LICKING OUR CHOPS HAS NEVER BEEN SO MUCH FUN.
More than 900 people basked in a sweet hickory-smoked plume at historic Honey Horn Plantation last month, sinking their teeth into the best ribs, pulled pork, cornbread and side dishes the Lowcountry has to offer at the 13th annual Kiwanis Rib Burnoff.
“This is a good, southern, hometown, little festival right here,” said Eric Anthony of Barrier Island Barbecue, a griller for the Iron Pig team, the amateur team that won first place for ribs in both the blind tasting and the popular vote, first place in barbecue in the popular vote and the coveted Showmanship Award. “All the competitors know each other. We’re all friends up until 11:30, then from 1:30 until 4 o’clock we don’t talk to each other, and after that we’re all friends again.”
Thirteen teams competed, including Hawg Wild, Applebee’s, L Wood’s, Hilton Head Island Firefighters, Montana’s, Hilton Head Diner, St. Luke’s Hog Heaven, Motley Que, The Smokehouse, Elgie Stover, One Hot Mama’s, Palmetto Station Catering and Iron Pig. Eight local children’s charities will receive the proceeds from this year’s fundraiser, including Coastal Discovery Kids Program and Children’s Center.
“It was a great day. The weather was warm and sunny, the music was great and the barbecue was fantastic,” said event chair Jim Gant. “The old adage of ‘A good time was had by all’ seems to fit.”
Walking down the row of barbecue tents was every carnivore’s dream: stacks of St. Louis-style ribs, Caribbean-style wings, honey jalapeño corn bread, the latest in local rubs and sauces, melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork, coleslaw recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation, smoke-infused blueberry crumble served à la mode.
All food aside, though, perhaps the best part of the day was seeing the chefs in action.
“We’re just a bunch of amateurs out here to support the community,” said Mark Vanagel, head chef for Hog Heaven, which took second place in the amateur division for the barbecue blind tasting.
“Amateur” is a bit misleading — Vanagel and his crew, along with the five other amateur teams, probably could stand up to a challenge from wellknown cooking personalities like Stephen Reichlin and Bobby Flay.
Long-time competitor Elgie Stover took second place for the amateur ribs blind tasting this year, as he did last year. He wasn’t shy in pointing out his skill: “I’m Elgie Stover, the Black Cassanova, known for ribs the world all over.”
Attorneys from Finger and Fraser PA comprised Motley Que, which took first place for amateur barbecue blind tasting this year. The team concocted its own recipes for mustard-based sauces, ketchup-based sauces, as well as a mud rub, shoulder rub and rib rub.
“We’re attorneys by day, barbecuers by night,” said Danny Fraser. “Ribs, pulled pork, collard greens, baked beans. We won the ribs judging contest last year and we came in third in the pulled pork.”
Grills for One Hot Mama’s and the Hilton Head Firefighters, among others, were created by Iron Pig grilling savant Kevin Lawless.
“This is our sixth year, and we just break it down to what is the most simple thing: Make a grill. Then we figure out how to barbecue,” said Lawless, adding that his team roasted the racks of ribs for 12 hours and the pork butts for 30 hours. The team’s Barrier Island dry rub is now available at Texaco and the general store in Plantation Station. More locations soon will be carrying it, as well.
Iron Pig has taken home an amateur award in eight of the 10 years it has competed in the Rib Burnoff. The team cooked a whopping 1,050 pounds of meat for the event, with 250 racks of ribs and 360 pounds of pulled pork.
“Every year we get more, every year we run out… it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Anthony. “And that is what we want — we want more people involved in it, because all of the money goes to the kids.”
And the winners are…
Showmanship Award: Iron Pig
Ribs, Blind Tasting — Professional
1. The Smokehouse 2. Montana’s 3. One Hot Mama’s
Ribs, Blind Tasting — Amateur
1. Iron Pig 2. Elgie Stover
Ribs, Popular Vote — Professional
1. Montana’s 2. One Hot Mama’s 3. The Smokehouse
Ribs, Popular Vote — Amateur
1. Iron Pig 2. Hawg Wild
BBQ, Blind Tasting — Professional
1. The Smokehouse 2. Plantation Station Catering 3. Applebee’s
BBQ, Blind Tasting — Amateur
1. Motley Que 2. Hog Heaven
BBQ, Popular Vote — Professional
1. The Smokehouse 2. One Hot Mama’s 3. Plantation Station Catering
BBQ, Popular Vote — Amateur
1. Iron Pig 2. Hog Heaven.
Local Chefs Share Their Best
Beef Brisket Prepared on a Green Egg Smoker
Submitted by John and Kim Boyce of Mellow Mushroom
1/2 cup coarse kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup black pepper
1/4 cup granulated garlic
2 tsp cumin
1/2 cup beef broth
Optional: Wood Chips
- A 4 to 6-pound “flat” cut will cook for approximately 8 to 10 hours; an 8 to 14-pound whole “packer trimmed” brisket will cook for approximately 14 to 18 hours
- Trim the brisket of any fat that is thicker than one eighth-inch.
- Place all of the seasonings in food processor or blender and pulse until thoroughly blended. Spread the rub generously over the brisket, wrap in foil or plactic wrap and let rest for one to two hours.
- Set the EGG up for indirect cooking with a plate setter at 250°F. Add in soaked wood chips (oak, hickory, apple or cherry) if you choose.
Cook until the internal temperature of the meat is 150°F, and then reduce the EGG temperature to 225°F. When the meat temperature approaches 185°F, begin checking for tenderness (insert a fork into the brisket and give a slight twist; if the meat gives easily without much resistance, then the meat is done). Wrap tightly in foil with a half-cup of beef broth and place in a warm ice chest for 1 to 3 hours. Slice brisket against the grain, reserving the juice to brush on or use as a dip.
Lowcountry Red Snapper in Foil
Provided by Benny Hudsons Seafood
This is such a great recipe because it is so transitional. You can virtually use any fresh cut vegetable you have on hand.
2 6-8 ounce fresh Red Snapper filets
1/3 pound fresh pea pods, trimmed
1 carrot, sliced thin
8-10 fresh mushrooms
Small pat of butter (optional, of course!)
4 lemon slices
Cut aluminum foil into pieces large enough to completely fold around filet. Lay filet in the center of each cut sheet, and divide the rest of the ingredients on top of each filet, ending with the lemon wedges. Pre-heat grill and cook approximately 12-15 minutes on med-high temperature.
Smokehouse: This one may take some practice before you get it right. Smoke the steak. On a gas grill, you will need to purchase or make a smoker box. Then, decide on your hardwood chips for the flavor. Hickory is a popular one, but try something a little different such as cedar or mesquite, if you can get hold of them. Talk to the guy in the store for advice. The chips will need to be soaked before use, but drain first so that they are not dripping. Smoke with the lid down for maximum effect.
Asian BBQ Pork Tenderloin
2 12-oz. pork tenderloins
2 Tbsp olive oil
Brine: 2 quarts water, 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 large ginger root (1/4 in dice), 3 pieces star anise, 1 Tbsp coriander seeds, 1 Tbsp peppercorns
Sauce: 2 Tbsp Hoisin sauce, 1 Tbsp honey, 1/3 tsp ground black pepper, 3 Tbsp sweet chili sauce, 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp shallots (chopped), 1 Tbsp ginger (minced), 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1 cup water
Brine prep: Bring two cups of the water to a boil in a small sauce pot. Add the ginger, star anise, peppercorns and coriander. Let simmer for five minutes, combine with remaining water, sugar and salt. Let cool completely. Place tenderloins in the brine for 12 hours. Remove and rinse, then pat dry. Keep in refrigerator until ready to grill (up to three days).
Sauce prep: In a small sauce pot on medium heat, cook the shallots and ginger in the olive oil. Cook until shallots become translucent. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and reduce sauce by one-third. Finish the sauce by adjusting the seasoning with either soy sauce or sweet chili sauce to achieve the desired flavor (sweet or salty). Hold warm or cool down and place in refrigerator until needed.
Cooking the tenderloins: Preheat grill to medium high heat. Rub the tenderloins with olive oil and place on the grill. Cook for 3 minutes and turn 45 degrees. Cook another 3 minutes and turn over tenderloins. Reduce heat to medium. If using charcoal, move to a slightly cooler area. Brush with a little sauce and cook for 4 minutes, or until cooked fully. Take meat off and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and drizzle with sauce before serving.
BARRIER ISLAND BBQ
Tip for preparing perfect BBQ: Thaw choice of meat, apply generous amount of dry rub and let stand at room temperature for 1-2 hrs. Then cook on grille or smoker till desired wellness, baste well with BBQ sauce and cook for 10-15 min. Serve after proper cooling and enjoy.
Blackened Fish Fillet
2 oz. organic butter
1-2 oz. Blackening Seasoning Mix
8 oz. fish fillet (Mahi, Grouper, Swordfi sh, Tuna; Chicken Breast can be substituted)
Pour the butter onto a clean platter and dip the fish fillet into the butter to coat both sides. Place the fish onto another clean, dry platter and sprinkle seasoning mix to evenly coat each side of the fillet. Remove the rack from the grill and place a black iron skillet onto the coals. When the skillet is very hot, place the fillet, flesh side down, onto the skillet. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of butter on top of the fish and cook the first side for about 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness. Carefully turn the fish over and drizzle again with 1 teaspoon of butter, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 lb. Jimmy Dean Hot Pork Sausage
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic
1 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup finely chopped diced onions
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced green bell peppers
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup uncooked rice
2 cups chicken or pork stock
1/3 lb. ground chicken livers
Put the oil, pork and bay leaves in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) over high heat and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is thoroughly browned, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in the Seafood Magic, mustard and cumin, then add the onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic. Stir thoroughly, scraping the skillet bottom well, and add the butter and stir until melted. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, for 4 minutes. Add the rice and cook, constantly stirring and scraping the bottom, for 4 minutes, when the rice should start to crackle and pop.
Add the stock and stir to loosen any bits stuck to the bottom, then cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes. Stir in the chicken livers, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to very low.
Cook for 10 minutes, remove from heat and leave covered until the rice is tender (about 10 minutes). Remove the bay leaves and serve promptly. Serve with sliced heirloom tomatoes with a dollop of Hellman’s Mayonnaise.
Plantation Station Rib ad Pork Rub:
1/2 Cup of the following:
Freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup of the following
Mix all ingredients together using hands to eliminate clumps. Sprinkle liberally over ribs or pork shoulder and gently rub it in.