Fourth of July dinner in Tuscany was a success. We made ribs, and barbeque sauce from scratch. In fact there were two versions, regular, with a hint of orange, and hot (picante).
The Tuscans liked the picante. It turns out they thought it wasn’t picante enough. So I brought out a bottle of the hottest peppers I had found locally and they demolished them.
They also finished the chips and my signature roasted tomato salsa.
I precooked the ribs in a slow oven. Then we made a fire, the Italian way, in the barbeque. You gather lots of small sticks and some dried grass and build a fire—a big fire. Then you add some charcoal to it, little by little. It’s quite a process.
When it was all aglow, and people were starting to eye the chips and salsa suspiciously, I put on the ribs.
When the fire flared up, Alcide stepped in with the Italian answer to grill flare-ups: he doused the coals in wine.
Yes, it’s that cheap here. You use it anywhere you’d normally use water. Except, I suppose, in washing the dishes—but you never know.
They ate. Cautiously at first. Then they drank some vino and dug into the cole slaw, the potato salad, and the ribs. They tried the sauces on everything. Soon it was all over except for the brownies and the watermelon, at which time other folks kept dropping in and depositing more wine on the table. They told jokes in complicated Italian about Carabinieri wives. We laughed into the night. Until….
The Aftermath of the 4th of July Barbecue in Piano di Collecchia, Italy.