Six in the City: Southern barbecue tips for Labor Day

Six in the City: Southern barbecue tips for Labor Day

Being a BBQ master is all about getting the freshest and best proteins and then knowing what makes BBQ great. From the right seasonings to the best cookbooks, we have what you need to know.

Labor Day BBQ!
Labor Day BBQ!

WASHINGTON, August 20, 2016 – The summer flew by blisteringly fast and the final big summer hurrah, Labor Day, is right around the corner. Its time to create the perfect BBQ for your friends and family.

Luckily “Six in the City” visited the Hill Center DC, bringing a culinary tour of great Southern BBQ from six different grill masters, many of which offer their spices and cookbooks on line to help you recreate the best of “Southern Style Barbecue”:

The Pit from Raleigh, North Carolina, shared authentic North Carolina style chopped whole-hog barbecue with Sweet Potato Vodka, Moonshine and beer from Lone Rider Brewery and it was mighty, mighty good. The BBQ had a tangy smoke flavor and deep red ring of fire.  The BBQ is succulent and mouth watering.

A lot of that has to do with the fact that the Pit gets its pork proteins from smaller family farms that have earned the AWA seal.  AWA standards mean that animals must be able to behave naturally and be in a state of physical and psychological well-being. Animal Welfare Approved has the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare currently in use by any United States organization.

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Doc’s BBQ from South Carolina offered pulled pork BBQ with Scratch Made Southern Way Mustard Sauce and deep fried catfish nuggets along with River Rat Craft Beer. Catfish is a Southern favorite, but it can be quickly destroyed by anything but the freshest cat, too much cornmeal breading or over frying.  Luckily Doc’s keeps it fresh, perfectly breaded and fried just right!  On the side is their Southern Way mustard sauce that is rich and tangy.

While this is not Doc’s recipe, it is a solid South Carolina style mustard sauce great for fish or chicken or a mustard for sandwiches, slathering over corned beef brisket before baking or any number of uses.

South Carolina Mustard Sauce


3/4 cup prepared yellow mustard
1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce


Combine all the ingredients and mix well. Make at least 24 hours prior to usage for best flavor. Store refrigerated in a tightly covered jar for up to two weeks.

Wiley's Championship BBQ - Shrimp in Jack Daniels BBQ sauce over cheesy grits with tart collard greens | Image - Jacquie Kubin
Wiley’s Championship BBQ – Shrimp in Jack Daniels BBQ sauce over cheesy grits with tart collard greens – Sweet Potato Casserole and bread pudding | Image – Jacquie Kubin

Wileys Championship BBQ of Savannah, Georgia, offered an am amazing low country Jack Daniel’s BBQ shrimp with cheddar cheese grits and local craft beer from Service Brewing Co. Grits are a great addition to your barbecue menu.  Always purchase whole stone ground grits, not fast or instant.

Linwaun Eauwell, Sous Chef Wiley's Championship BBQ
Linwaun Eauwell, Sous Chef Wiley’s Championship BBQ
Wiley's Cookbook
Wiley’s Cookbook

You can learn some great grits tips from Southern Home Cooking, or order Wiley’s Cookbook from or request a personalized copy for the grill master in your family.

Adding a bit of Jack Daniel’s to a dark, rich, molasses based BBQ sauce adds a flavor profile pop to the sweet shrimp,  layered over creamy grits with a thick swirl of sharp cheddar cheese to create a sweet, tart, hearty dish filled with plenty of savory umami.

Alongside those succulent shrimp, a serving of tart collard greens can be made without the lard that Grandma used with a fresh sweet taste of smokehouse-cured bacon:

Wiley’s Championship BBQ Collard Greens Recipe

How to Prepare Leafy Greens:

Leafy greens of various varieties – collards, turnip greens, cabbage, kale — are nutritious when cooked and seasoned.  Always wash greens very well in several changes of fresh tap water. Drain them dry, remove any thick stems and cut them into smaller bite-sized ribbons.


8 Cups of Water
3 1/2 pounds fresh collard greens, cleaned, stemmed and chopped
1 pound smoked ham hocks
3 large onions, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup apple sider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon freshly gorund black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, combine all ingredients. Simmer covered for 2 hour, stirring occasionally.

With a slotted spoon, remove the ham hocks. When the ham hocks are cool enough to handle, pick the meat from them and put the bits back into the greens.

Simmer another 15 minutes. You can serve the greens immediately, but sometimes the flavors meld and taste even better the next day.

Store any leftover greens, cooled to room temperature, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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Texas: known for Honky Tonks, whiskey, the Fort Worth Stock Yards and BBQ | Image – Jacquie Kubin

For those in the Washington D.C. metro area, Hill Country BBQ & Market from Fort Worth, Texas, has a location on 7th Avenue, N.W. featured succulent pit-smoked brisket and whiskey from Firestone & Robertson Distillery.  It’s easy to see why this Texas inspired BBQ spot is rated among the ten best BBQ spots in Washington, DC (The Washington Post).

Truly from Texas is TX whiskey, one of the most enjoyable sipping whiskey’s distilled.  Beneath the distinctive cork adorned with a swatch of boot leather, lies a lovely auburn colored whiskey. The nose brings essence of vanilla bean, oak and, very forward, pear as flavors of honey, butter, caramel and the lightest under note of coffee pour across your tongue.

A first sip and the realization that this is a whiskey a man will enjoy, but its sweet nose and smooth honey and caramel make it a whiskey distilled for a woman.

Corky’s Rib’s and BBQ from Memphis, Tennessee, shared slow-cooked BBQ Ribs along with Corky’s Dry Rub Pulled pork, slow cooked BBQ rigs, baked beans and creamy cole slaw, and, of course, Cornbread. Corky’s has developed a dry rub that they call “Better than Sex” and in this case, it may be true.

Cookin' With Corky's cookbook and Better Than Sex dry rub available at
Cookin’ With Corky’s cookbook and Better Than Sex dry rub available at Corky’s BBQ web site

Corky’s dry rub is perfect mixture of salt, sugar, paprika, chili pepper, brown sugar and “other spices” – which I bet includes a bit of ground coriander – melds a sweet and spicy robust dry rub that can be used before grilling, creating a nice caramelized coating to your grilled ribs or brisket, or added to sauces or use in slow cooking.

The purpose of dry rub is to allow a slow infusion of the four “Ss” of flavor – Sugar, Savory, Spices and Herbs and Spicy. The sugar adds a bit of sweetness and it is a known flavor enhancer (which is why high fructose corn syrup – sugar made from corn – can be found in everything from bread to almost all processed foods) and it provides a crust over meat, holding other flavors inside, providing a nice grilled brownness to your grill meats – from chicken, to ribs, to chops and even steaks.

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The second rule of a good rub is something savory, adding a delicious aroma to your rub that is released upon cooking. Its what creates that “something smells good” aroma in your kitchen.  Savory comes from bay, coriander, garlic, and green herbs. The most common spice in any good dry rub is paprika, and no not all paprikas are equal.

There are basically six types of paprika with some variations available – Hot, Hungarian, Plain, Smoked, Spanish, Sweet.

Visit a spice purveyor like Penzey’s spices to see their varieties all available in smaller jars to hearty bags to order.  It is always a good idea to buy spices in smaller containers and then throw them out and replace every year as they will loose their potency over time.  The final of the four is spice, usually from ground chilis, which adds a bit of heat and a flavor profile that should move around the sweet and savory with every bite.

The rule of spice is if you take a bit of your dried rub and put it on your tongue, the spice should be the last flavor, detected at the back of tongue, and not burn your sweet and savory receptors at the front and mid area of the tongue respectively.

Corky's Memphis BBQ - Pecan Pie, Fudge Pie and Banana Pudding | Image Jacquie Kubin
Corky’s Memphis BBQ – Pecan Pie, Fudge Pie and Banana Pudding | Image Jacquie Kubin

Corky’s really shone with fabulous southern style deserts – banana pudding, pecan pie and fudge pie accompanied by Memphis Sweet Tea with or without  Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Bourbon for mixing or for sipping.

Recipes for all these treats, and so much more from lemon dill grilled salmon to bacon blue cheese bread are in a book that not only tells you the how, but also the why, of many of the recipes.

Jim N' Nicks - Cheesey muffins, BBQ Chicken and Sauces | Image by Jacquie Kubin
Jim N’ Nicks – Cheesey muffins, BBQ Chicken and Sauces | Image by Jacquie Kubin

Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ from Birmingham, Alabama, amazed with quartered chicken with Morgan Co. Alabama white sauce served over collard greens – and it was amazing.  The white sauce, drizzled over the robustly sauced BBQ chicken thighs, brings a burst of fresh flavor to the sweet and smokey chicken thighs that are super juicy and flavorful.

The secret? That burst of vinegar in the white sauce plays off the sweet with just the right amount of kick. Mixing and melding the new BBQ flavors found at Six in the City, melting a stick of butter, adding a bit of minced onion and garlic and a generous dusting of Wiley’s Sex in the City seasonings, when hot, adding chicken thighs, turning over in the sauce and sprinkling a bit more Wiley’s as you go cooking to “almost cooked”, still a bit pink and moist on the inside (its always good to have a “test” piece you can cut into).

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Take the chicken off the heat, add some Jim N’ Nicks Barb-B-Que sauce to the butter and cook down to sauce, skimming the fats from the butter and chicken off the top. Strain the sauce once to remove the onion and garlic, and set aside. Then strain two more times to make a nice silken sauce. If you like, you can also add a generous portion of Jack Daniels or Woodford Preserve bourbon to your sauce. The alcohol, which will burn off, will balance the richness of the sauce due to the butters and sugars.

Do this the day before your BBQ, place your chicken in sealed container, toss the onions and garlic you set aside on the container and drizzle well with your sauce, reserving enough for grilling.  Bringing your grill to a medium heat, place your room temperature chicken on the grill and brush with your warmed sauce, sprinkle a bit more Better than Sex seasonings, and grilling to reach a nice browned color and a cooked temperature of 165-170.   When cooking chicken thighs, or breast, use tongs to turn, avoiding piercing and keeping the flavors inside.

Before serving, drizzle with Morgan County White Sauce for an incredible flavor profile that will take you from some that grills to a master of the grill.

Hard to believe that much flavor is only $5.99 a bottle. Visit Jim N’ Nicks website to order and while you are there order a bag of Jim’ N Nicks Cheese Biscuit mix.  Easy to make, they will make all the difference to your BBQ picnic table.

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