Southern Inspired BBQ

Southern US food is diverse, taking influences from Africa, UK and France, amongst others, and creating a unique southern style that can be found nowhere else on earth. It conjures up thoughts of comfort food with bold flavours and food classics like fried chicken, cornbread, okra, gumbo and BBQ shrimp and ribs. Recipes are passed down from generation to generation, families and friends gather for picnics and outdoor grilling, and food is designed to satisfy the soul. Try some of our recipes that were inspired by the south.

BBQ pork ribs

Ribs are traditionally cooked over fairly hot coals until cooked through. However, they can become dry and tough, so we tried brining our ribs and the results were great. It doesn’t take much effort and it’s well worth it.

  • 1.5 kg pork ribs
  • 4 cups apple cider or apple juice
  • ¼ cup table salt (60g)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper
  • BBQ sauce – use your own recipe

Mix together the cider, salt, garlic and pepper in a large plastic bag. Shake about and then add the ribs and secure the bag. Leave overnight in the fridge. The next day rinse the brine off the ribs and pat dry. Brush with BBQ sauce and braai on a medium heat until cooked through. Don’t add any extra salt before cooking.

Cheese, bacon and jalapeno cornbread

  • ½ cup maize meal
  • 1 ½ cups self-raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g lard or butter
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 100g bacon, cooked until crisp
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped

Mix together the maize meal, flour, salt, buttermilk and eggs to form a batter. Place a cast-iron pan on the grid of your braai and add the lard or butter. When the butter is hot, pour in the batter. Sprinkle over the cheese, bacon and jalapeno. Cover with tinfoil and allow to bake until cooked through – it should take around 25 – 30 minutes. This recipe can also be made in the oven in a cast-iron pan or muffin tin if space on your braai is limited. Bake at 200°C for 25 – 30 minutes. Southern tradition dictates that cornbread is served with molasses or honey, which you can add after cooking if you want to go that route. Serves 4-6.

Creamy Fennel Slaw

A classic southern side dish, with a twist.

  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • Handful coriander leaves
  • 1 teaspoon jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 4-6.

The Gardener