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For Father’s Day, Cook Up Some Spareribs, Chili, Potato Salad For Dad

Father’s Day is about giving Dad exactly what he wants. And for many fathers, instead of being treated to a fancy meal, all he may want is some good, old fashioned Southern spareribs, chili, and potato salad to dig into—with ice cold beer on hand, too!

Chef Peter Ayson fell in love with Southern cooking at a very young age when his father would cook Southern-style chili for the family. When Chef Pete lived in Chicago, he became fascinated with slow-cooked barbecue, and traveled to Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana to learn more. Back in the Philippines, he put his knowledge of Southern cooking to practice, as executive chef and partner for restaurants such as Café Creole, New Orleans, Claw Daddy and Cajun Shack.

Inspired by his own father, Chef Pete shares his favorite recipes influenced by the rich, soulful traditions of Southern cooking. For Father’s Day, these dishes may indeed be the perfectly delicious way to show Dad how much you love him.


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Coca-Cola Pork Spareribs

Coke with barbecue? Yes indeed! Check most Southern cookbooks, and you’ll likely find recipes that use Coke as an ingredient of choice, whether as a meat tenderizer or even used to moisten cake! Chef Pete finds that Coke brings a burst of flavor to the grill and is a fun way to showcase barbecue. He loves to experiment with different sauces and rubs for his barbecues, and has tried this recipe with Dr. Pepper, Mug Root Beer, and even Sarsi. So go ahead and use your favorite soda to liven up your spareribs!



Serves 6

1 1/2 kilos pork spare ribs

1 small bottle Coca-Cola

1 cup tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Tabasco sauce, to taste

cayenne pepper, to taste

salt and black pepper, to taste


1. Put the ribs in a braising pan and cover them with Coca-Cola. Bring to a boil and cook for 40 minutes until tender. Remove ribs from the pan and reduce the cola until it has a syrupy consistency.

2. Mix in all the other ingredients and leave the sauce to cool.

3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the ribs in a baking tray.

4. Pour the marinade over the ribs and bake for 30 minutes.

5. For additional texture and flavor, finish the ribs by grilling in charcoal for 6 to 8 minutes. Serve with grilled corn, and homemade coleslaw.


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Chili Beef and Squash

In the United States, chili con carne comes in different versions, with or without beans, cooked with tomatoes or not, with beef, turkey or vegetarian. But the most important thing is it should be spicy! Chef Pete says the best way to cook chili is to let it simmer over the stove for a long time, to develop and deepen its flavor. His chili recipe includes squash to add a different texture to the dish and as a “healthier” option for his customers. For his spice of choice, he prefers canned chipotle peppers in adobo seasoning which gives his chili loads of heat and smokiness. While smoked chili peppers work best, if you can’t find them or prefer a gentler spiciness, you can use any other chili pepper of your choice.



Serves 6 to 8

1 kilo boneless beef chuck, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

rock salt, to taste

freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large white onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 cups chicken broth or beef broth

1 bottle lager or dark beer

1 cup Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 squash, sliced into thin wedges, then into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds 

salt, to taste

sour cream

chopped avocado

sliced red onion, garnish


1. Season beef with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over. Set aside.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the same pot, and sauté onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened. Add cumin and oregano.

3. Return beef to the pot and add broth and beer. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost completely reduced, about 4 minutes.

4. Add Chipotle peppers and season with salt and pepper, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is slightly thickened and meat is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. 

5. Add squash then cover pot and cook until tender, around 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in lime juice.

6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Toss pumpkin seeds and remaining oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt. Bake pumpkin seeds, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.

7. Serve the chili topped with sour cream, avocado, red onion, and toasted pumpkin seeds.


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Hallelujah Potato Salad

Who doesn’t love potato salad, especially when served at an outdoor barbecue or picnic? It can be prepared ahead of time, served cold or at room temperature, and can easily feed a large crowd. While there are many versions from around the world, American-style potato salad usually features mayonnaise, pickles, and yellow mustard. Chef Pete’s version (which he serves at his New Orleans Restaurant) ups the spice quotient with paprika, jalapeños, and hot sauce. A perfect side dish for the Coca-Cola Pork Spareribs, this potato salad also works well with multi-colored sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes.



Serves 4 to 6

5 Yukon gold potatoes

4 large hard-cooked eggs, peeled

1 tablespoon salt

1 cup + 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 cup pickle relish, drained

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1 large diced pimiento

2 tablespoons apple cider

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

hot sauce, to taste

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

salt and pepper, to taste


1. Cook potatoes in boiling water to cover 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool for 15 minutes. Peel potatoes, and place in a large bowl. 

2. Add eggs and chop mixture into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle with salt; toss to coat.

3. Combine mayonnaise and the rest of the ingredients except the paprika. Gently stir into potato mixture. Sprinkle with paprika then add salt and black pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or cover and chill before serving.


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The original version of this article first appeared in FOOD Magazine, Issue 1, 2017

Recipes by Peter Ayson

Photos by Paulo Valenzuela

Styling by Pixie Sevilla

Set styling by Athena Fregillana