How To Cook Championship Style Barbecue with a Gas Grill

Can you really use gas grills in competition?

You can’t, but here’s a recipe for some damn good ribs using charcoal.

I mean you didn’t really think I was serious did you? Gas grill in a barbecue contest? In real life? I’m talking about barbecue, not cheap dollar store meat that’s been burnt to a crisp and as dry as the Sahara desert.

  • Open the rib packages and use a pair of fish skinning pliers to pull the membrane (silver skin) off of the back side of the ribs.

  • Trim any excess fat or skin away from the ribs. You'll know if you see it.

  • Be sure to use Babyback ribs. Spare ribs are like spare tires. They work in a pinch, put they're not the best you can use. They're awfully full of gristle.

  • Rub each rack with olive oil to give yourself a somewhat sticky surface on both sides

  • With anything though, rub in moderation...excess rubbing can chaff the meat!

  • Use as much rub beautiful as you can get out of a single can and completely coat each rack with dry rub. You can't over do it because you just want it covered with a layer.

  • Sprinkle some rosemary onto the newly applied Rub Beautiful. Trust me on this. It's a real nice touch and it gives you a fresh hint of flavor.

  • Fire up your smoker and wait til your coals are "peak hot" or when the coals are white and glowing orange inside.

  • Once the smoker is ready, make sure you have an indirect place for the ribs to go and place them away from the flame for indirect heat.

  • Let the ribs cook for a couple of hours at around 250 degrees and check them for heat displacement if you're on a smaller grill. You may have to move hotter sides to cooler areas and rotate to avoid burning. If you're on an indirect smoker you're probably okay without this step. Rotisseries are best for cooking ribs.

  • About midway through cooking, remove each rack, wrap it in foil, and drizzle a cup or two of beer into the foil all over the ribs. Recover and wrap the ribs in the foil.

  • Allow the beer to permeate the ribs and soften up the meat while continuing a slow heat for the next hour or so.

  • Just before they're ready to take up, drizzle a little Sauce Beautiful on each rack and paint it onto the surface with a brush. Let it cook for a few minutes to give your ribs a sweet and sticky bark.

  • Once the ribs are ready to take up and have reached a safe temperature (I prefer 190 degrees), remove the ribs from the grill surface and cut each rack into ribs grouped in threes.

  • Ring the dinner bell, tell everyone to fend for themselves, and crack a cold one. You just made some amazing ribs.

Just a Bayside Girl, Living in a BBQ World

Many may not know my face and name, but I’m the fourth powerhouse behind Jim Quessenberry BBQ. My last name isn’t Quessenberry, nor do I have a round belly or fire-red hair. I don’t live in the Memphis-Jonesboro area and if you ask me the perfect way to smoke a brisket I’m going to have you call the brothers Q. But what I do have is an amazing friendship and now partnership with the Quessenberry Brothers and Jeff Marchetta that started over 5 years ago on the shores of the Outer Banks in Kill Devil Hills, NC.

I have been a Shore Girl my entire life; seriously, I’m from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. An often forgotten peninsula on national and state maps that is usually only seen via the one main road to get to either Virginia Beach or North to Baltimore and Jersey. But if you step off the beaten path and down some backroads, you will find some of the most amazing small seaside towns left in the country as well as some of the best seafood in the world. I lived on the Shore for 18 years, and as most kids in small towns do, packed up and swore I’d never be back again. I graduated from college, got an amazing job and my own apartment in a thriving area with an amazing nightlife. I had everything, or so I thought.

What I bring is a new way of looking at sauces and rubs for cooking. I think out of the box and find interesting and unique ways to use sauces and rubs for seasoning seafood.

You’re probably thinking, what the what?! How can you do this? Here are some of my favorite down-home Shore Girl recipes that you can easily do no matter where you live!

Until my now husband rolled into town, swept me off my feet and I packed all my bags and moved back to the beach with him to be stationed in Nags Head, NC with the Coast Guard. Here I met Lee Quessenberry while working in the same marketing department at the beach and became best friends.

We talked hunting, rooting in the mud and of course cuisine. We swapped recipes, BBQ for seafood and found that we both had a passion for this and Lee asked that I start helping with Jim Quessenberry BBQ. This turned into a friendship with the rest of the team and a now full-blown partnership within our company.

Oysters Raw with Jim Quessenberry

Note: The consumption of raw seafood products is at your own risk. But, don’t be a pansy, give it a try!

Raw oysters have been a part of the seaside life since the early 1600’s with the founding of Jamestown. Captain John Smith (Yes, the Pocahontas guy) made his way around the Chesapeake Bay and visited many areas of the Eastern Shore of Virginia, including a small island now called Saxis Island which was founded in 1624. From this landing going forward, waterman have made their living off of oystering and crabbing in the area, including my family. These watermen worked long hours to dredge and catch these delicacies for others, while feeding their family part of their catch and what else they could grow in the harsh conditions. This created a cultural breeding ground for some of the finest seafood recipes around.

Oyster lovers have many opinions about what you should and shouldn’t use as a dipper/garnish while eating raw oysters; there are nearly as many opinions about the best oysters in the world (Spoiler Alert: Seaside Oysters from the Eastern Shore win every time). Here are some garnishes that we oyster fans find acceptable to have with oysters:

Melted Butter
Hot Sauce Beautiful

DO NOT USE CRACKERS AFTER HAVING AN OYSTER! Our noses will fly high at you!

Of course, in my humble opinion the best combination of dipping sauces for raw oysters includes Jim Quessenberry Hot Sauce Beautiful and melted butter. It gives the oyster the fire of horseradish without the grain of the condiment and a smooth finish thanks to the melted butter.

  • 1 Peck of Oysters (Feeds a couple of people)

  • Horseradish

  • Melt a couple of sticks of butter in a saucepan.

  • Crack open oysters with an oyster knife.

  • Apply butter, Hot Sauce Beautiful, and/or horseradish.

  • Throw your head back and toss the oyster in your mouth.

Oysters Rockefeller with Jim Q Hot Sauce Beautiful

This recipe will give you about 3 dozen beautifully seasoned Oysters Rockefeller. Add amounts as needed for larger batches and bushels.

If possible, choose smaller oyster meat shells so there is space for your added garnishes.

  • 3 Dozen Fresh Oysters (Bonus Points for Chincoteague Seaside Oysters)

  • 6 Tablespoons Butter (Did I mention this won’t be a Paleo Recipe?)

  • 6 Tablespoons of Fresh Minced Spinach

  • 3 Tablespoons of Finely Chopped Onions

  • 5 Tablespoons of Breadcrumbs

  • *Jim Quessenberry Hot Sauce Beautiful to Taste

  • ½ Teaspoon of Worcestershire Sauce

  • ½ Teaspoon of Rock Salt (Regular Salt Works as Well in a Pinch)

  • Grated Cheese to Desired Preference

  • Old Bay to Taste (DUMP IT ON THERE)

  • Lemon Wedges to Taste

  • Pry open them SOB’s and toss the back half of the shells.

  • Drain excess water from the oysters, leaving only a small amount under the meat.

  •  If you’re wondering what to do with shells, post-dinner they are great for filling in potholes (Shore Pro-Tip for my Mid-West Fans)

  • Melt your butter and add all products into your mix.

  • Slather mix over oysters and broil oysters approximately 5-10 minutes dependent on heat source. You are looking for the edges of the mixture to curl or bubble and they are ready.

  • Slap them on a plate, let cool for 5-10 minutes and get your saucy seaside delight on!

Steamed Shrimp & Crabs

I know you’re thinking….how on earth can you use Jim Q for shellfish? Really it is an easy concept. What is the main ingredient for steaming shrimp & crabs? Drumroll….OLD BAY!

Old Bay is an absolute must for any self-respecting seafood recipe. I will never tell you to not use this seasoning in replacement of anything because I’m certain my relatives that have passed will come down and strike me with lightning. So, use it! Mix Old Bay with Jim Quessenberry’s Rub Beautiful to make a spicy mix that will delight the tastebuds. Combine Vinegar, Beer, Water and your season mixed into the appropriate size pot and have yourself a low-country boil no matter where you are. Throw in some potatoes and corn and you have yourself a full meal!

As a seafood lover, I love to hear about other recipes! Send your seafood inspired-Jim Q recipes to us at [email protected]

  • 1 Bottle Old Bay Seasoning

  • 1 Gallon Vinegar

  • 1 Gallon Water

  • 2 lbs shrimp

  • 1 dozen new potatoes

  • 5 gallon pot

  • Mix 1 gallon of water, 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 gallon of PBR, and a seasoning bag with a bottle of Old Bay and a bottle of Rub Beautiful into a slurry in a 5 gallon pot. Allow the slurry to come to near a boil.

  • Add shrimp, crab, corn, and potatoes to the slurry and stir as they boil. Boil until potatoes are almost soft.

  • Drain water and pour the food onto a giant picnic table covered in newspapers and dig in!

  • Serves a good sized family, a basketball team, or a 2 person sailing team (they work up a huge appetite.)

Let’s Go on a Barbecue Adventure in Jim & Donna’s Lunar Rover: A 1980’s Chevrolet Astro Van

It’s been a crazy week this week. My neighbors decided to burn their leaves in a pile on top of the cable tv tap for the block that I live on, my mother is in the hospital for pneumonia, I’m just now preparing my tax documents, and my family is in mourning over the loss of my Uncle Dave. It’s not the normal grind I’m used to when it comes to running a business or two on the side, but I will prevail. In the meantime, I’d like to tell you a story. It’s a story I’ve unearthed during long blocks of thought and reflection and it all began returning to me when the environment was just right on a late trip back to Jonesboro from seeing my mother in the hospital in Searcy.

I guess it was in the flat bottomlands and delta between Possum Grape and just north of Newport, Arkansas that I really felt the chill of memories tingling up the back of my spine. There I was, alone in my red truck, with the windows down and the thermometer sitting at a perfect 66 degrees. I had the radio on listening to one of my very long and curated Spotify playlists called “Cool Summer Nights,” a playlist mostly comprised of 1980’s pop and rock music with some relics from the 1960’s and 1970’s thrown in for measure. It was the soundtrack of my life from birth to age 8 and was often blaring through the speakers of my first spaceship, a mid 1980’s Chevrolet Astro Van that my mom and dad drove. The fainting glow of the sun just below the horizon, the rush of damp cool wind from the delta bottoms blowing through my hair, and the beat of the end of an era marching me right along down Rock’N’Roll highway 67 was something I have been missing for a while. I began to visualize myself along with my family in a simpler time; a time before BBQ sauce was a commercial endeavor for my parents, much less Michael or me.

The period marked the upheaval surrounding the inevitable beginning of the fall of the U.S.S.R., Michael and I had a pet snapping turtle named Michael (Duke) Dukakis, The end of the Cold War was nigh, and George Bush was making play for a presidential bid. Dad had already been to Ireland to win the International BBQ Cooking contest once and was returning to do it again. The period was between 1986 and 1989, specifically 1987, with some memories peppered in from other years in the range. The backseat of the van with giant side windows, a sliding door, and no presumptions about knowing how to drive reminded me of an astronaut sitting in a capsule with star fields on all sides. I can remember reclining back in the seat and hearing the radio play thinking to myself that there was no place I’d rather be than right there with my mom and dad as mission control creeping slowly down the gravel roads looking at stars, thunderstorms, coyotes, and deer. We spent hundreds of nights on the St. Francis River Levee fishing, frog gigging, and watching the FedEx planes with landing gear engaged, flying in and out of Memphis like bright white army ants marching to and from a colony, single file and never late.

Some of those nights on the farm ended with a toolbox or cooler full of bullfrogs. I guess it was destined to be in my blood, but Dad was frog gigging when I was pushing my way into the world. I am almost positive it was out of season since my birthday is March 31st and as far back as I can consciously remember, frog season begins on tax day, April 15th, but I digress. Once my brother and I got older there were nights when Dad and his best friend Arthur Lee McDaniel would take us along for the ride. They were masters at frog hunting. We’d roll out in my mom’s van with the night’s sky as our canvas and spotlights as paint brushes. Arthur and Dad would be high-fiving each other in the front seat driving across cow pastures and fields looking for ponds, swamps, rivers, and ditches to catch frogs. Sometimes Dad would just fit as many of the slimy jumpers as he could down the bib of his overalls and hop his way back to the van. Arthur would run and catch the fast ones and put them in his cooler. We’d come home and have dozens of frogs to eat.

Many of those turn rows, gravel roads, and levees ended up back at home where Dad would have a giant smoker or cooker fired up to cook enough for 100 when he needed to cook for 10. I can remember swatting mosquitoes sitting on our screened in front porch watching Dad pull hot aluminum foil apart with his fingers, cussing up a storm, shaking his hands with burns, and basting a big pork shoulder or a dozen or more whole fryer chickens with a mop and a saucepan full of homemade Au Jus. I can still feel the refreshing breeze of the dew fallen grass breaking the monotony of the still of night. The air was fresh and cool with the occasional hint of Au Jus and a slight sting of vinegar, spices, and smoke. The radio was usually tuned to FM 100 or Rock 103 out of Memphis and there was always a Phil Collins or The Police song keeping time and marching through the night. I’d usually lie there in a folding chair or one of my bean bag chairs and keep one eye pried open just watching and listening to my Dad work. After Michael and I finally settled in for the evening it was one of the best times for us to learn the ways our Dad cooked. We’d watch with content until we either drifted off completely or were reluctantly running hand and foot back and forth to the kitchen to grab utensils, pans, ingredients, and so on.

On the nights when we weren’t at home during the summer, we were usually on a river bank somewhere in the mid-south preparing our speeches for the BBQ judges, sharpening our knives, playing flag football with the other teams’ kids, and helping Mom and Dad prepare for judgment day at a regional Memphis in May circuit BBQ contest. While other kids were camping with their parents, uncles, brothers, and cousins, Michael and I were camping at Tom Lee Park in Memphis listening to tall tales of bullshit and trickery from all over the world. When we weren’t in Memphis, we were hanging out in Little Rock, Nashville, and every small town in between. Everywhere a new place, but every person new or old was a familiar face. No matter the venue, we went there via a Chevy Astro van. No matter the mission ahead, the van was our portal to whole new worlds complete with a starry night sky and alien lifeforms all too different from Cherry Valley, AR. As a child of the 1980’s the older I get the more I long for another night under the stars with my family making fun of old drunkards, sometimes punching them in the face, and sugaring up to my older cousins’ new wives or girlfriends.

Before you go, I want to leave you with a recipe for frog legs that will have you hopping onto our online store and buying a few things to get your 80’s montage on while you grill some shrimp and drink Bloody Mary’s with your friends.

  • 24 frog's legs, skin removed

  • 1 (4 ounce) packet saltine crackers, crushed

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon minced onion

  • Rinse the frog's legs and pat dry; set aside. In a large resealable bag, combine the saltine cracker crumbs, flour, cornmeal, onion, and Hickory Steak Rub. Shake to mix. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.

  • Heat the vegetable oil and peanut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. The oil should be about 1/2 inch deep.

  • Dip the frog's legs into the milk and egg, then dip into the cracker mixture until evenly coated. Carefully place them in the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on each side, about 5 minutes per side. If the legs start to brown too quickly, reduce the heat to medium. Drain on paper towels before serving.

  • To Cook

  • 2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • Marinade

  • 2/3 C. soy sauce

  • 1/2 C. olive oil

  • 2 T. brown sugar

  • 1 1/2 t. ground ginger

  • 1 medium yellow onion minced

  • List Item2 cloves garlic, minced

  • Combine marinade ingredients and marinate shrimp overnight in the mixture.

  • Skewer shrimp and grill over direct charcoal heat for approximately 20 minutes.

  • Serves 4-6

  • 1 teaspoon celery salt

  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

  • lime wedges

  • lemon wedges

  • Garnishes: cherry tomatoes, celery stalks, Shrimp Quessenberry, pickled okra, olives, or pickled green beans

  • In a large pitcher, mix tomato juice, vodka, barbecue sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire, hot sauce (optional), celery salt, and horseradish.

  • Moisten the rim of each glass with lime or lemon wedge; dip rims in celery salt. Fill glasses with ice and tomato juice mixture. Garnish with lime wedges, lemon wedges, tomatoes, celery, shrimp, okra, olives, and green beans, if desired. Makes about eight cocktails each 8 ounces.