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​7 Classic Whole Foods Recipes for your Summer BBQ

Posted by Edna B. Wilson on

Summer is about farmers’ markets, music, family reunions and BBQ. When I moved “up north” several years ago, I dismissed BBQ as a truly southern tradition. It was sacred. In my heart, I believed it couldn’t be touched by the northern States.

Whenever I had BBQ in Illinois and Wisconsin, the sauce was always too sweet or missing entirely, there wasn’t enough meat, the ribs too dry; my list went on and on, so I dismissed BBQ all together.

Early last summer, while looking online for a new farmers’ market, I found the Delafield Farmers Market, just a few miles away. After breakfast in town, I wandered over to the market a few blocks away, in a parking lot near the fish hatchery. Among the fresh produce, flowers, and baked goods vendors was an Italian guy name John under a bright yellow tent. He was in a chef’s hat, cooking BBQ in a huge smoker. Skeptical even though it smelled good, I asked for a sample.

Turns out, I was sampling BBQ of the likes I’d never had before – even in the deep southern states of Georgia, Florida, Kentucky and the Carolinas. Brisket, pulled pork, ribs, and roast beef all smoked for hours in a smoker starting the night before, and cooked with cherry and other assorted woods. And the final touch? All his BBQ items were cooked and smoked in true southern style with his own sauces. I was hooked.

The winner of many BBQ competitions around the United States, John was looking for another avenue to share his passion for cooking barbecue when a friend suggested he try a farmers’ market. A chat with him inspired the choice of recipes included in this article, although sadly none are his.

The following whole foods recipes are a combination of grilling and smoking techniques. Grilling is much quicker than smoking; 15 minutes versus 12 hours or more, but both types of cooking are good for summer parties and casual evening meals.

Chicken Kabobs

Adapted from a recipe by DAVESARAH

A quick, easy dinner that can easily be substituted with other meats and vegetables.

Serves 4.


1 large red bell pepper, cut into 2” pieces

1 onion, cut into wedges

1 large green bell pepper, cut into 2” pieces

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed

1 cup barbecue sauce



1.Preheat your grill to high heat.

2.Add chicken, peppers, and onions to skewers, alternating to keep vegetables between your chicken cuts.

3.Oil the grate grill lightly.

4.Place the kabobs on the grill and brush with barbecue sauce.

5.Cook and turn, brushing continuously with BBQ sauce for 15 minutes or until chicken juice runs clear.

Doug Kacsir’s BBQ Corn

Make sure to get fresh corn with the husks on, before the outer husks are trimmed off. The corn must be completely covered by the husk to keep in the moisture.

Serves 5-10.


10 ears of fresh corn with husks 

1 bag of ice (7 pounds) 

1 quart beer


1.Put your ten whole ears of corn (in the husk) in an ice chest. Pour beer and dump ice on top of the corn. Close the cooler and let it sit overnight, or at least 8 hours.

2.Preheat your smoker to 250 degrees F/120 C. 3.Place the marinated corn in the smoker and close the lid. Cook 1 to 2 hours, turning every 20 minutes. To eat, peel back husks and use them as a handle. 

Jamaican Jerk Flank Steak

Adapted from the recipe by Robin Miller on Food Network

Flank steak, once dismissed as a tough, cheap cut of meat, has become quite popular. Just marinate it first to tenderize the meat and cut crosswise.

Serves 4.


Cooking spray 

1/2 cup red wine vinegar 

1 tablespoon granulated sugar 

2 teaspoons each ground allspice & ground cloves 

2 teaspoons each dried basil & dried thyme 

1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce 

2 1/2 pounds flank steak

Salt and pepper


1.In a shallow dish, whisk together vinegar, sugar, allspice, cloves, basil, thyme, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. 

2.Add flank steak to your spice and vinegar mixture, turning to coat. Marinade until tender, for 12-24 hours. 

3.Preheat and lightly grease grill. 

4.Transfer flank steak to prepared pan and pour any remaining marinade over the meat. 

5.Grill 5 minutes per side, until medium-rare. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing crosswise into thin slices.

Denyse’s Drunken Grilled Asparagus1

Although Denyse uses Burgundy to get her asparagus drunk, you can use any wine you like. Cooking time will vary and quantities can easily be adjusted.

Serves 8.


1 cup Burgundy wine 

2 pounds fresh asparagus 

1 teaspoon garlic powder 

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 tablespoon brown mustard 

½ teaspoon black pepper & salt


1.In a medium bowl whisk your wine, olive oil, brown mustard, garlic powder, black pepper and salt together.

2.Put asparagus in a large glass bowl and cover with the wine mixture. 3.Cover the bowl and marinate asparagus in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning occasionally. 4.Preheat an outdoor grill to high heat and lightly oil the grate. 5.Grill your asparagus for 10 minutes, or to desired tenderness.

Texas Brisket

A Food Network recipe by Del King

An all-time favorite of BBQ cooks, slow cooked beef brisket is barbecue at its finest. Nine hours of anticipation are well rewarded in every bite of this classic dish.

Serves 4-6.


6 pounds beef brisket 

1 tablespoon each yellow mustard & cayenne pepper 

1/4 cup dark brown sugar 

3/4 cup paprika 

2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder 

1/4 cup each black pepper & salt

2 tablespoons each garlic powder & onion powder


1.Preheat the smoker to 194-205 degrees F.

2.Trim the fat cap on the brisket to about 1/4-1/8 of an inch. 3.Coat the brisket lightly with yellow mustard. 4.Mix the sugar and spices together to form the rub for the brisket. Apply the rub to both sides of the meat. 5.Place the brisket in the smoker and let cook slowly about 1 ½ hours per pound, roughly 9 hours. 6.Remove the brisket from the smoker and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

CC’s Kalbi Korean BBQ Short Ribs

This recipe can be made with beef chuck flank or other cuts of beef rib meat. The amount of time you let your meat marinate affects the final prep and cook time.

Serves 4.


¾ cup soy sauce

¾ cup water 

¾ cup brown sugar 

1 garlic clove

2 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon Asian sesame oil 

2 pounds Korean-style short ribs – cut 1/3 to ½ inch thick across bones


1.Stir your soy sauce, brown sugar, water, garlic, green onions, and sesame oil together in a bowl until the sugar has dissolved. 

2.Place the ribs and marinade in a plastic zipper bag. Squeeze out the air, seal the bag, and refrigerate it overnight.

3.Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and oil the grate. Remove the ribs from the bag, and clean off any excess marinade. Discard the leftover liquid. 

4.Grill the ribs until the meat is pink but not bloody near the bone, 5-7 minutes per side.

Whole foods are foods that have been processed as little as possible. They have minimal sugar, salt and oil with little to no chemicals and preservatives. If you’re in the mood for a good barbecue, head to your garden, farmers’ market, or local whole foods retailer for the ingredients you need. You’ll find a few of them  here on our site, too.