Yum Hey What's for Dinner Mom?: Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, DelRois Barbecue Revisited


Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24, DelRois Barbecue Revisited

This blog post actually started a long time ago, a very long time ago back in the '60s. Back then when my Dad was just a kid, practically, he moved to Alaska in the '50s and was a jack-of-all-trades until settled on plumber as his chosen profession. One of his many gigs was owning a little bar/cafe called DelRois. DelRois was a little hole in the wall on the Glenn Highway into Anchorage from the Matanuska Valley. It was famous for one thing, barbecue. It was so good people would drive 45 miles from Anchorage to buy ribs for parties. Weird isn't it? A little bar that drew people from miles around for barbecue made by a young guy who held dual citizenship in America and Canada but still didn't know what he wanted to do with his life. Still today 45 years later you mention barbecue and someone will groan and say "oh I wish DelRois was still making barbecue. It was the best!" or " I never got to eat there but I heard stories about the sauce". Soon my Dad had a wife and kids and settled into a more stable, reliable job but he never gave up cooking. He cooked for family gatherings and the Moose Lodge, steak dinners, halibut, Swedish meatballs, you name it he cooked it but the one thing he was always famous for was his barbecued chicken and ribs and of course that sauce, oh that sauce. The sauce was not his original recipe it came with DelRois and was sold with the bar when he sold it. He kept a copy of it for personal use and now that I have tasted the sauce I do remember eating it, a lot.

I have that sauce recipe. I found it while sorting my Dad's belongings after his untimely death in 1995. I almost threw it away, as it was just one of so many little folded slips of paper I was going through. I am glad something nudged me it to opening that one slip. It was amazing to see my Mom's old typewritten recipe on this thin, well worn slip of paper. As if every day of his life he had read it and folded back for safe keeping, possibly remembering his faded fame or maybe the time of his life.
Unfortunately I won't be able to share the sauce recipe with you because my sister and I made a deal when I found it that no one would get Dad's copy of the recipe. He never shared it and we feel as if we are respecting his wishes by continuing to keep it a secret.

For my 24 24 24 dinner I proposed to make a '60s style dinner, A DelRois Barbecue Revisited if you will.

The menu:

Pimento Cheese Spread*
Savory Cream Cheese Spread*
on Melba Toast

Main Meal:
Barbecued Baby Back Ribs-no salt water injection
Barbecued Spare Ribs-no salt water injection
Barbecued Whole Chickens-Organic Free Range
Mustard Potato Salad*
Garlic Salad*-not made by me but still AWESOME!
Fresh Greens*

Fresh Rhubarb Sauce* over local Matanuska Creamery Ice Cream
Dutch Butter Cake*

Fresh Ice Water

* indicates recipe follows

I tried to fashion a very simple 1960s menu. In my research I discovered that food in the '60s was much simpler that we force it to be today. Potato Salad was salad made from potatoes, period. The recipes are gleaned from my vintage cookbook collection, including but not limited to James Beards American Cookery, 2 Betty Crocker Quick and Easy Cookbooks and a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.

I wanted to create a menu that also featured as much local produce as possible to this end I was able to include: milk, eggs, greens, cheese, rhubarb, ice cream, beer, potatoes, and honey. Pretty good for a state that imports a LARGE portion, if not most, of its food. This is not a necessity and the trend is slowly being reversed. I also wanted to use local stores instead of nation wide chains for the majority of my big purchases and these are the businesses I supported:

Mat Valley Meats A locally owned old fashioned butcher shop. They actually cut meat there not just unpack it from big boxes sent from a distributor. What a novel concept. This is a great local family owned business and I was pleased to discover them. I ordered the 4 racks of ribs(2 baby back and 2 spare ribs) and 4 organic free range hens from them.

Matanuska Creamery A locally owned creamery producing cheese, milk and ice cream. Their website is not up and running yet but give them time. This creamery is the result of the state owned Matanuska Maid Creamery going bankrupt and all the farmers getting together and starting up on their own. They sold cheese futures to get it going and now apparently can't keep their shelves full. AWESOME!! I used milk, ice cream and cheese from the Matanuska Creamery.

Birch Flavor Ice Cream

The Mooses Tooth This is a very popular local brewery in Anchorage. They sell growlers to go and I thought, that while micro brews were unheard in the '60s (as far as I can tell), local beer just seemed to do right by this dinner.

My unsuspecting dinner guests included my parents( Marcia and her husband Joe), my husbands parents(Gene and Priscilla), my dear friend Deborah, Cousin Daniel along with baby Arleigh and of course my husband and our 2 youngest sons. They were invited to come for dinner, not many more details were included. My friend Deborah brought her famous everybody eats it or nobody eats it Garlic Salad, she has generously given her approval to share the recipe here on my blog.

Pimento Cheese Ball
1 pound shredded sharp cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 tablespoon pimentos
1 tablespoon minced onion

mix cheese, mayonnaise, 1/4 pecans, pimentos and onion
refrigerate for at least 2 hours
roll into a ball and pat the other 1/4 of pecans on the outside
serve with melba toast

Savory Cream Cheese Spread
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon worsteschire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

in a mixing bowl beat the cream cheese, milk and worsteshire sauce
add salt and pepper to taste
serve right away or refrigerate
serve with rycrsip crackers

Potato Salad
8 cups boiled potatoes, skins on
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons of vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons of mustard
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place potatoes in a large bowl
mix oil and vinegar pour over the potatoes and mix well, let rest one hour
meanwhile mix mayonnaise, mustard and eggs
after an hour pour the dressing over the potatoes and gently stir to combine
add salt and pepper to taste
chill until ready to use

Garlic Salad
1 head of garlic, peeled
olive oil
1 loaf of french bread
1 pound of salad shrimp
head of lettuce, torn
1/2-3/4 cup mayonaise

in the bowl of a food processor add all the peeled garlic cloves pulse to chop
add olive oil with motor running to form a paste
cut the french bread in half length wise
spread the garlic paste over each cut side sprinkle on the salad shrimp
place bread back together, wrap and refrigerate over night
the next day cut the bread into 1 inch cubes toss, in a bowl along with the torn lettuce
and enough mayonnaise to make a creamy salad

Wilted Fresh Greens
Approximately 1 pound of fresh greens, I used Kale you can use beet greens, mustard or turnip

heat a large skillet over medium high heat
meanwhile wash and remove any large stems from the greens
don't bother drying them because the water will help wilt them
when the pan is hot add the greens and stir until they are wilted but still bright green
serve hot with slat and pepper and vinegar

Biscuits--oven 450 degrees
2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tarter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut in chunks
2/3 cup milk

in the bowl of a food processor pulse together the first 5 ingredients
add the butter, pulse until it resembles fine crumbs
pour in the milk and run just until the it forms a ball in the center
flour your hands and pat out the dough on a lightly floured baking stone
cut biscuits remove the excess dough and pat out 1 more time cut the rest of the biscuits
use the scraps to create little dough letters or small drop biscuits do not make more big biscuits as they will be tough from over handling and excessive flour
bake 15 minutes or until they are golden brown
serve hot with unsalted butter

Rhubarb Sauce
4 large stalks of rhubarb
1 cup strawberries
honey or sugar to taste
1 cup water

chop rhubarb in 1 inch chunks, chop strawberries place in a sauce pot
sprinkle with honey or sugar
add water
bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat
reduce heat to low and cook there for 3-4 hours until ready to serve
serve hot over ice cream

Dutch Butter Cake
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs beaten, reserve 1 Tablespoon for brushing on the top of the cakes
1 Tablespoon vanilla or almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

preheat oven to 350 degrees
butter 2 8 inch cake pans
in the bowl of a mixer beat the butter and sugar until fluffy
add the beaten eggs one a time
mix in the vanilla
mix the flour and baking powder together add that to the butter mix and stir until combine
divide evenly between pans and pat out flat and brush with reserved egg
bake for 30 minutes
cool on wire racks
to remove from the pans use a knife to slide around the edge to loosen it
slice in to wedges serve with ice cream and rhubarb sauce

Finished dessert

This was my first 24, 24, 24 event and I have to say I was intimidated by the challenge. I know my cooking abilities and how to make food fun and delicious. Since I was aiming for a '60s feel to the dinner it was hard to not over do each simple recipe. I wanted to put some fresh fennel in the potato salad, make iced coffee and maybe just a touch of feta on the greens, so I guess restraint was my biggest problem. I had to keep asking myself "was this common in the '60s?" and then try to research different recipe and products.

I had a lot of fun making Del Rois barbecue sauce and tasting it was like going back in time to when I ate it as a kid. When my Dad sold Del Rois he sold the recipe with it. Soon after the family that bought it fell upon hard times and the bar eventually closed. It has reopened several times but the recipe that made it famous has never resurfaced. I'd like to think that somewhere someone has a copy folded up and put away safely just waiting to be found and enjoyed.

Our table

The ribs


The creamery

Ice cream choices

Peace and Love,


  1. Laura- What a great job you did, it all looks wonderful and the 60s feel yo were going for shines through beautifully!

  2. What a wonderful 24, 24, 24 event! I love it! I wish I could've been there :)

  3. What a feast!!! That birch ice cream looks delish! And kudos to the family recipe being kept secret! ;) My family has 3 recipes that will never be told and Johnny doesn't understand it - but it's legacy and just gets passed down!

  4. Yum! Everything looks delicious. And fabulous history behind your dinner!

  5. Wow, I just ate breakfast and suddenly I'm starving again!

    The meal looks amazing (what a fun idea!) and I love the local and fresh twist you put on it!

  6. That was an awesome post. From the delicious looking food to the great family story/recipe, it was a great 24-24-24... Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us.

  7. oh my gosh you guys thanks for all your kind words!

  8. bravo - great job on the '24' I have nothing but secret recipes...LOL

  9. Hello fellow "24er!"

    Great story and post. And what an awesome menu! I'm sure your family and friends had a wonderful time being transported back to the 60's.

  10. Wow, that spread looks beautiful!! My mouth is watering!!!!

    My grandmother has a wonderful buttercake recipe that she refuses to share until after she's gone. So I can appreciate the story you shared about your dad's BBQ sauce...how wonderful that you found the recipe after all these years!

    I'm visiting from Amy's blog....I've bookmarked your blog!

  11. Wow, what a cool tribute to your dad's old place, and a great idea!

  12. Laura,

    This is a wonderful post. So much to eat I mean read, or try to cook. Thanks for the wonderful guest post. Your boys are so cute. Love the polar bear.

  13. I loved how you wove in your personal history into this post. Incredibly interesting. It makes the food that you describe have meaning.

    And the fact that you almost threw away that recipe is simply amazing. Must have been meant to be. :)

    Great post! Visiting from Laura's blog.


  14. Again WOW! Thanks everybody for your kind words it makes me smile to read each and every comment.

  15. wow what an awesome 24,24,24 event! all of those dishes look delicious. I find simple recipes tend to make the best food!

  16. Laura as always you blow me away your table looks fab, I just want to dive in and help myself.

    That was the sweetest story of your dad and his BBQ pub, I loved hearing more about your family.

    Thank you for sharing more of you ;).

  17. Great 24 post! Everything looks wonderful!

  18. Awww! You totally did your dad proud!
    Love the birch ice cream- I have had birch syrup before and like it even more than maple syrup!!
    Great 24 post!

  19. Wow all those BBQ!! *drooling*


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  21. Great 24,24,24 post and yummy photos! Love the all the 60s recipes and will be on the look out now for birch ice cream.


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