Crowd looks like being around 15-18. I am not an expert. Any tips?
This is going to sound like heresy, but I would cook the ribs in the oven, wrapped in foil, very low and slow (say at 225 degrees F for about 4 hrs). Then, right before serving throw them on the grill to get some color and char on them. It's "cheating" but they'll be unbelievably delicious and tender, and it will save you some grief. If you're doing lamb and ribs and seafood, you'll want to divide and conquer. This will ensure that your ribs are awesome and take some of the pressure off.
I'm right there with petitbleu in terms of using the grill for flavor, and the oven for finishing. As for sauces on the other end, avoid this recently posted one like the plague, else you and your guests will be retching into your plates if you explain its provenance:
I guess I have always been a rib cheater petitbleu as that is how I always do them...especially when packing them for camping! Maybe now that I have a new grill I will try them the non-cheating way. But yes- we do a dry rub the night before (brown sugar, dry mustard, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper) then bake just as petitbleu describes and grill and slather with sauce. Or, I could not get enough of Queen Sashy's masala chai ribs (http://food52.com/recipes...) which could be finished on the grill instead of the oven.
Cynthia- I had missed that gem so thanks for that...my eyes are burning...
For lamb, my favorite lately is the szechuan lamb which I did with lambchops but also do with a whole leg. We cut it into strips, marinate in the same marinade, skewer, sprinkle with spice, and grill (http://food52.com/recipes...). You can slice it the night before, marinate in the morning and it grills fairly quickly.
As for sides, a quick vinegary slaw, grilled corn if you have it yet (would also be great with that cilantro chimichurri mixed with butter) crusty bread, tomatoes...
Speaking to ribs and lamb, I've done both of these recently. For pork ribs (a full rack of baby backs)I used a dry rub of pimenton and salt and smoked them over mixed hardwood charcoal for about two hours. I finished it with the Giddy Swamp sauce by Bubba Mac, which is possibly one of the best sauce recipes ever posted to Food52. Brush that on toward the end.
For lamb, I use rib chops. I french the bone and cook them over high heat Roman style for scotaditto which means "burn your fingers". You will need to add more coals to bring the grill back up to heat. After that they need nothing more than salt and perhaps a squeeze of lemon.
To further ease the burden, I would serve steamed shrimp as my starter.
Thank you everybody. Seafood for starters is a good idea. As I am not a fan of smoked food of any kind, I'll be grilling normally. A dry rub is something to consider though. I like the whole Italian idea. Might skip the southern sauce. Wouldn't want to mix my cuisines at the one meal. All very helpful though and my sincere thanks for taking the trouble to advise me.