Meaty, mouthwatering BBQ recipes for summer grilling season

As the clouds part and the sun wipes away Los Angeles’s traditional June Gloom, it’s time to dust off the grill and brush off the grates. Barbecue, barbeque, BBQ, grilling… whatever you call it, now is the season to do it. Why? Because cooking anything over live fire makes it taste better. It’s a scientific fact. 

Once you’ve picked your protein, check out our summer BBQ side dish guide, featuring 18 fabulous recipes for salads, slaws, veggie, and more.

More: Eye-catching and tasty ideas for red, white, and blue food on July 4

Ed Mitchell was victorious with these ribs on the Food Network’s “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” Photo by John “Edge” Koladish

Ed Mitchell’s Mouthwatering Baby Back Ribs

How did BBQ pitmasters Ed and Ryan Mitchell build a multigenerational legacy? “Our family learned to cook barbecue from some of the best of our ancestors,” says Ryan Mitchell. 

His father, Ed, found his calling as a pitmaster at age 45. Ryan eventually returned to North Carolina, led by the wafting smoke from his father’s whole-hog barbecue pit. Father and son recently collaborated on a cookbook, “Ed Mitchell’s Barbeque.” This baby back ribs recipe is what they used to defeat the host of “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” The technique involves smoking the ribs for two hours, steaming them with vinegar sauce for a few minutes, then drying them out with more rub and smoke. The result is moist, fall-off-the-bone ribs.

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Kevin Bludso says because rib tips are not in the historical canon of barbecue, they are the most underrated cut. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

Kevin Bludso’s Rib Tips

If you’re a barbecue novice, LA legend Kevin Bludso recommends that you start with an inexpensive smoker and learn how to master temperature. His new cookbook, “Bludso’s BBQ Cookbook,” includes this recipe for rib tips, one of his specialities. It takes only 2.5 to 4 hours (much shorter than many barbecue cook times), but you will need a smoker and a spray bottle.

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Santa Maria Tri-Tip is a great cut of red meat for summer grilling. Photo via Shutterstock.

The Hitching Post’s Santa Maria Tri-Tip

Frank Ostini of The Hitching Post II in Buellton loves barbecuing in the Santa Maria-style, which means slow-cooking your meat, typically a tri-tip, over an oak fire. He taught us how to build an oak fire and shared this recipe, from Alisal’s BBQ Bootcamp, with us.

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This pollo in guajillo is a favorite grilling recipe. Photo by Quentin Bacon.

Bricia Lopez’s Pollo in Guajillo 

Asada isn’t just a taco filling, it’s a lifestyle, as Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral demonstrate in their most recent cookbook, “Asada: The Art of Mexican-Style Grilling.”  This ode to festive gatherings, starring backyards across Los Angeles, features all sorts of enticing recipes. This grilled chicken dish is a solid recipe to make on a Sunday and eat throughout the week. Lopez avoids soaking the chiles so she can create a rustic marinade with lots of texture. Once it is grilled, she explains, the flavor of burnt chile makes this chicken recipe stand out.

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Succotash is a classic late summer dish that puts seasonal vegetables to good use. Photo via Shutterstock.

Rodney Scott’s Pork Belly Succotash

Rodney Scott was raised in South Carolina in the cult of barbecue. The family motto was, “If you’re big enough to work, you went to work.” No wonder Scott cooked his first whole hog at age 11. He worked as a pitmaster in his family’s business for more than a quarter of a century before setting out on his own in Charleston. 

His cookbook, “Rodney Scott’s World of Barbecue,” includes advice for how to build your own pit out of cinder blocks. If you’re not that ambitious, try your hand at his Pork Belly Succotash. Each summer, his grandmother would put up colorful jars of succotash because there were so many vegetables coming out of the garden, the family couldn’t eat them all. This dish, which adds pork belly to corn and lima beans, is an homage to her.

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Grilled shrimp are a light and tasty addition to any summer barbecue. Photo via Shutterstock.

Steve Raichlen’s Green Lightning Shrimp

In addition to this recipe for grilled shrimp, which gets its heat from coarsely-chopped jalapeno peppers (keep the seeds in if you want to make it spicier), BBQ master Steve Raichlen blessed us with his 11 Commandments of Grilling back in 2009. His advice — keep it lubricated, don’t overcrowd your grill, know when to baste — still holds up. 

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There are so many ways to have a great barbecue… but there are pitfalls too. Photo via Shutterstock.

Listen and Learn

Barbecue success isn’t just about the recipes. It’s about technique, the quality of the ingredients, how you season it. and a whole bunch of other things. These Good Food interviews will help you be the pitmaster you want to see in the world.