I have a confession. I'm terrified of the outdoor grill. I've been shown numerous times how to light it, and we have one of those (semi) fancy ones where it turns on pretty much the same as an inside gas range.
It still freaks me out. I have visions of the curly pipe thingy unhooking and snaking around with gas spewing out flames the way the surfers sprayed fire during the gas station scene in Point Break. Not rational, I know. I've never been a very rational person.
But that's okay! You can make an entire "barbequed" meal inside, in your slow cookers---and you'll have plenty of time to (huddle in a corner in the fetal position) play in the yard, attend to guests, or run errands while your meal cooks unattended.
These slow-cooker ribs are fall off the bone delicious and so easy. With just a few minutes of prep you can walk away from the slow-cooker and come back to a savory dinner done.
Ribs are great on their own as a snack, but for dinner sides are essential. These slow cooked sweet potatoes are just the thing. Cumin and pepper give them an extra kick.
Round out your meal with fresh and healthy corn. Shuck a couple ears, wrap them in foil and you're done.
Stephanie O'Dea is the New York Times best-selling author of the Make it Fast, Cook it Slow cookbooks.