Summer is synonymous with BBQs, and nowhere does barbecue food like the American deep south. From mouth-watering pulled pork to slow-smoked BBQ ribs, juicy beef briskets and Cajun-style chicken, the region’s food makes you want to fire up the grill, invite some family and friends over and get eating. Infuse your BBQs with the southern state of mind. Here are some of the best recipes – for both the meats and the all-important side-dishes – to make your summer BBQ shine.
\#1 – Hickory Texan smoked brisket burgers
For a deep south take on a BBQ classic, ditch the standard fare and pick up some of ASDA’s new Butcher's Selection Brisket Burgers (100 percent British and Irish meat from Farm Assured Cattle). Their chefs took a road trip to the heart of the USA to produce some high-quality burgers inspired by the core flavours of American cooking. The meat is smoked over hickory wood for a rich, robust flavour, and the peppery brisket works to produce a burger that your guests will love. The pulled meat improves the texture in comparison to ordinary burgers, producing something distinctly meatier and so much more satisfying. You can put it together with many side-dishes, but in a bun with relish, red onions and salad works a treat.
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\#2 – Cajun blackened fish steaks
Jamie Oliver put together this recipe after his trip to America, based around white fish steaks covered in a spicy rub that goes black on the barbecue. It works with any white fish, but sustainably sourced seabass, snapper, bream or Pollock (skin on) is recommended. For the rub, use thyme, oregano (both fresh, if possible), smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, black pepper, olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon. It’ll look almost burnt when it’s done, but don’t worry about it – the flavour is unbeatable. Serve with new potatoes and salad, as well as a nice glass of white wine.
\#3 – Dirty rice
This is the sort of authentic southern dish that will make you want to speak with that characteristic southern twang. This rice is built upon the “Cajun trinity” of onion, bell pepper and celery, alongside parsley and garlic to give it a bit more of a kick. If you can pick up some Creole seasoning, it’ll make it all the more authentic, and add in some sausage (ASDA’s Louisiana Sausages fit in particularly well with this recipe) or ground beef to make it nice and meaty. Cook the Cajun trinity up with the garlic and sausage (or beef) until the meat is cooked and the vegetables are soft, then toss in your seasoning and mix in cooked rice. It won’t be the main event, but it’s a killer deep south side dish.
\#4 – Texas BBQ brisket
Burgers are a more unique way to enjoy the succulent taste of beef brisket, but if you want something more rustic that still boasts the characteristic style of the deep south, you can’t go wrong with a classic brisket. Get yourself a chunk of brisket (a 5 kg or 11 lb piece serves around ten) and a mix of spices for a rub: 2 tbsp of mustard power and chilli powder, as well as 1 tbsp of paprika, ground cumin, garlic powder, black pepper and caster sugar. Mix the ingredients for the rub together, along with a crushed bay leaf and a pinch of salt, and coat the beef in it. Heat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius (300 Fahrenheit) or 130 Celsius (265 Fahrenheit) if you have a fan oven, and place the beef in an oven dish with 500 ml (17.6 fluid ounces) of beef stock and around 330 ml (11.6 fluid ounces) of barbecue sauce (you can make your own if you like), tightly covered over with foil. Cook for four to five hours in the oven, until the meat is really tender when you push a fork into it. You can do this the night before to save on prep in the day (but don’t refrigerate it), and then finish it off on the BBQ. Wait for the coals to turn ashen and the heat to have reduced, place it on the grill (covering the BBQ if possible), cooking for about 20 minutes and turning to get an even char. Slice when it’s done and serve with BBQ sauce.
\#5 – Louisiana Cajun premium spiced sausages
ASDA’s Butcher’s Selection Louisiana Sausages are another tastebud-tingling creation inspired by their chefs’ journey to the deep south. Sausages are a BBQ staple, but you’ve never had them like this. Whole cuts of meat are used, hand-trimmed to remove all gristle and bone, leaving you with nothing but succulent meat, herbs and spices. They’re Cajun-inspired, with characteristic Louisiana flavours coming together to offer you something memorable for your BBQ. You may have already planned to use them in your dirty rice, but after a taste, your guests will undoubtedly want to try them in traditional BBQ fashion: cradled in a finger roll and nestled on a bed of lettuce (or rocket), red onion and tomatoes.
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\#6 – Spicy seafood po’ boys
This is another classic Louisiana dish, consisting of southern-spiced white fish, grilled to perfection and served on a sandwich roll. The Americans use tilapia fillet, but you can substitute another white fish more readily available in the UK. This is another dish when Creole seasoning is vital: the fillets of fish are drizzled in olive oil before you sprinkle a tablespoon of Creole seasoning, a teaspoon of celery salt and the juice of one lemon over them. Grill for around 10 minutes (or until cooked through) and serve on mayo-covered (or alternatively, Marie Rose sauce) toasted sandwich rolls, on a bed of romaine lettuce and tomatoes. Squeeze on some extra lemon juice and serve.
\#7 – Southern baked beans
Beans are often overlooked at British BBQs, and it’s another side-dish really brought to life by the southern style. Traditionally, they’re made around a base of pork and beans, but you can use ordinary baked beans as long as you cook them with onion (half an onion per can of beans), yellow mustard, maple syrup (around 30 ml or 1/8 cup per can of beans), a good helping of light brown sugar (25 g or 1/8 cup per can), ketchup (about 2 tbsp per can) and lemon juice. Sprinkle bits of bacon on top (you can skip this step to offer a vegetarian-friendly option, though) and bake in a covered casserole dish for 45 minutes to an hour at 170 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit). Two cans of beans offer about four full-sized servings, but alongside the rest of your spread at your BBQ, you can probably use two cans for six servings.
\#8 – BBQ chicken drumsticks
This is a BBQ classic you can make from scratch with your own BBQ sauce, but you can also pick up some Butcher’s Selection Sticky Glazed BBQ Chicken Drumsticks from ASDA if you want to reduce your prep time. The key to delicious meat for your BBQ is marinating time – if you’re making your own, give it at least a few hours, but ideally you should let the meat soak up the flavour overnight. ASDA’s option has been marinated for a massive 24 hours, with a smoky, sweet BBQ sauce glaze and only the juiciest cuts of chicken. Your guests will be expecting some chicken drumsticks, but nobody expects something this delicious. It’s melt-in-your-mouth southern BBQ flavour at its best.
\#9 – Tennessee Cherrywood Smoked BBQ Ribs with bourbon sauce
BBQ ribs are another deep south staple, but you don’t get the true flavour of the region if they aren’t smoked. ASDA’s Butcher’s Selection option uses cherrywood to add the characteristic smoky flavour, and with the authentic taste of the honey and bourbon sauce it transports you to the American south with the first bite. They’re marinated and slow-cooked so all you have to do is lay them on the grill and get ready for some lip-smacking deliciousness. They’re the type of ribs that come right off the bone as soon as you stick a fork in them; unless you have your own smoker and a masterful palate, it’s pretty hard to beat.
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\#10 – Cheesy corn on the cob
Corn on the cob is a favourite around the world, but no BBQ would be complete without it. To give yours some extra character, try coating them with Parmesan cheese and lime-infused mayo. Grill the corn on the BBQ – if you can get it with husks, soak them for half an hour in cold water and grill with the husks still on first – and mix up 4 tbsp of mayonnaise with the zest from two limes and the juice from one, as well as a sprinkle of olive oil. Spread the mayo mix onto a plate and sprinkle a teaspoon of smoked paprika (or cayenne pepper if you don’t have it) over the top. Grate your Parmesan (other hard cheeses, like Pecorino, are suitable too) onto another plate and remove the corn from the grill when it’s ready. If you have husks, leave it until they’re blackened all over (the corn inside will be juicy – just peel the burnt husks back), and if not wait until the cobs are browned (although a little burnt in places is fine). Roll the cobs in the mayo mix and then the cheese before serving.
\#11 – Cajun chicken
There’s a lot of great Cajun food, but there’s a reason straight-up Cajun chicken is the most famous export. It’s perfect if the BBQ chicken doesn’t take your fancy or to give your guests a little variety and it fits in well with the other southern dishes listed here. You can use breasts, thighs or legs for this dish. Start by drying the chicken with a paper towel and then making some diagonal slashes with a knife to help it take on all the delicious flavour. Make a spice mix using a tablespoon of paprika (smoked if possible), a teaspoon of dried onion flakes, two teaspoons of dried thyme and a small amount (around 1/4 of a teaspoon) of cayenne pepper, and coat the chicken in oil before rolling in the mix. Cook the chicken through (pre-cook in the oven if you’re using legs or thighs) and serve it up with guacamole.
Related: BBC Good Food: Cajun chicken
\#12 – “Shout hallelujah” potato salad
For a final side dish, try out the deep south version of the BBQ side-dish classic. Cook up the potatoes and hard-boil some eggs, breaking both up into bite-size chunks and seasoning well with salt. Now add the Cajun trinity of bell pepper, onion (red is good for this) and celery, along with parsley, mustard, rice wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, a chopped and deseeded jalapeño pepper, celery salt, a few drops of hot sauce and about 250 ml (just over 1 cup) of mayonnaise, mixing it all together. Sprinkle on some smoked paprika and finish off with a little black pepper.
\#13 – Pulled pork
This traditional Memphis recipe uses hand-trimmed pork shoulder joint, marinated in smoky barbecue seasoning and slow-cooked until it’s mouth-wateringly tender. ASDA’s version is the flagship dish of their deep south range, marinated for 24 hours in their authentic BBQ sauce – a mix of molasses, honey, tomato and vodka – before being cooked long and slow. Getting pulled pork right is an art form, but with ASDA’s option, all you need to do is pop it in the oven and it comes out succulent, sweet and incredibly juicy every time. It’s the winner of 2014 Food Product of the Year, from an independent consumer survey of product innovation, and it’s the first time a supermarket own brand has won the award. The reason is simple: their chefs went and learned from the masters in the deep south. The quality is unbeatable; it puts the soul in soul food. Serve as mini pulled pork sliders to make sure all your guests get a taste of the goodness.
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\#14 – The Devereaux
Bourbon is undeniably the drink of the deep south, but your guests – despite all the down-home grub – may not be up for the neat, throat-warming glory of the unadulterated spirit. The Devereaux is a legendary bourbon cocktail that goes down a treat, and is a well-deserved reward after manning the grill all day. Mix a measure of bourbon with 15 ml (1/2 ounce) each of elderflower liqueur, juice from one lemon and simple syrup (made by heating sugar in water over a saucepan until it dissolves). Top it up with sparkling wine and garnish with a mint leaf.