineapple in juice
- 2 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed pepper
- 3 racks beef ribs (about 9 pounds each, rack cut in half)
- 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped celery
- 1 onion, cut lengthwise
- 1 1/2 coarsely cut carrots
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 10 whole black peppers
- 1 tablespoon salt
Combine first seven ingredients in large deep saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until very thick, stirring occasionally, for about one hour. Cool sauce. (The sauce can be made one week ahead).
Place ribs in heavy large pot. Add celery, onion, carrots, bay leaves, peppercorns, and one tablespoon of salt. Add enough water to cover ribs and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until meat is tender, for about one hour. Using tongs, remove rib racks from pot. Cool slightly. Cut between bones into individual ribs.
Prepare a barbecue at medium heat. Brush ribs with some of the sauce. Grill ribs until brown and thickly glazed, occasionally turning and basting with more sauce, for about 10 minutes.
- 2 1/4 pounds Idaho potatoes (peeled if you prefer), thinly sliced
- 1 pint milk
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
- 5 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
- 4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 ounces butter
- 1/3 cup instant mashed potatoes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse the sliced potatoes under cold water and strain. In a large pot, combine all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Place everything into a baking dish and layer evenly. Bake for one hour or until the dish has browned well on top. This dish can be made one day ahead, chilled, and then cut into individual servings and reheated.
Cream of Carrot Soup
Makes one quart
- 1 tablespoon of canola oil
- 1 pound of carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup Kahlua
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 full tablespoons fresh sage leaves (do not chop)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
Heat oil in soup pot, add carrots, onions, and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add the brandy and Kahlua and simmer three minutes. Add stock, cover, and simmer for one hour. Add sage and simmer for three minutes; remove and discard sage. Puree soup in very small batches, stir in cream, and serve.
Grilled Hearts of Romaine with Lemon Parmesan Dressing
Ingredients for the dressing:
- 1 egg yolk
- 6 ounces heavy cream
- 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon of salt
- 1/3 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
Directions for the dressing:
In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a boil and let simmer for three minutes. Add the grated Parmesan, turn heat down to low, stir well, and let simmer another three minutes. Pull from the stove and let cool down a bit. Place all the rest of the ingredients, minus the olive oil in a blender. Blend well and while still blending, slowly add the cream mixture. Once all the other ingredients are blended, slowly add the olive oil.
Ingredients for the salad:
- 3 hearts of romaine lettuce, split lengthwise
- About 24 grape or cherry tomatoes, also split in half
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil
- Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional)
Directions for salad:
Toss the tomatoes with the ½ tablespoon of salt, half a teaspoon of pepper, and the tablespoon of vinegar. Set aside.
Prepare a nice hot grill, but not scorching. Place the romaine on the grill, cut-side down. Let sit about one minute, then check the color. You will want golden brown grill marks at this time, and a little bit of burnt edges of the leaves is okay. (If the marks are too dark, move to a cooler part of the grill. If too cool, lift the romaine and turn 40 degrees for a second set of grill marks.) Turn and let cook the other side about two minutes. Meanwhile, with a pastry brush, lightly coat the cut sides with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Remove the romaine from grill and set aside.
With a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes on a hot spot on the grill and blister about two minutes.
For presentation, lay a romaine down, cut side up, layer on the dressing, and then add the tomatoes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese shavings on top if desired.
Happy Memorial Day! What will you be grilling?