20 Essential BBQ Recipes
Barbecue has a magical ability to bring people together—when a tender cut of meat has been smoking for hours, though, it’s no wonder families and friends alike tend to crowd around it. Perfect for a warm day, special occasion, or informal gathering, these essential barbecue recipes highlight exactly what makes the method so powerful. From fall-off-the-bone ribs and savory brisket to pulled pork sandwiches, smoky grilled chicken, and the perfect homemade sauce, these barbecue recipes are some delicious goals worth mastering.
Memphis Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Good Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches don't have to result from hours over the grill. Our chicken sandwich starts with a rotisserie chicken and super easy homemade barbecue sauce. This sandwich is the perfect solution for those busy weeknights.
Smoked Beer-Braised Pork Shoulder Tacos
The pork is especially flavorful if you rub on the spices well ahead of time and let the roast stand in the refrigerator overnight. Copeland uses Arrowood smoked lager for this recipe (it’s local for her), but you can use any smoked beer; if you can’t find one, try a nut ale, a porter, or just 1 1/2 cups chicken stock. Though the oven method here produces tastier results, you can also make the pork in a slow cooker; brown the meat on the stovetop first, and cook with the beer on LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
Southern Barbecue Dry Rub
Ultimate BBQ Chicken
This chicken is wonderfully moist, with a smoky sauce that will have you firing up the grill year-round.
Sweet Chili-and-Mustard Baby Back Ribs
Grilled Chicken Wings with Tamarind Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Tangy, fruity tamarind, popular in Latino and Asian cuisines, is the secret ingredient in our favorite new barbecue sauce for chicken wings.
The Best Grilled Ribs
When you're in the mood to grill ribs, you're most likely looking for a magically meaty experience—and trust us, there's a reason we call these the best. The texture of these smokey beauties is everything you want. Grilling your ribs over an indirect heat gives them a crispy exterior bark, while the meat stays tender, but not completely falling-off-the-bone tender—you’re left with the perfect amount of chew. Baby back ribs are readily available at most any supermarket; when shopping, look for the smaller racks as these tend to have more tender meat.
Slow Roasted Pulled Pork
When I make this recipe at home, I slow cook the pork in the oven. It's such a treat to have leftovers of this for enchiladas, tacos, tostadas, or sandwiches. To make a delicious quesadilla, combine about 1/3 cup of this pork with a little coleslaw and grated sharp Cheddar cheese.
Grilled Chicken Drumsticks with Bourbon-Cherry BBQ Sauce
This fruity, boozy take on barbecue has all the characteristics of your favorite sauce--deep caramel notes, a savory backbone, and a pleasant vinegar tang. You can sub sweet cherries for sour, adjusting the amount of honey and vinegar to taste. For a shortcut, start with 1 cup purchased unsweetened cherry juice.
Quick Barbecue Sauce
The ingredient list for this sauce is short and practical—you likely have most of the ingredients on hand. Smoked paprika and maple syrup round out the tang from the ketchup and add depth. Use as a glaze for pan-seared pork tenderloin or toss with shredded chicken for sandwiches.
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
You already love pulled chicken, so why not try it in a slow cooker? Make this for a fun, tasty meal the entire family will want. Savor this tender, melt-in-your-mouth chicken sandwich with ketchup-based sauce for lunch or dinner. This is one of our easiest crock pot recipes.
Dry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Wings
This recipe is from pitmaster, Wade Reich, of Butts To Go in Pell City, Alabama. His story and recipe is one of many beloved pitmasters in our new book, South’s Best Butts. Wade opened Butts To Go in a Texaco after a friend invited him to go in on a local service station. So what about the barbecue? Well, with all his Southern-gentleman charm, Wade says, “The gas business got so bad that it made the food business look good.” His place serves as a quick in-and-out eatery for families and hungry road warriors to literally get their butts to go. Butts ain’t the only item highly demanded by customers of Butts to Go. The wings are equally delicious. They come on and off the smoker throughout the day just to keep up with demand. The low-and slow method ensures that the meat remains super moist and fall-off-the-bone tender, with a deliciously melded skin that is heavily seasoned with an in-house rub. Paprika, along with a good bit of salt, plays the dominant role in this fragrant, orange-hued rub, which works great with poultry. Don’t be too shy about trying it out on other food as well. This rub works great as a finishing seasoning for soft-scrambled eggs.
Deep South Barbecue Ribs
Peach BBQ Sauce
This BBQ sauce is nice and peachy, but ginger and mustard bring it back to classic barbecue flavors. Savory-sweet ketchup adds some depth to the sauce, and the black pepper is pronounced, but does not overwhelm the fresh peach. Using ripe peaches is important for this recipe, and depending on the sweetness and juiciness of your peaches, you may want to adjust consistency in the blender with a little water. It's the perfect finishing touch slathered on chicken legs or pork tenderloin—just make sure to brush the peach BBQ sauce on towards the end of cooking as its sugary nature makes it prone to burning if exposed to heat for too long.
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw
Pile crunchy slaw atop this bbq sandwich for an exciting contrast to the tender grilled pork.
Cola-and-Coffee Beef Ribs
Grilled Chicken Wings
You can’t go wrong with this basic recipe for perfect grilled chicken wings. A grilled wing is smoky, crispy, and an all-around delicious change of pace from its fried counterpart. You can dress your grilled chicken wings as you please (classic Buffalo sauce works or even a honey-sesame glaze), but we’d highly recommend giving this lemon-pepper sauce a go. You may be surprised to see jarred lemon curd in the ingredient list, however, a savory-sweet sauce is a brilliant way to use this convenience product. (After all, doesn’t your favorite barbecue sauce have a prominent element of sweetness?) The curd delivers a rich, lemony sweetness that’s balanced with aromatic sautéed garlic, brightened with fresh juice, and perfectly matched with a well-salted, savory grilled chicken wing.