Let’s Barbecue: Lexington Style

Lexington, N.C. is renowned for its heritage of slow-cooking pork shoulders over hickory wood, a method that is known worldwide as Lexington-style barbecue.  It is a city that considers itself to be the “Barbecue Capital of the World”, and April 24-25 marks Lexington’s 5th annual BBQ Capital Cook Off. At this event, dozens of teams come together and compete, serving up their best chicken, ribs, brisket and pork.

Lexington-style, slow cooked pork typically incorporates a unique vinegar-based red sauce, which is oftentimes also used as a seasoning-base in red slaw. It adds spice and dimension as an alternative to the mayonnaise base found in most coleslaw recipes, and, because the consistency is a bit thinner, the flavors are easily absorbed by the veggies.

So, in the spirit of the Lexington BBQ Capital Cook Off, we’re offering you a recipe for Lexington Barbecue Sauce as well as Lexington Red Slaw!

Lexington Barbecue Sauce


  • 3 cups distilled vinegar
  • 3/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1/4 cup apple juice
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons finely ground pepper
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons red chili flakes
  • Mason jar or glass bottle with lid for storage


  • In a medium bowl, whisk all the ingredients together
  • Allow ingredients to sit for at least 1 hour before using, and store remaining sauce in a mason jar or vinegar-style bottle
  • This sauce will keep almost indefinitely in the refrigerator, but it is important to note that the longer the sauce sits, the spicier it gets – the vinegar brings out the heat of the chili flakes


Red Slaw Lexington Coleslaw


  • 1 1/2 cups of Lexington Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 large head green cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt


  • Shred cabbage
  • Peel carrot and grate using the large holes of a box grater
  • Combine cabbage and carrot in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar and salt
  • Toss to combine
  • Let stand 5 minutes, then transfer cabbage and carrot to a colander
  • Rinse thoroughly with running water
  • Transfer vegetables to a salad spinner and spin dry, or blot using paper towels
  • Return cabbage and carrot to large bowl
  • Pour Lexington-style Barbecue Sauce over vegetables and toss to coat
  • Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and sugar and enjoy!
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    Six Tips for Rib Perfection

    This weekend marks the 28th annual High on the Hog Festival in Winchester, Tenn. Last year, the festival introduced an annual backyard BBQ competition, where dozens of worthy contenders duke it out to deliver delicious grilled recipes for a shot at winning the title and ultimate bragging rights of Grand Champion. This year, over 50 teams from across the U.S. will gather to compete in the BBQ contest, with mouth-watering recipes in tow and the hopes of being honored for their grilling chops.

    In order to pay homage to the competitors at the High on the Hog Backyard BBQ Competition, we held our own backyard BBQ and experimented with some of our favorite pork rib recipes.

    There is a particular art to creating the perfect pork rib rack. After some trial, we were reminded of the delicate care that goes into preparing and crafting the most delectable pork ribs.  Here are several tips to keep in mind:

    • Resist the urge to boil your ribs beforehand. While this may result in added tenderness, boiling your ribs comes at a cost: sacrificed flavor. The result will be bland, one dimensional ribs when prepared this way. Instead, plan on employing a lot of patience and cooking over low heat which leads us to our second tip…
    • Adopt watchful patience. Ensuring that you have plenty of time (& patience) is critical to moist, delectable pork ribs. Set aside several hours and adopt a willingness to wait before you begin cooking.
    • Put the fire to the side. Don’t cook your ribs over direct, high heat. Instead, keep your hot coals over to one side of the grill and cook your ribs over on the other side. This will ensure that the ribs do not burn and dry out.
    • Allow wood chips to be your friend. When soaked in water and added to your charcoal fire, wood chips can add a nice, smoky flavor to your barbeque ribs. Plan on replenishing the wood chips about once every hour.
    • Employ the power of a spray bottle. Fill a spray bottle with water, paprika, and your favorite seasonings. By intermittently spraying your ribs with this mixture you can add moisture and lock in flavor.
    • Hold the barbeque sauce – at least until the ribs finish grilling. Prematurely adding barbeque sauce to your ribs can result in a charred and unpleasant coating. Instead, season your ribs with a rub before cooking and wait until the ribs are nearly finished before coating them with sauce.

    After your ribs have finished cooking and you have removed them from the grill, allow them to rest for 15 minutes before diving in. Please share in the comments if you have any additional tips and tricks up your sleeve for preparing the perfect rack of ribs!

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      Balancing Sweet & Savory

      A careful balance exists when combining the flavors of savory and sweet, and many people have a preference of one over the other. Our newest grilled chicken recipe is delicious on its own, but the sides are what make it a Cowboy worthy meal. Our first side is a honey-glaze grilled pineapple that will engage your sweet tooth, while our second is a simple and savory grilled peach with herbs. Depending on which direction you fancy, we have a sweet and savory side to tip the scales to your preference.

      We are of the philosophy that sometimes, less is more.  In this case, a simple rub is all that is needed to prepare this grilled chicken breast, which embodies the fragrant flavors of brown sugar as well as the powerful kick of onion. The result is a delicious, sweet yet savory entrée.

      Sweet and Savory Grilled Chicken Breast


      • 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast
      • 2 teaspoons of brown sugar
      • 2 teaspoons of mustard powder
      • 1 teaspoon onion powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
      • Light oil for grill grates


      • Fill grill with Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal and light
      • In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, mustard powder, onion powder, salt and pepper
      • Rub each side of chicken with the contents of the bowl before placing on the grill
      • Flipping once, grill the chicken until a golden crust has formed and the inside is white throughout, approximately 4-8 minutes


      We found that grilled fruit can be an excellent addition to the aforementioned recipe, we recommend pairing one, or both of these alongside or even atop your grilled chicken.

      Honey-Glaze Sweet Grilled Pineapple


      • 1/4 cup honey
      • Juice of 2 limes
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 pineapple


      • Cut pineapple into 3/4-inch thick rings with the core removed
      • In a baking dish, mix together honey, lime juice and cinnamon
      • Place pineapple slices in glaze and let marinate for 1-2 hours, flipping occasionally
      • Set remaining glaze to the side and place pineapple slices directly on grill
      • Grill both sides of pineapple until the glaze caramelizes and grill marks form, approximately 2 minutes per side
      • Serve on top of Sweet and Savory Grilled Chicken Breast and drizzle with remaining honey syrup over top


      Simple Savory Grilled Peaches with Herbs


      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
      • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • 6 fresh peaches


      • Chop basil and thyme and add to bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper
      • Whisk contents of bowl and allow to sit for 5 minutes while flavors absorb
      • Cut each peach in half and remove pit
      • Brush oil mixture on inside flesh of peach halves
      • Place peaches on the grill with flesh sides down
      • Cook until softened and grill marks begin to appear, approximately 4 minutes
      • Remove from grill and serve alongside Sweet and Savory Grilled Chicken Breast!
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        Bringing Bread to the Grill

        If you haven’t experimented with mixing the heat of your grill with your favorite starchy staples, we suggest you start now. Depending on how creative you want to get, working with grilled flatbreads can mean creating a simple side or an elaborate entrée. Add your favorite bread to the grill and feel free to take creative liberties from there.

        While we don’t want to downplay the power of delicious grilled flatbread on its own, we also can’t deny the endless possibilities that it inspires. Do you have a favorite recipe that incorporates grilled bread? Share it with us for a chance to be featured on The Roundup.

        Grilled flatbreads are a tasty addition to many meals, but since you’ve already fired up the grill, why not utilize it some more? If you’re looking for inspiration, we’re offering you the recipe for a grilled naan salad with buffalo chicken and onions. Meld cheesy grilled flatbread with fresh arugula and top with grilled buffalo chicken and onions for a fresh, single-serving spring salad.

        Grilled Naan Salad with Buffalo Chicken and Onions


        • 1/2 medium white onion
        • 4 tablespoons of buffalo wing sauce
        • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (approximately 1/4 pound)
        • 9-inch naan bread
        • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
        • 2 tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
        • 2 cups arugula
        • 1/2 stalk of celery
        • 2 tablespoons of ranch
        • Tin foil


        • Fill grill with Cowboy Hardwood Lump Charcoal and light it
        • Keeping rings intact, cut onion into thick slices
        • Using a brush, coat the chicken breast and onion slices with 2 tablespoons of the wing sauce
        • Loosely wrap onions in tin foil
        • Place the onion slices and chicken breast on the grill over direct heat and cook for approximately 12-15 minutes, flipping occasionally
        • Remove chicken breast and onions from grill and coat with remaining wing sauce
        • Oil one side of the naan with 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil and place oil-side-down on the grill
        • Sprinkle cheese on top of the naan and grill until the bottom begins to brown, approximately 2-4 minutes
        • Place naan on a plate and turn off the grill
        • Cut naan into 8 wedges and arrange on a serving plate
        • Cut chicken into 1/2 inch slices, dice celery, and separate the onion into rings
        • Top plate of grilled naan with arugula, celery, ranch, chicken and onion rings
        • Enjoy!
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          Easter Grilling Guide

          Decorating eggs in an elaborate fashion, engaging in an energetic egg hunt, or baking your family’s favorite brunch items? These traditions can only mean one thing: Easter is here.

          While individual traditions may vary, this holiday is a time for bonding with friends and family. And, just because you were tasked with bringing this years’ ham for everyone to enjoy, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice sharing precious moments with the ones you love. We’re here to offer a quick and delicious recipe to try this Easter Sunday.

          If you’re searching for a sweet yet savory source of protein to incorporate into your Easter brunch routine, this Grilled Pineapple Brown Sugar Ham is the perfect choice for you. Not only is this recipe a delicious spin off of a traditional ham, but the minimal preparation time will allow you to focus your energy on the people who matter.

          Grilled Pineapple & Brown Sugar Ham 

          • Fully cooked ham, 6-8 pounds
          • 1/2 cup brown sugar
          • 4 tablespoons spicy mustard
          • 1 can of sliced pineapple
          • 1 jar of cherries
          • Heavy-duty foil pan
          • Toothpicks


          • Fill grill with Cowboy Lump Hardwood Charcoal and light
          • While the grill heats up, create a glaze paste for the ham by mixing brown sugar and spicy mustard
          • Coat the entire ham with brown sugar and mustard mixture, using a rubbing motion
          • Place ham on a heavy-duty aluminum foil pan
          • Using toothpicks to secure in place, arrange sliced pineapples all around the exterior of the ham
          • Garnish each toothpick with a cherry
          • For added moisture, pour a little bit of the pineapple juice in the bottom of the pan
          • Place the foil pan with your ham directly on to the grill and keep the lid closed
          • Cook for approximately 40 minutes until glaze has crystallized on the ham – because the ham is already cooked, you don’t need to worry about internal temperatures
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