4 Recipes to elevate Your next BBQ

+ a Little History About Barbecue’s ROOTS


Bethany Rae, July 9, 2019

It’s July and few things scream “omg summer!” quite like the backyard barbecue. While the modern BBQ has become the traditional celebration for all things American…the truth is, its roots are as varied as a folding table full of pasta salads. Let us explain.

/bärbə kyo͞o/ noun

Meal or gathering at which meat or fish or other food is cooked outdoors, on a rack over an open flame or on a portable grill.

Man began cooking meat over a fire 1.8 million years ago and boy are we glad someone had that great idea. According to Smithsonian Magazine, the first tribes Christopher Columbus encountered on the island of Hispaniola had developed a unique way of cooking food over an open flame created using green wood (to keep food and wood from burning). The Spanish referred to this cooking style as barbacoa.

People migrated to America, bringing their cuisine with them and, in 1540, the Chicksaw tribe of Mississippi cooked their first pork feast over the barbacoa. Over time, this uncommon cooking technique made its way as far north as Virginia– branching out to other meats such as beef in Texas or Mutton in Kentucky.

British colonists combined this new method with their old basting techniques and regional flavors were born. South Carolina and its French and German immigrants created rich mustard-based sauces while North Carolina’s Britons preferred the tartness of a bold vinegar marinade. Memphis was the birthplace of the sweeter tomato-based barbecue sauce due to its port position on the Mississippi River which gave it access to molasses. From there, subregions made their own alterations right down to the elusive secret family recipe.

No matter how you roast it (or what you’re roasting!), the BBQ itself has been a big part of American celebratory culture. According to Steven Raichlen {author of Planet Barbecue and host of Primal Grill}: when we won the Revolutionary War, laid the cornerstone of the capitol, and built the first bridge over the Mississippi River, America commemorated the event with a BBQ. George Washington’s diaries abound with references to BBQs– including one that lasted three days! And when Abe Lincoln’s parents were married, the wedding feast was…well, you guessed it. Why, the first commercial charcoal briquet factory was designed by Thomas Edison and built by Henry Ford (1921).

Plenty of historical figures and forward thinkers knew they were onto something fun and delicious…shouldn’t the food you’re bringing to that graduation celebration or annual block party be more than just ordinary? Don’t panic. We’re here to help. Below are a few recipes to make sure the next BBQ you host (or attend) goes down in history.

Dry Rub

(yields 1.5 cups)

  • Two 6” corn tortillas
  • ¼ cup cumin
  • 2 tbs paprika
  • 2 tbs granulated garlic
  • 1 tbs coriander
  • 2 tbs oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • ½ cup chili powder
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 tbs pepper

Bake tortillas in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes or until completely hard. Use a spice grinder to grind into a fine powder…which should then be mixed with the other spices. This magical mix can be used on anything from meat to veggies or as the perfect spice combo for a pot of chili (ground tortillas are an ideal thickener). Store unused rub in an airtight container until you’re ready to make smoked wings.

Smoked Wings

(yields 3 pounds)

  • 3 lbs chicken wings (preferably wing/tips which hold up better)
  • 2 tbs canola oil
  • ½ cup dry rub
  • buffalo sauce
  • 2 cups wood chips

Soak wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes and toss the wings with oil and dry rub to coat thoroughly. Smoke wings at 225° for 1.5 hours. These wings should be chilled until you’re ready to serve them, then reheated (grill both sides until marked and hot) right before they hit the table. Toss with your favorite buffalo sauce and serve in a chafing dish to keep warm. If they even last that long.

Green Bean and Potato Salad

(for 10 people)

  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs champagne vinegar
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp dry dill
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbs salt
  • ½ tbs pepper
  • 2 tbs whole grain mustard
  • ½ cup scallions, sliced
  • ½ cup parsley, minced
  • 2 lbs red potatoes
  • 1 lb haricot verts or green beans, frozen

Mix everything (except potatoes and beans) in a large bowl and set aside. Thaw frozen green beans. Cut potatoes in half and then into ¼” slices…then put into a pot of cold water with 1 tbs salt (there should be enough water to cover the potatoes). Bring to boil and set your timer for about 8 minutes. Potatoes should be almost soft. Drain and cool. Gently toss potatoes and thawed greens with the dressing and garnish with additional scallions. Feel free to triple this recipe…we won’t judge.

Pimento Mac and Cheese

(for 10 people)

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ tbs dry mustard powder
  • 1.5 tbs salt
  • 1.5 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup roasted bell pepper, diced small
  • 10 cups cooked pasta
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add onion and cook, stirring often, until very soft (about 5 minutes). Add flour, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and paprika. Continue cooking (stirring constantly) for 2 minutes. Add milk and cream and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add roasted peppers and simmer over a low heat…stirring occasionally…until slightly thickened. Pour cream mixture over cooked pasta and stir in shredded cheeses. This entire bowl of yum goes into a large oven-safe dish and is then topped with panko. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Too hot in your kitchen? Call Northern Fork and we’ll do the work. We’ll even drive it over. Start by perusing our menu.


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