As the winningest man in barbecue, a New York Times bestselling cookbook author, and a judge on the hit show BBQ Pitmasters on Discovery’s Destination America, Myron Mixon knows more about smoking meat than any man alive. And now he’s on a mission to prove to home cooks everywhere that they can make great barbecue any day of the week—in the comfort of their own backyard or kitchen, no matter their skill level. Across the country at competitions and in his Pride & Joy Bar-B-Que restaurants, Mixon has proven that no other pitmaster’s food can touch his when he’s behind a smoker. But he doesn’t need fancy equipment to do it: He can cook delicious barbecue with any grill, smoker, or oven, even on the busiest weeknight, and you’ll be able to, too, with the nearly 150 recipes in Everyday Barbecue. Armed with Mixon’s advice and tips, you’ll discover that barbecue isn’t just for the Fourth of July and Labor Day; it’s for any day you feel like cooking it. So fire up your grill and get ready to cook incredible barbecue favorites such as Ribs the Easy Way, Myron’s Dr Pepper Can Chicken, and The King Rib sandwich and adventurous backyard fare like Pork Belly Sliders and Barbecue-Fried Baby Backs, plus leftover inspirations, delectable deserts, and even some drunken recipes!
In Everyday Barbecue, you will find some seriously finger-lickin’ good barbecue recipes, including:
• The Essentials: Turning any backyard grill into a smoker—Brisket the Easy Way, Ribs the Easy Way, The Only Barbecue Sauce You Need
• Burgers and Sandwiches: Classic Hickory Smoked Barbecue Burger, The King Rib, Barbecue Pork Belly Sliders, Brisket Cheesesteaks, Barbecued Veggie Sandwiches
• Smoked and Grilled: Perfect Grilled Rib Eyes, Whole Roasted Turkey with Bourbon Gravy, Myron’s Dr Pepper Can Chicken
• Barbecue-Fried: Yes, first you smoke it, then you fry it—Baby Backs, Chicken Lollipops, Cap’n Crunch Chicken Tenders
• Swimmers: Finger-Lickin’ Barbecue Shrimp-and-Cheese Grits, Smoky Catfish Tacos
• Drunken Recipes: Bourbon Brown Sugar Chicken, Whiskey Grilled Shrimp
• Barbecue Brunch: Pitmaster’s Smoked Eggs Benedict with Pulled Pork Cakes, Backyard Bacon
• Plus, Salads and Sides, delectable Desserts, and Leftover inspirations! Baby Back Mac and Cheese, Tinga-Style Barbecue Tacos, Chocolate Cake on the Grill, and Grilled Skillet Apple Pie
Loaded with nearly 150 recipes and mouthwatering photographs throughout, Everyday Barbecue serves up barbecue’s greatest hits (and more) in a fast, efficient way that you’ve never seen before.
Praise for Everyday Barbecue
“Mixon does an admirable job of showing grillers, smokers, and barbecuers how they can turn labor and time-intensive grilling and barbecue projects into weekday meals with a minimum of fuss in this to-the-point collection of 150 smoke-centered recipes. . . . It’s his ingenious use of leftovers that will make readers take notice as he offers suggestions for mountains of leftover brisket, pulled pork, or chicken. This approach—rather than a multitude of variations on ribs, pulled pork and a bevy of sauces—sets the book apart and make it a keeper.”—Publishers Weekly
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About the Author
Kelly Alexander is a former editor at Food & Wine and Saveur magazines and co-author of Smokin’ with Myron Mixon. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, and Newsweek, among other publications. She also teaches food writing at Duke University, and is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.
Read an Excerpt
Mixon / EVERYDAY BARBECUE
HOW IT’S DONE
Remember this, folks: My job here in this book is to show you that barbecue is food that you can enjoy every day. I’m going to break it down and make it as easy as possible for you to make at home.
Six different cooking methods work for the recipes in this book:
1. Smoking on a smoker
2. Smoking on a charcoal grill
3. Smoking on a gas grill
4. Grilling on a charcoal grill
5. Grilling on a gas grill
6. Using an oven
Now I don’t want to confuse you with too much information up front. So what I’m going to do is offer up a general primer right here, right now, and give you all the steps you need to adapt just about any recipe in this book to whichever your preferred cooking method may be. And along the way if there’s additional information you need about cooking methods, I’ll give it to you then and there.
How to Ready a Charcoal Grill
Spread coals on the bottom of the grill.
Using lighter fluid: Pour the lighter fluid on the coals as directed in the instructions, and move away from the grill before you strike the match.
With a chimney starter: These are the very popular 6- to 8-inch-wide cylindrical canisters with handles attached that make good fire starters. To light charcoal (or wood, either way), place a few sheets of newspaper or some lighter-fluid-touched charcoals in the bottom. Place the chimney on the charcoal grate, touch a lit match to the newspaper or charcoals, and the coals will begin to blaze. When most of the coals are white-hot, lift the chimney and dump out the coals into the base of the grill.
Spread the hot coals on the bottom of the grill. It may take up to 30 minutes to get to 500°F (for high heat). Use the hand-pass test to determine the heat: For medium-high heat, rake the coals into a slightly thinner layer and let them burn 5 to 10 minutes longer, so your hand can linger over the coals comfortably for about 5 seconds (count to 5 slowly: one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, etc.); if you can make it to five without having to pull your hand away, the temperature is right. For medium heat, spread the coals even wider along the bottom of the grill and do the hand-pass test for 7 to 8 seconds. For medium-low heat, let the coals burn for 10 to 15 minutes longer than you did for medium-high. You should be able to hold your hand six or so inches above the hot coals for 10 seconds.
The last thing to do before laying your meat on the grill: Make sure your grill grate is clean. The kettle itself can be smoke-and-spice seasoned, a condition that imparts another layer of flavor onto your meat, but you need for that actual grate to be pretty free of encrusted leftovers. When the grill is heating and you’ve already lit the coals, it’s in its “preheated” state: First, brush the grate with a long-handled wire brush. Then use a spatula to scrape off any pieces of debris. Now oil the grates, and there are two methods that work for me. In a hurry: Using heavy-duty potholders, carefully remove the cleaned grate from the grill and spray it with nonstick cooking spray or some olive oil from one of those misting canisters. A little more time: Leaving the grate on the grill, take a couple of sheets of folded-over paper towels, dip them in about ¼ cup vegetable oil to coat, and, grasping the oil-soaked paper towels with tongs, rub them up and down the bars of the hot grate.
How to Ready a Gas Grill
Set all burner dials on high. Preheat until the temperature reaches 500°F. This usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. For medium-high, preheat the grill to high, then turn the burner dials down to medium-high. The temperature should read about 400°F. For medium, preheat the grill to high, then turn the burner dials to medium. The temperature should read about 350°F. For medium-low, preheat the grill to high, then turn the dials down to medium-low. The temperature should read about 325°F.
How to Prepare a Smoker for Smoking
Smokers are made for smoking, but there is a wide range of options from the charcoal-burning “bullet”-style smokers to the ceramic Big Green Egg. In any of these you need to choose which wood you’ll smoke, and I recommend fruit woods because they’re mild in flavor, and high in sap, and generally have fewer impurities in them; you can choose from whatever is easiest to find near you: apple, cherry, grape, and my personal favorite, peach. Soak your wood chips an hour before you plan to light your smoker. Start your charcoal in a charcoal chimney as described above. Place the coals in the bottom third of the smoker (the firebox). Scatter the pre-soaked wood chips on the coals. What I want you to do that you may not already know about is to put a pan of water in the bottom of your smoker. A water pan is not a requirement to cook barbecue; it’s a stylistic touch that I like. I like it because it has a significant benefit: The water pan creates a steamy water bath inside the smoker that helps maintain the meat’s moisture, which is found naturally in its marbling (or fat). The water helps maintain a moist juicy texture in the meat and prevent it from drying out. To set up a water pan, simply fill a medium heavy-bottomed pan (no bigger than a 13 by 9-inch lasagna pan) about halfway with water and place it in the bottom of your smoker. The grill racks (there are usually two) fit above the water pan. Close the lid and monitor the fire until it reaches your desired temperature.
How to Prepare a Kettle or Other Charcoal Grill for Smoking
Take about a cup of your favorite wood chips (I like peach wood, being from Georgia) and soak them in enough water to cover them for at least an hour or, even better, overnight. When you’re ready to cook, drain the wood chips. Wrap them in aluminum foil and seal the edges; the best description I’ve seen of this technique is to make it like a “burrito”—a packet of soaked and drained wood chips. Using a long wooden skewer or a sharp-tined fork, poke several holes in the top of the packet. Set the packet aside. Then prepare the grill: On a standard kettle grill, bank your charcoal to one side, leaving a cold area for the meat to be placed (an “indirect” heat area, where the meat is not directly over the flame but is still being cooked by it). Then place that packet of wood chips underneath the charcoal. Place the lid on the kettle and control the level of the heat with the kettle grill’s vents, opening them up more to cool the smoker and closing them to raise it.
How to Prepare a Gas Grill for Smoking
Most models of gas grills have either two or three burners that can be controlled individually. Here’s what you do: Take about a cup of your favorite wood chips (I like peach wood, as I mentioned above) and soak them in enough water to cover them for at least an hour or, even better, overnight. When you’re ready to cook, drain the wood chips. Wrap them in aluminum foil and seal the edges; the best description I’ve seen of this technique is to make it like a “burrito”—a packet of soaked and drained wood chips. Using a long wooden skewer or a sharp-tined fork, poke several holes in the top of the packet. Set the packet aside. On a two-burner gas grill, light only one side; on a three-burner unit, light the two outside burners and leave the middle one cold. Place that packet of wood chips on the lit section (or sections). The flame will smolder the wet chips, producing smoke to cook and flavor your meat. Then you will place your meat on the unlit section of the gas grill and cook it under indirect heat. That’s it. Don’t worry about the grill’s side vents and making them closed airtight; do the best you can to shut them, but don’t worry; none of my smokers are what you’d call “airtight” either. And I win money with my food all the time.
Indirect Versus Direct Heat
You will hear me talking about “indirect” and “direct” heat throughout this book. Direct heat is simple: The food is cooked directly over the heat source. Food is cooked fast and hot—like my Perfect Grilled Rib Eyes (page 83) or my Mexican-Style Grilled Corn (page 245). Indirect heat means the heat source is a bit removed from the food. If the left burner is lit on your gas grill and you’re cooking Myron’s Dr Pepper Can Chicken (page 88) on the right side of the grill, that’s cooking with indirect heat. In that case, we’re not creating smoke, but if we were, we’d be smoking. Here’s the important difference: We’re not always smoking when we’re using indirect heat, but we’re always using indirect heat when we’re smoking. Got it?
How to use a Kettle or Other Charcoal Grill for Direct-Heat Grilling
In other words, you’re using high heat to cook thin (or thinnish) pieces of meat like steaks and chicken breasts, kebabs and veggies, and the grilled sandwiches and French toast in this book.
Regulating the heat is particularly important with direct grilling: Too hot and you’ll char your food, too cool and you won’t cook it at all. Real barbecue guys use the “hand-pass” test: Hold your hand about six inches or so over the coals. Count to three slowly (one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand), and if you can make it without having to pull your hand away, the temperature is about right for the kind of fast, hot cooking you’re about to do (you’re looking for about 500°F here). Direct grilling almost never requires you to close the grill, so you can stand right by your steaks and make sure they don’t, God forbid, catch on fire.
How to use a Kettle or Other Charcoal Grill for Indirect-Heat Cooking
Even if you don’t plan to smoke something, if you’re making something large on the grill—a whole chicken, say, or a pork roast—you sure can’t cook it at full fiery blast. What you’re going to do is follow the steps above to light and prepare your grill down through oiling the grate. Then what you’re going to do is bank the heated coals on either side of the grill and leave the bottom of the center of the grill empty. Next you’re going to arrange the food in that center cool spot, above but between the hot coals. Then you’re going to close the grill and control the temperature using the vents. The temperature you’re aiming for in indirect grilling is about 350°F.
Regulating the Heat in Any Smoker or Grill
As I’ve said time and time again, cooking over fire is not complicated. And making sure your temperature stays consistent is very important but not very difficult after you understand how it’s done.
Obvious fact #1: As charcoals burn, they cool. This starts to happen after about an hour. If you’re cooking something for less than an hour, don’t worry about it. If you’re cooking something that requires more time than that, you’ll have to do something.
Obvious fact #2: When you’re using a smoker or a grill for indirect-heat cooking, you’re going to need to replenish the coals about every hour, or every time the grill temperature dips 50 or more degrees below what you need it to be.
Obvious fact #3: This is as easy as watching the temperature, opening the grill, adding the new coals near some already well-lit ones, and making sure they catch fire. Monitor the cooker’s temperature and then add your new coals when necessary, and you’ll be able to maintain a consistent temperature in your cooker.
Myron’s Backyard Barbecuing Tips
When you’re smoking and grilling, don’t open the lid if you don’t have to. Every time you open it, you lower the temperature inside it by about five degrees or so—and it’ll take several additional minutes of cooking time to make up for that loss of heat. In using a grill and a smoker, maintaining consistent temperature is very important.
Make your life easier with aluminum foil baking pans. Now some folks in the world of barbecue look down their noses at cooks like me who use aluminum foil to wrap meats and who put meat in aluminum pans. They don’t think this is “authentic” enough—cavemen didn’t have foil, that’s their attitude. Well, cavemen didn’t have satellite television either, and I do. I use aluminum pans because they’re the easiest ways to convey meat from the house to the smoker and then from the smoker to the table. They keep the meat from falling apart, which you risk when you transfer it from a prep station to a smoker, and they make cleanup a whole lot easier.
Use charcoal and lighter fluid to start your fire. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a whole lot of time to waste rubbing sticks together to get a so-called natural fire burning. On the barbecue circuit I’m a “stick burning competitor,” which means I cook meat over smoking whole sticks of wood, which I believe flavors it like nothing else. However, I start my fires with charcoal to get a blaze going to burn the wood, and I start the charcoal with lighter fluid. Some of my fellow competitors protest and scrutinize this method, saying it makes the meat taste like lighter fluid. That’s only true if you don’t read the damn directions on the bottle of fluid about how to use it. After you apply a small amount of lighter fluid to coals, don’t do anything until the coals burn white. Then the fluid has burned off, and you’ve started your fire as easily as possible while still having the benefit of cooking over real wood.
Let your meat rest after you pull it off the grill or smoker. Transfer your beef, chicken, lamb, or pork from the grill or smoker to a cutting board, loosely cover it, and let it rest for at least a few minutes before getting into it and serving it. This seals the juices in and keeps the meat from drying out. Do not cut until you are ready to immediately serve and eat it. Keep those juices flowing till the last minute—you’ll thank me.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Make It Easy xiii
1 How It's Done 1
2 The Lucky Thirteen: The Essentials 15
The Only Marinade You Need 21
The Only Barbecue Rub You Need 22
The Only Other Barbecue Rub You Need 23
The Only Barbecue Sauce You Need 24
The Only Other Barbecue Sauce You Need 25
The Basic Pork Butt, No Ifs, Ands, or Butts 26
Pork Shoulder the Easy Way 28
Brisket the Easy Way 31
Barbecue Whole Chicken the Easy Way 33
Ribs the Easy Way 35
Coleslaw, the Only Side Dish You Need 37
Cornbread, the Only Other Side Dish You Need 38
Grilled Fruit Crisp, the Only Dessert You Need 40
3 Burgers and Sandwiches 43
The King Rib 48
The Classic Hickory-Smoked Barbecue Burger 49
Brisket Cheesesteaks 52
Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Burgers 54
Smoked Turkey Burgers 55
Lamb Burgers with Feta, Onion, and Tomato 56
Barbecue Pork and Slaw Burgers 58
Spicy Salmon Burgers 59
Grilled Smoked Sausage, Pepper, and Caramelized Onion Hoagies 61
Barbecue Pork Belly Sliders 62
Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches 65
Barbecue Bologna Sandwiches 67
Bacon-Wrapped Hotdogs 68
Grilled Reuben Brats 69
Grilled Chicken Sandwiches 70
Grilled Tuna Sandwiches 71
Smoked Bacon BLTs 72
Barbecue Veggie Sandwiches 73
4 Smoked and Grilled 75
Perfect Apple-Glazed Barbecue Pork Chops 81
Perfect Grilled Rib Eyes 83
Barbecue Flank Steak 84
Forget-About-It Eye of the Round Roast 85
Smoky Barbecue Chicken Legs 87
Myron's Dr Pepper Can Chicken 88
Smoked Turkey Drumsticks 90
Smoked Meatloaf 92
Grilled Balsamic Chicken Breasts 94
Grilled Ginger-Peach Chicken Breasts 96
Grilled Lemon Pepper Whole Chicken 98
Grilled Hamburger Steaks with Onions 99
Apricot-Glazed Slow-Smoked Leg of Lamb 100
Barbecue Sweet and Sour Rack of Lamb 104
Barbecue Steak Fajitas 106
Spaghetti and Smoked Meatballs 108
5 Barbecue-Fried 111
Barbecue-Fried Baby Backs 116
Barbecue-Fried Chicken Lollipops 119
Buttermilk Fried Barbecue Chicken 121
Barbecue-Fried Catfish on a Stick 122
Barbecue-Fried Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches 124
Barbecue-Fried Cap'n Crunch Chicken Tenders 126
6 Swimmers 129
Barbecue Shrimp Cocktail 134
Finger-Lickin' Barbecue Shrimp-and-Cheese Grits 136
Barbecue Bacon-Wrapped Scallops 137
Pitmaster-Style Smoked Scallops with Slaw 138
Real-Dill Lemon Tilapia 139
Grilled Clams with Barbecue Butter and Baguette 141
Barbecue Tuna Steaks 142
Blackened Barbecue Catfish 144
Smoky Catfish Tacos 145
Smoked Bluefish Spread 147
Barbecue Smoked Salmon 148
Grilled Cod Kebabs 151
7 Drunken Recipes 153
Smoked Rib Eyes with Bourbon Butter 158
The Bourbon-Bacon Burger 159
Smoked Whiskey Wings 161
Bourbon Brown Sugar Chicken 162
Smoked Turkey with Whiskey Gravy 164
Whiskey Grilled Shrimp 167
Bourbon Smoked Salmon 168
Bourbon'd Sweet Potato Casserole 170
Whiskey Creamed Corn 172
8 Barbecue Brunch 175
Slow-Smoked Sunday Ham 179
Pitmaster's Smoked Eggs Benedict with Pulled Pork Cakes 181
Grilled Egg "Muffins" 184
Backyard Bacon 186
Grilled Egg-Stuffed Peppers 188
Smoky Bacon Bloody Mary 189
Smoky Bacon Dry and Dirty Vodka Martinis 193
Grilled Honey-Vanilla French Toast 194
Blueberry-Buttermilk Swirl Grilled Coffee Cake 195
Smoked Egg Salad English Muffins 197
9 Leftovers 199
Baby Back Mac and Cheese 203
Barbecue Eggrolls 206
Barbecue Brisket Potato Soup 208
Barbecue Brisket Chili 210
Boss Cobb Salad 212
Barbecue Stuffed Mushrooms 213
Barbecue Chicken and Egg Salad with Bacon 214
Barbecue Pasta Salad 215
Barbecue Pork and Black Bean Burritos 216
Tinga-Style Barbecue Tacos 219
Barbecue Brisket Wraps 220
Pulled Pork Burgers 222
Barbecue Pizza 224
Barbecue Chicken Cakes 227
Barbecue Pork and Mashed Potato Pie 228
10 Salads and Sides 231
Grilled Hickory-Smoked Caprese Salad 235
The Pitmaster's Wedge 237
Hail Caesar Smoky Salad 238
Watermelon, Feta, Red Onion, and Mint Summer Salad 240
Spinach Salad with Peaches, Pecans, and Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing 242
Grilled Hickory-Smoked Summer Squash and Zucchini Salad 243
Mexican-Style Grilled Corn 245
Smoked Potatoes 246
Pitmaster-Style Grilled Veggie Kebabs 247
Smoky Collard Greens 251
Barbecue Jalapeño-Cheddar Hushpuppies 253
Barbecue Smoked Cabbage 254
Slow-Smoked Barbecue Cherry Tomatoes 256
Vidalia Onion Relish 257
Grilled Sweet Onion and Green Tomato Chowchow 258
11 Dessert 261
Chocolate Cake on the Grill 265
Grilled Skillet Apple Pie 268
Fried Peach Pies 271
Grilled Bananas and Maple Rum Sauce 274
Grilled Strawberry Cobbler 275
Grilled Peaches and Bourbon Cream 277
S'mores Cheesecake 278
Georgia Peach ice Cream 280
Georgia Peanut Peanut Butter Ice Cream 281
Grilled Pound Cake 282
Grilled Banana-Chocolate Boats 283
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Mr. Mixon provides a lot of useful information in this book. The techniques he describes are great and he shows a lot of creativity in his recipes. But, there are several things he wrote that don’t seem consistent. For example, he says his recipes require no brining but some of them require marinating overnight in his marinade. Most people would call his marinade a brine as it is contains 4 cups of liquid with 3/4 cup each of salt & sugar. When I used it to BBQ a piece of pork, the meat came out extremely salty. On TV, I have heard Mixon say numerous times that he doesn’t want to taste sugar on a piece of BBQ beef. But, in this book, the rub he says to use for beef is half sugar! In his first book, he recommended a beef rub which had only 1 teaspoon of sugar in a recipe that produced 3/4 cup which is more consistent with his taste. But, I have one caveat. All the rubs, sauces, and marinades in this book require a lot of salt and sugar. For example, the BBQ sauce he recommends tasted a lot like tomato ketchup with the addition of salt, black pepper and a lot of sugar. Furthermore, some of the recipes call for additional salt, sugar or both. So, if you don’t like overly salty or sugary food or are cooking for people with diabetes or high blood pressure, you should think twice about following the recipes completely. Personally, I prefer to leave out all the sugar and most of the salt.
Husband is enjoying the storytelling and recipes
I always appreciate reviews from people who have tried the recipes but since I just received today, this is not possible. I plan to work my way through this book. I like the format, nearly every recipe has a picture, the size of the book is easy to handle. I will also say that Cousin Rick’s Game and Fish and Deer Burger Cookbooks are a 5 Star rating so I’m hoping the same will be on this one.