Rodney Scott's World of BBQEVERY DAY IS A GOOD DAY: A COOKBOOK


In the first cookbook by a Black pitmaster, James Beard Award–winning chef Rodney Scott celebrates an incredible culinary legacy through his life story, family traditions, and unmatched dedication to his craft.

“BBQ is such an important part of African American history, and no one is better at BBQ than Rodney.”—Marcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur

Rodney Scott was born with barbecue in his blood. He cooked his first whole hog, a specialty of South Carolina barbecue, when he was just eleven years old. At the time, he was cooking at Scott’s Bar-B-Q, his family’s barbecue spot in Hemingway, South Carolina. Now, four decades later, he owns one of the country’s most awarded and talked-about barbecue joints, Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston.

In this cookbook, co-written by award-winning writer Lolis Eric Elie, Rodney spills what makes his pit-smoked turkey, barbecued spare ribs, smoked chicken wings, hush puppies, Ella’s Banana Puddin’, and award-winning whole hog so special. Moreover, his recipes make it possible to achieve these special flavors yourself, whether you’re a barbecue pro or a novice. From the ins and outs of building your own pit to poignant essays on South Carolinian foodways and traditions, this stunningly photographed cookbook is the ultimate barbecue reference. It is also a powerful work of storytelling. In this modern American success story, Rodney details how he made his way from the small town where he worked for his father in the tobacco fields and in the smokehouse, to the sacrifices he made to grow his family’s business, and the tough decisions he made to venture out on his own in Charleston.

Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ is an uplifting story that speaks to how hope, hard work, and a whole lot of optimism built a rich celebration of his heritage—and of unforgettable barbecue.

Rodney Scott

It was a surprise to many when in 2018 the James Beard award for Best Chef Southeast went to a BBQ pitmaster. No one was more surprised than the deserving recipient himself, Chralston based Rodney Scott. Not one to rest on his laurels. Rodney has a Birmingham location of his Whole Hog restaurant and wrote a book.

It was a great pleasure that Rodney Scott was recently kind enough to talk with us about his new book Rodney Sscott’s World of BBQ.

~~~~~~~

BAF: You’re originally from Philly. I believe.

Rodney Scott: Yes, sir. I was born in Philadelphia and my mom moved back to South Carolina when I was a year old.

BAF: Essentially you’re a South Carolina guy.

Rodney Scott: Definitely South Carolina.

BAF: You got into barbecue through your dad.

Rodney Scott: Yes, sir. I got into barbecue through my dad. Hanging around your mom, your dad and the store was where they worked and being that kid on the job, I kind of watched and experienced them doing whole hogs.

BAF: Before your father, was there a family history of barbecue?

Rodney Scott: Before my father, his uncle was doing barbecue. But, maybe it started way back before then, but what I know is, that this was the particular uncle that taught my dad how to cook barbecue.

BAF: And your breakthrough in barbecue came because you wanted to go to a game or something and your dad wouldn’t let you go until you cooked a whole hog yourself.

Rodney Scott: Yes, sir. True story. I wanted to go to a basketball game and as a kid in the rural areas growing up on farms and in different places, you had chores. And, that particular day firing that hog was my chore. I wanted to go to that game and that was a challenge given to me and I took on that challenge and did the best I could.

BAF: I’m sure you were extremely nervous but when you finally flipped it over you felt you could sort of relax.

Rodney Scott: Oh yeah. One of the things he stressed before he left was don’t burn the ribs and the belly. And, they left me the flashlight and you would get on one knee and kind of shine the light up under the hog to see if you were cooking it right. And I just kept noticing the change of color and I knew what color I was looking for, but I didn’t know exactly how the look, how the feel was that it was done. So when I got to the color that I thought was right, that’s when I felt okay and when I flipped it over was when I was totally relieved, that’s when I knew, okay, great. This is done.

BAF: I’m guessing you may have cooked a couple of hogs since then. Do you still, is there still that sense of focus and trepidation when it gets to that point?

Rodney Scott: It is still that sense of focus, and the slight nervousness, the looking the touching wanting that great color under it and wanting it done all the same time. It’s the same, passion and drive that I had to get that thing done right the first time, I still have it.

BAF: How do you pass it on to the guys that work for you and now? How do you give them that sense of feel or that iIntuition that something is done?

Rodney Scott: I’m able to pass that same feeling on now through kind of sticking with these guys side by side for a minute. Kind of showing them how I do it. Of course we’ve created a manual to kind of guide our Pitmasters, but also to stand there with them and encourage them and show them and try to show them the fun points, the finer side, the exciting side of doing it. So they’ll be excited to see the color change, the meat being tender and done, and to be seasoning it with love. So working with them a little bit side-by-side, or just visiting them and encouraging them is kind of how I kind of get them into it to see how much fun this can be. Even though it’s hard work, there are moments that you can truly enjoy and appreciate in doing this.

BAF: And maybe I can ask a little bit about the James Beard award. That must have been quite something first when you got nominated.

Rodney Scott: Oh, wow. 

BAF: I think that pretty much sums everything up. That word “wow”.

Rodney Scott: I remember that morning, we were meeting with the staff and Nick texted me. My partner, Nick Pihakis, texted me and Nick always texts me on the regular. And then a friend John T. (Edge) texted me “congratulations on making the semi-finalist list”.

So when the things came in, I’m like, well, what’s going on here? You know? And I was in the middle of talking to my staff and the phone just kept vibrating and I looked and they sent me a screenshot. And let me tell you, you could not tell me just being mentioned on that list with so many great people… It was like the greatest thing ever. I said, Oh my goodness. We’re being mentioned with some of the best chefs around. And I was just excited. I was satisfied at that point. And I remember I went and bought some dark, dark chocolate with almonds from the grocery store across the street. And I nibbled on that bag all the way back with joy and the excitement of just being mentioned. And when it got to the finalist list, man, that was, that was even more fear and nerves. And, I can’t even begin to tell you about that night. That whole day leading up to that ceremony. Very little food to eat because I was so nervous and excited. They didn’t want me drinking. I still had to slip in a drink here and there. The nerves were everywhere.

They wanted me to stay focused and you don’t know if you’re going to win or not. And in my mind, I was just glad to be there.

It was rough. It was the nervousness of walking around and people saying, are you excited? Are you ready for tonight? And it was so much fear that I had for this. No words can describe.

BAF: I should follow-up with kind of a two-prong question. How did you feel when you won and how did the win affect barbecue or people’s perspective of barbecue?

Rodney Scott: Well, first of all, how I felt when I won, I was so, so, so surprised. It felt so surreal. I was waiting to wake up, because I had already dreamed about what might happen. And to win and to stand on that stage and to look out on all of these amazing people in the food industry. It felt good to say that, ‘hey look, we were here, we did our best. And here we go. Thank you.” But it also felt good because now we’ve done something that hadn’t been done a lot. And people are recognized and not just me, but everybody that’s cooking barbecue. Barbecue is getting recognized and put right next to fine dining. And for me, that felt like a huge accomplishment, not just for myself, but for my restaurant family, all of the people in the same business, it just felt like a big step for me, for us.

BAF: I remember when I heard you won, I thought that was great. And I felt, it just shows people, okay, there is something serious and with a history, and that is its own category. That is worth consideration. Just as much as any other cooks out there. It is deserving.

Rodney Scott: You know, I remember making a joke to my wife a few months after that. I don’t know if you ever watched the movie Friday with Ice Cube.

BAF: Years ago, yeah.

Rodney Scott: Remember the last one they made Friday after next with Kat Williams?

BAF: That one I don’t think I saw.

Rodney Scott:: Katt Williams had a line in that movie where he said “This is not a game. We don’t do this for play”. And those words, I told my wife that, and I said, this is barbecue we’re serious, this is not a game. We don’t do this for play. And I always would tell her that whenever people would think, Oh, I’m just going to go out and cook all this barbecue and I’m going to be, it’s going to be easy. I’m like, no, this is serious work. We all take it serious. We don’t play when it comes to creating great barbecue. And I don’t know a Pitmaster that does play when it comes to creating barbecue.

BAF: What about the book? How did this all come around?

Rodney Scott: Do you know, the book came around, first of all, a lot of people were like, when are you going to do a book? And I’m like, well, I don’t know. I don’t know about a book.

BAF: Were people asking before the award about a book. ‘When are you going to do it?’

Rodney Scott: Not many people asked before the award. A couple of people mentioned it maybe once or twice, and I never really thought about it. And then when we did get the award was when a lot of times- it kept coming up a little bit more ‘Hey, are you going to do a book? How are you going to do a book? You should do a book.’ And I remember Raquel Pelzel came to me at Big Apple (BBQ). And she mentioned doing a book and you know, me and the excitement of cooking and being happy I was like, “sure yeah, let’s do it.” You know, not thinking how much work had to go into putting a book together. But I just said yes, sure. Why not?

BAF: You’re a Pitmaster and a  businessman, how was the writing for you?

Rodney Scott: The writing for me was an experience. I’ve never written a book before. I did some little essays here and there in school and I kind of understood having a beginning, middle and end, when it comes to tell the stories. But never the experience of writing to that level. And when they said that we would, we would help you find the co-author. And I saw the list, and I remember Lolis was a writer. I was like, man, Lolis was one of the first people I met when I got introduced to this larger world of barbecue.

I kind of knew him a little bit before this. And I said, man, he’d be great to work with, and the writing process talking to Lolis, it made it a lot more easy for me to give the details that are given in the book. To say what I needed to say, it felt like I was talking to a big brother and not an author. Not only was it a unique experience for me, but it was one that I am so, so grateful that I had the chance to experience. It was like therapy.

BAF: Barbecue therapy. That sounds good, actually.

Rodney Scott: Yeah, it was- writing this book, having our conversations and getting our notes together and everything. It was just like therapy.

BAF: When you’re, when you’re in therapy, you have ‘breakthroughs’. So when you’re talking to Lolis, was there- did anything hit you, any discoveries or any “aha” moments? Did you have any sort of discoveries or unknown or any kind of ‘break-throughs’ for lack of a better word.

Rodney Scott: The break-throughs were nonstop. I remember one day I wanted to figure out a different way to cook a catfish. One of the guys in- that worked with us at the time told me, “Oh, man, we take it and throw it in some aluminum foil and throw it on the grill” and that recipe ended up making the book. Some foil, honey butter rib rub on catfish, a simple cook and it was done. So that was one of the things that I felt good about. Wow, I can do things if I apply myself, and a lot of things in my storyline for growing up, I look back on and said, I remember that moment. I’m glad I grew past this. I’m glad I learned from this experience and that experience and all these things helped to shape who I am. So the break-through was once I went through the book, it was like I read about somebody else. Not knowing it was me because I was so interested. You think your life is boring? Put it on paper. If you think your life is boring, put it on paper and it will blow your mind, how you’ve experienced so many different things and achieved so many different goals, personal goals and unintended goals.

BAF: One thing that really surprised me about your book, and it was listed a couple of times that you’re the first African-American Pitmaster to have written a book about barbecue. 

Rodney Scott: You were surprised? Let me tell you.

Usually in my house, we watch different channels. So the wife is in the room and I’m in another room most of the time watching TV. And I’m like, “Hey, come here, did you see this?” And I read through it. And I’m like, wow, this is unbelievable. I don’t know if this is true or not. If it is good, whether it’s true or not is good to be one of the first few mentioned. Hopefully we inspire some other people that the world is your playground. Take it over, enjoy it. But when I first heard, I was super surprised. I had no clue, no idea, never thought about it.

BAF: You’ve mentioned inspiring other people. Did you have, during the writing process, any overall goals for the book or was it just more of a story or general cookbook type of thing?

Rodney Scott: My overall goal for that book when we were writing was to, make somebody feel good, to make that backyard person feel good about wanting to come up with something quick to cook. To make that neighbor be able to grab something from this book and create something unique for the rest of the neighbors. To have fun, to be able to enjoy themselves while they’re barbecuing. That was what I was aiming for.

And to try to get a message across that your barbecue is your world. The way that you do your barbecue is your style. And if that’s what you’re proud of, you serve it as that. To not be nervous about what you are cooking on your grill. If you pay attention to the title, “Rodney Scott’s world of barbecue” I’m giving you my world of barbecue. I’m not saying this is the only way, but I’m telling you, this is how my world operates around barbecue. And I was hoping to get that message across to all the backyard cooks that when somebody, “Oh, that was too salty.” But if you were proud of it and you knew it wasn’t too salty for you, you serve it with pride or confidence.

BAF:  What advice would you give to a newcomer who did get inspired and wants to start off barbecuing? 

Rodney Scott: To the newcomers, the young inspired people who are getting into barbecue. I say to you, take your time, enjoy it. Take as many notes as you can because that’s the one thing a lot of people don’t do. I’m guilty of not taking a lot of notes of what I’ve been trying. And I say have fun with it. Present it to people who will give you honest opinions. Serve it with pride, serve it with confidence, keep practicing at it. If you burn something, try to remember everything that you did wrong, write it down. Don’t be afraid to fail. Just keep striving, keep going. Don’t let anybody take your joy away from this. Don’t let anybody take your confidence away from this. You keep cooking. That’s my advice to the young cook. Be proud, have fun, stay confident and keep trying and practicing. If it’s only one dish that you can do to get it right. Perfect that one. And then move on when you’re ready to tackle the next.

BAF: That sounds like great advice. There are wonderful photographs here. How did those come about? Who did you work with for those?

Rodney Scott: My photographer, Jerrelle Guy, and her assistant, Eric, they did the photos for this book. The publishing company sent me some of her work that was done before. I’m a guy who likes to have a little pop of color here and there, everything from flowers to my sneakers to my t-shirts sometimes, that’s me. I wanted some photos for this book that would grab people’s attention and make them kind of say, “Wow, this is something I need to check into. This is something I need to read on. This looks like fun.” I wanted the food and the people to kind of jump out of the book at you. When I saw some of her work, I was so convinced that this girl was the girl that I was like, “Yeah, I like what she’s doing. Can we get her?” She made the photography process a lot of fun. It wasn’t a lot of hard work. A lot of it was done right inside my home. It was an experience. This girl is amazing the way that she had her eye for photographs is so unique. I was amazed by the work that she did.

You know what I did with that process?

BAF: No I don’t.

Rodney Scott: I let the professionals be the professionals. I presented what I wanted and they gave me their take on how it should be photographed. I went along with it. Because, when was the last time you got on a plane and you all of a sudden became the pilot because you thought you could do it differently?

BAF: She doesn’t tell you how to barbecue and you don’t tell her how to take pictures.

Rodney Scott: Exactly.

BAF: Well maybe I could just ask how were you and your establishments doing and coping with COVID?

Rodney Scott: Our establishments are doing great. Birmingham is doing great. Charleston is doing extremely well. COVID was a challenge. I must admit, but Charleston has a drive-thru and our to-go’s and we just kept advertising and following up, communicating on CDC rules and regulations, and also trying to keep our staff as safe as possible throughout all of this. Then we got released on Netflix, September of 2020, and the drive-thru just lined up down the street. With that release of Netflix, business kind of, we kind of caught up, so to speak, on the slowdown that started earlier that year and it worked, it’s been where- it worked out for us in our favor to kind of get us to a point where we were able to keep our staff working. We were able to keep the business going without having to be at a complete setback.

But it worked out- it worked out okay. We adjusted, we communicated a lot and it worked out okay, the lights were still on and we made it through.

BAF: If somebody who’s visiting down South,  how do you tell them to find a good or what separates a good barbecue place from another? Or what would you tell somebody to look out for if they’re wanting to get some good barbecue?

Rodney Scott: If you’re traveling down South or anywhere where you’re looking for good barbecue, when you pull up to the operation and if you see wood anywhere on the property or anywhere close by, that’s one good sign. If you see smoke, that’s an absolutely great sign and chances are, that’s a joint that has great barbecue. So the two things we look for, for a great barbecue joint that you may not have ever been to, would possibly be, wood on the outside and smoke coming from somewhere, the pit room, the kitchen somewhere. Those signs are possibly some of the definite indicators that they’re doing great barbecue inside that spot.

BAF: You’re in the process of opening up a couple more establishments.

Rodney Scott: Yes, we are in the process of trying to open up three more establishments this year. The Atlanta location is next on my list. It looks like Homewood would probably- Homewood, Alabama would probably be our next one. Following that Trussville, Alabama, which are all surrounding the Birmingham area. And those are our plans for this year to get those up and going.

BAF: So you’ve got your businesses, you’ve got the book but what’s next for you? 

Rodney Scott: What’s in the works next after the businesses and the books is back to the business. Trying to maintain that balance of health, family, business, and making sure that everything is well balanced. Making sure that our staff is okay. They’re confident in the products that they’re putting out. Basically going back, head down into work as much as possible. Getting these restaurants open, getting them running strong and keeping that strong operation going. Cause you and I both know, fame is only 15 minutes. And I always tell my guys, we got nine left. Let’s go to work!

~~~~~~~

Photo: Angie Mosier

 

Booksaboutfood©2021

 

“Over the years I’ve learned that anything from the hands of Rodney Scott has a way of making people ridiculously happy. This book is no exception. Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ is a surprisingly approachable guide to bringing the magic flavors of Rodney’s restaurant into the home. Cowritten with Lolis Eric Elie, one of this country’s finest writers on food and culture, it’s also a stirring portrait of a true American original. No secrets, no posturing, all love.”—David Chang, Momofuku

“Thirty years in the making, Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ takes its readers into the heart, mind, and soul of a barbecue artisan who is at the top of his craft. Rodney Scott “goes whole hog” by accessibly and expertly guiding you through his barbecuing method. His recipes for side dishes, desserts, and beverages definitely remind you that, yes, every day will be a good day when you use this cookbook.”—Adrian Miller, James Beard Award winner

“I love Rodney’s classic and straightforward approach to BBQ . . . He is a true master of the pits. Watching him smoke a whole hog is an inspiration.”—Michael Symon, chef and author

“By the time I met Rodney Scott, I was knee-deep in love with the Southern spirit around food. Meeting Rodney only bolstered my commitment to our collective community—the one in which we all share where we come from, who we are, and what we are about through the food we make. You will learn what Rodney Scott is about the second you taste his food. Truth, integrity, and hard work are hallmarks of Rodney’s spirit and contributions to that collective Southern voice. In this book, you can hear that voice and learn about the very important world in which it was cultivated. The South would not be what it is without these traditions, and the Southern conversation around food would not be what it is today without Rodney Scott.”—Lisa Donovan, James Beard Award-winning writer and author of Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger

“It’s rare that someone who is such a master at what they do stands out equally for who they are. Rodney Scott tops both of those lists. In Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ he shares his inspiring journey of passion and perseverance—fueled by the power of fellowship and damned fine food cooked from the heart and soul. Now you can cook alongside Rodney and make it a great day for those lucky enough to join you by your pit and at your table.”—Danny Meyer, restaurateur and author of Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Not only has Rodney Scott taken on the family tradition of BBQ, he’s shared it from Charleston to the world. BBQ has such an incredible and complexly layered history, and the fact that Rodney is one of the best—not only in the country, but in the world—is a sign of his expert craftsmanship. We are all going to benefit from this book and learn from his traditions, the way he cooks, and his philosophy. I cannot wait to reread it and, more than anything, cook and enjoy it with my family. Congrats to you, Rodney.”Marcus Samuelsson, chef and restaurateur

HOPPIN’ JOHN

HOG SEASONING

RODNEY’S SAUCE

SMOKED CHICKEN

HONEY-BUTTER FISH

RIB RUB

HONEY BUTTER

HOPPIN’ JOHN (p172)

(HOG SEASONING, RODNEY’S SAUCE)


The tradition around here is to eat Hoppin’ John and collard greens on January 1 so that you’ll have money in the new year: The beans in Hoppin’ John represent coins and the collards represent greenbacks. As you know by now, collard greens are not my favorite green, so this was not a ritual I followed too closely. I love

Hoppin’ John, but I guess during my good years, somebody must have been eating my collards for me. Either that or the cabbage that I love worked as a substitute.

Usually Hoppin’ John features black-eyed peas.

That’s how we used to make it where I’m from. But it’s really a dish that started on the coast and on the islands off the coast of South Carolina among the Gullah people. There, they have historically made Hoppin’ John with red peas. Glenn Roberts, whose company Anson

Mills specializes in growing traditional heirloom foods of the South, puts it this way: “Red peas are never served without rice on the Carolina Sea Islands, and red peas are the dominant legume in the culinary history of the Sea Islands.”

Red peas do have a black eye, but they are smaller, redder, and sweeter than their more famous cousins.

You should seek them out if you want your Hoppin’

John to be historically accurate. But you should also seek them out just because you like good eating. This is history that tastes good.

Note that you need to start this dish the night before so the peas have time to soak.

For the peas

8 ounces Anson Mills Sea Island Red Peas

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons chopped garlic (about 6 cloves)

4 ounces shredded barbecued pork (or bacon if no pit-smoked pork is available)

½ teaspoon Hog Seasoning 

4 cups meat or vegetable stock or water

2 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt

For the rice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ small yellow onion, diced

1½ cups Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice, rinsed

1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

For serving

Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish

Rodney’s Sauce

Corn Bread 

Make the peas: Soak the peas in water to cover overnight.

When ready to cook, drain well.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium Dutch oven or ovenproof soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the pork and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add the soaked and drained peas, the hog seasoning, and stock.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the peas are tender and creamy, about 1 hour. Remove the pot from the oven, season with salt, and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the rice: In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. And the onion and cook until it becomes soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, 2½ cups water, and the salt and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and cover tightly with a lid or foil.

Allow the rice to steam for 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork.

To serve, place about ½ cup rice in each serving bowl.

Ladle 1 cup of hot peas over the rice. Top the Hoppin’

John with 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallions. Serve with Rodney’s sauce and corn bread on the side. 

HOG SEASONING 

½ cup table salt

¹⁄₃ cup cayenne pepper

¹⁄₃ cup MSG 

¹⁄₃ cup red pepper flakes

¼ cup freshly ground black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients and place them in an airtight container. Cover and store in a cool dry place until ready to use.

RODNEY’S SAUCE

Makes 1 gallon

1 gallon distilled whitevinegar

1 lemon, thinly sliced

½ cup ground black pepper

¹⁄₃ cup cayenne pepper

1¼ tablespoons red pepper flakes

2 cups sugar

In a small stockpot, warm the vinegar over medium-highheat. After about 5 minutes, when the vinegar reaches 150°F on an instant-read thermometer, just before it starts to simmer, add the lemon slices and continue to cook until the lemon peels begin to soften and wilt, about 10 minutes more.

SMOKED CHICKEN (p122)

We raised chickens for their eggs when I was a boy. The difference between fresh-laid eggs and store-bought eggs is huge. Yard eggs are richer in flavor, and when you beat them, they even seem thicker in texture. We would buy chicken at the market to eat, rather than slaughter our laying hens. My mother used to make what we called “barbecue chicken” in the oven. It was basically baked chicken with commercial barbecue sauce. I don’t want to knock it. I enjoyed that baked chicken, but I wouldn’t call it barbecue. It wasn’t until later, when we added chicken to the menu at the family restaurant that I got into true smoked chicken. The oven and the pit are very different, obviously. When you taste this chicken, you’ll have a hard time going back to your oven.

2 whole chickens (3 to 4 pounds each), spatchcocked and halved through the breastplate (a total of 4 halves)

3 tablespoons Rib Rub

4 cups Rodney’s Sauce -(see above)

Fire up your grill to between 225°F and 250°F. 

Sprinkle the chickens on all sides with the rib rub. Place the chicken onto the hot grill, bone-side down. Close and cook until the bone sides are nicely browned, about 1 hour and 30 minutes, being careful to maintain a steady grilling temperature between 225°F and 250°F.

Mop the skin side with the sauce, then flip the chickens and mop the bone side with sauce as well. Close and cook until the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F, about 1 hour.

Mop the chickens once more. Take them off the grill and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

HONEY-BUTTER FISH (p109)

(RIB RUB, HONEY BUTTER)

Most of the time fish is grilled or sautéed quickly over high heat. But if you cook a fish on a hot barbecue grill, it doesn’t have a chance to pick up all the smoke flavor. So I came up with this recipe to take advantage of the smoke and to also play with the yin and yang of the salty rib rub and the sweet honey butter.

6 (6-ounce) skinless fish fillets, such as trout, catfish, red snapper, or branzino

2 tablespoons Rib Rub

6 tablespoons Honey Butter 

Fire up your grill. 

Heat the grill to between 225°F and 250°F.

Season the fish fillets with the rib rub. Cut pieces of foil big enough to fit each of your fish fillets lengthwise and then fold the foil into a sling so that it will nestle the fish and keep the melted butter from running into the coals.

Place the empty foil slings on the grill (just the foil, you add the fish in a minute). Add ½ tablespoon of honey butter to each piece of foil. As the butter starts to melt, nestle each fish fillet on each piece of foil. Leave the foil open to allow maximum smoke flavor to get to the fish.

Close the grill and cook until the fish loses its translucent appearance and flakes easily when a fork is gently inserted, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot, with additional honey butter on the side.

RIB RUB

Makes 2 cups

½ cup Diamond Crystal kosher salt

¼ cup Jesus’s Tears (aka MSG)

¼ cup freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup paprika

¼ cup chili powder

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all of the ingredients and place them in an airtight container. Cover and store in a cool dry place until ready to use.

HONEY BUTTER

Makes ¾ cup

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

¼ cup honey

In a medium bowl, beat the honey and butter together with a whisk or electric hand mixer until well combined.

 

Reprinted with permission from Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day is a Good Dayby Rodney Scott and Lolis Eric Elie Copyright © 2021 by Rodney Scott’s BBQ, LLC, a South Carolina limited liability company. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Jerrelle Guy. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

 

 

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