This menu calls for spareribs; they’re thicker and meatier than baby back ribs, so they’ll take a bit longer to cook. You’ll know the ribs are ready when the meat shrinks back from the end of the bone about ½ inch; you should be able to pull the meat apart with your fingers. For more tips on cooking perfect ribs, see our primer on how to grill ribs »
Once the ribs are grilling, get started on the barbecued baked beans, which will need about two hours in the oven.
Throw the ears of corn onto the grill when the ribs have nearly finished cooking. For shucked corn, allow 3–4 minutes of cooking time; corn in the husks require 6–8.
No cookout is complete without a refreshing, cold drink. Rather than mixing them individually, keep a crowd happy with large pitchers filled with summer cocktails. For recipe ideas, see our gallery of pitcher cocktails »