Holiday Weekend Grilling Ideas From Chris Lilly

Holiday weekend grilling ideas from Chris Lilly, champion pitmaster and executive chef of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama:

• Smoky Bourbon Ribs

Makes: 4-6 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 3 hours, 45 minutes


2 slabs loin back ribs (baby back)

1 cup Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

Dry Rub

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

4 teaspoons garlic salt

4 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Liquid Seasoning

1/2 cup apple cider

1/4 cup apple jelly

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon dry rub mix (above)


Remove the membrane from the back of the rib slabs. In a small bowl, combine the dry rub ingredients and mix well. Reserve one tablespoon of the rub for the liquid seasoning mixture. Generously apply the dry rub onto the front and back sides of ribs.

Build a charcoal fire for indirect cooking. Add a small aluminum pan to the void side of the grill and fill it halfway with water. When the charcoal grill reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit, place ribs meat-side up on grill grate and cook over indirect heat for two hours and 15 minutes.

Remove the ribs from the grill. Place each slab meat-side down on its own doubled aluminum foil square. Mix the liquid seasoning in a small bowl. Pour ½ cup of the liquid over each slab. Then, tightly wrap and seal each slab with aluminum foil. Place the wrapped ribs back in cooker for one hour at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the ribs from the charcoal grill and discard foil. Brush Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce on both sides of the ribs. Place the ribs back on the grill for 15 minutes, or until sauce caramelizes.

• Grilled Sweet & Spicy Pickles

Makes 3 pints

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 6 minutes


10 small (Kirby or Persian -- pickling cucumbers found in most grocery stores) cucumbers, about 4 to 5-inches each, cut in half lengthwise

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges

6 sprigs fresh dill

3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced

3 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Pickling Liquid

1 1/4 cup white vinegar

1 1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons salt


Preheat the grill and build a charcoal fire for direct grilling.

In a saucepan, combine the pickling liquid ingredients: vinegar, water, sugar, and salt; and cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is clear. Remove the liquid from the heat and let cool slightly.

Wash cucumbers well with cold water. Trim the blossom ends and grill the cucumbers over direct heat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side or just long enough to mark each side.

Grill the onions for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until the onions have softened and are marked.

Remove the cucumbers and onions from the grill and set aside to cool.

Divide the cucumbers, onions, dill, garlic and pepper flakes evenly and place in three sterilized canning jars. Fill each jar to the top with the pickling liquid mixture and seal tightly. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating.

• Smoky Bourbon Peaches a La Mode

Makes: 6 servings

Prep time: 15-20 minutes

Cook time: 3-5 minutes


6 Freestone peaches, pitted and cut into 6 slices

3/4 cup Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

3/4 cup honey

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 quart vanilla ice cream


Preheat the grill and build a charcoal fire for direct grilling.

In a saucepan, mix the Smoky Bourbon Barbecue Sauce and honey and cook over a medium heat just until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the peach slices until well coated.

In a shallow dish, add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stir until well mixed. Coat the peach slices generously with the cinnamon mixture.

Grill the peach slices for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until the peaches have softened and are marked. It is fine for the flames to be kissing the bottom of the grill grates. This will caramelize the sugar rub. The peaches should have a brown crust with grill marks when cooked perfectly.

Remove the peaches from the grill and serve the hot slices with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.