The Smokehouse – Hilton Head Island, SC

We’ve been fortunate to vacation quite often at Hilton Head Island, along with thousands of other Ohioans.  There’s certainly no shortage of great places to eat, especially those taking advantage of the fantastic seafood.  And even though we love all those places, we’ve come to make BBQ one of our vacation traditions.  The Smokehouse will be celebrating their 20th anniversary this year and we’re thrilled they’ve stood the test of time!

Located on Palmetto Bay Road, not far from Coligny, the newer freestanding location has ample room in the bar, dining area and outdoors.  You’ll feel right at home in the open wood-and-corrugated steel atmosphere.  After ordering a few drafts from their selection of local brews, we moved onto appetizers.  There’s a great selection of ribs, wings, sliders and a variety of other BBQ-inspired bar specialties.  I highly recommend the wings and the crunchy onion loaf!


While the menu boasts a variety of salads, sandwiches, seafood and grilled meats, there’s no reason you should skip their BBQ.  We ordered several samplers and were impressed with the pulled pork, brisket and ribs.  The smoked chicken was a little dry, but the flavor was spot-on.  All of the traditional sides were simple and perfectly-made.  Be sure to order the macaroni & cheese as well as at the collards!


A stop here is going to be your new family tradition for trips to the island.  Whether you dine-in or carry out bulk orders for beachside eating, you’ll be sure to have happy bellies from The Smokehouse!  Stop in for live music or check out their Sunday brunch.  You can learn more about this award-winning personal favorite at  Dig in!


Sticky Chinese Ribs

Have you ever had sticky ribs from your favorite Chinese takeout or local restaurant?  While I’m a purist most times about BBQ, I have to admit my latest creation for oven ribs is near the top of my all-time favorites.  From the citrusy marinade to the rich tangy sauce, there’s enough going on to forget that these never touched a grill or smoker!





  • 3-4 Lbs. Rack of Baby Back Ribs


  • 6-8 Slices Fresh Ginger
  • 2-3 Cloves Chopped Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Canola Oil
  • 1 Tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil



Sticky Sauce

  • 3 Tbs. Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbs. Hoisin Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Ketchup
  • 1 Tbs. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tsp. Sriracha
  • 1 Tsp. Chinese Five Spice Powder


  • Remove silver skin from the back side of ribs and cut rack in half.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients.
  • Place ribs in a gallon zipper bag and pour marinade over them.  Remove as much air as possible and seal.
  • Marinate for 2-6 hours, turning occasionally to ensure marinade penetrates all of the meat.

To Cook

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Remove ribs from marinate and shake off excess liquid.  Place in a glass 13×9 baking dish.
  • Add a half cup water, cover tightly with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours.
  • With 20 minutes left of cooking time, place all of the sticky sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat.  Stir frequently and cook for 15 minutes until sauce thickens slightly.
  • Remove ribs from oven.  Turn your oven’s broiler to low.
  • Transfer ribs to a foil-lined baking sheet.  Spoon 1/2 half of sticky sauce over ribs and place under broiler for 3-4 minutes.
  • Spoon the remaining sauce over the ribs and place back under the broiler for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove ribs from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

The sticky sauce and warm spices cut through the fat of the ribs while enhancing the flavor of the pork.  You’ll be amazed how much these remind you of versions you’ve had from restaurants – only it’s better!  I know we’ll use this sticky Chinese-inspired sauce on wings in the near future too – I think a little sliced scallion would be the perfect finish.  Give them a try and I guarantee you’ll want to make them for your friends and family during these NFL playoff weekends.  Dig in!

Pork Burnt Ends

I love to grill, smoke and BBQ – even through the winter!  I’m always looking for new recipes, methods and cuts of meat to try some experiments.  Thankfully, I always have plenty of willing taste-testers.  The recipe below was inspired by one I read in The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook by Bill Gillespie.  Burnt ends are traditionally beef, but I really like this take using pork.  They make a perfect dinner, appetizer or snack for the Super Bowl next Sunday!




  • 3-4 Lbs. Boneless Pork Country Ribs
  • 1/2 Cup Yellow Mustard
  • Savory BBQ Rub or Any Dry Rub (I used Butt Rub on these)
  • 6 Tbs. Butter
  • 2 Tbs. Cayenne Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed


  • Coat country ribs evenly with yellow mustard.  Dust liberally with BBQ rub of your choice.  The mustard will help tenderize the meat and help the rub to stick.
  • Using a smoker, charcoal grill or gas grill, cook ribs directly on the grate offset from the heat at a temperature of 250 degrees for roughly three hours or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.  I used my charcoal grill, natural oak lump charcoal, this time with applewood chips for smoke.
  • Remove ribs from smoker or grill and allow to cool for about 30 minutes.
  • While the ribs cool:  In a small saucepan, melt butter and add hot sauce and honey.  Stir to combine well.
  • Cut ribs into 1-inch cubes.  Using an injector fill each pork cube.  The butter mixture will run out some, but that’s OK.  Place cubes into a shallow foil pan.  You will have some butter pool in the pan as it runs out of the pork.
  • Sprinkle the cubed meat with brown sugar and another light coating of rub.
  • Return foil pan to the smoker or grill and continue to cook on offset heat at 275-300 degrees for 1-2 more hours.  Stir every 15 minutes to evenly coat pork with rub and sauce.
  • Your burnt ends are ready when they reach your desired darkness.  Given the fat content and butter in the meat, you can create a great bark without drying out the meat.


So this was my first run at making these and I couldn’t be more pleased with how they turned out!  You could easily finish these with your favorite BBQ sauce instead of the rub and brown sugar, but be careful of the sugar content.  It could cause them to burn quickly.  Served as a main, in a sandwich or as an appetizer, you’ll look like a BBQ pro for your family and friends.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.  Dig in!!

Savory BBQ Rub

The secret’s out – I love to barbecue!!  Whether I’m cooking at home or eating out, I love wings, brisket, ribs and all manner of meats seasoned with dry rub.  There are tons of great varieties available in stores and online and I use lots of them. (people tend to give them to me as gifts – awesome, right?!)  I have a few favorites that I’ve talked about before, but I also like to make my own.  Try the all-purpose rub below for a perfect blend of sweet-savory-spicy.  There’s a depth of flavor with maybe a few surprises in the ingredients, but the overall flavor is reminiscent of really great BBQ potato chips.




  • 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 2 Tsp Sweet Smoked Paprika
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 Tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Thyme
  • 1 Tsp Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Ginger

Instructions (not really necessary)

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Rub desired cut(s) of meat on all sides and allow to marinate for 30 minutes before grilling, smoking or baking.

It’s not complicated, but this recipe turns out some great BBQ.  The amount above is enough to cover a 5 lbs. brisket, but you can multiple the recipe for greater quantities of chicken, ribs, etc.  It’s also a great basic recipe that you can add or exchange ingredients to develop your own flavor profile.  Like it hot?  Use hot paprika and cayenne.  Like a little more savory?  Use rosemary or oregano.  Want some southwest flair?  Try adding chili powder and cumin.  Have fun with it and share any of your great ideas.  Mostly, just fire up the smoker and dig in!

Easy Baby (Got) Back Ribs

Is BBQ a food group?!  I believe it should be – a lot of people would agree with me based on America’s obsession with BBQ cooking, restaurants and TV shows.  Baby back ribs are sometimes intimidating for people to cook at home, but they don’t have to be.  Whether braised, smoked, oven-baked or grilled I have a fool-proof method for tender ribs that will make you look like a pro!  The key takeaway from the recipe below is the method.  You can vary rubs and sauces, but by following these steps, you’ll always turn out competition-worthy ribs.




  • Remove ribs from packing and pat dry with paper towels.
  • On the back side of the ribs, insert a knife under the silver skin until you can grab enough of it with your hand.  Remove the entire silver skin from the back of the ribs to allow for better cooking and more tender meat.  It may be easier if you use a towel or paper towel to grab the silver skin.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the rack in half for easier cooking.
  • Generously sprinkle all sides of the ribs with your dry rub.  I love using Butt Rub, but there are tons of great dry rubs out there.  I’ll have a future post with several rub recipes you can make yourself!  Rub the seasoning into the meat well.
  • No matter your method of cooking, you want to take two steps.
    • First, place the ribs in a metal rack on your grill or on a cookie sheet for your oven and cook for 2 hours at 275 degrees.  On the grill, cook them over indirect heat – they will dry out and become tough on the outside.
    • After two hours, place both halves into a large piece of doubled-up foil.  Put butter and cider vinegar in the foil and seal completely.  Place back in the oven or on the grill for 1 hour.
  • Remove ribs from grill or oven and from foil wrap.  Discard foil and cooking juice.
  • The ribs are fully cooked and tender at this point.  I like to finish them over low direct flame on the grill and add sauce.  You can also sauce them in the oven if you prefer.  Either way, over the next 15-20 minutes, brush rib liberally with the sauce of your choice turning the ribs often to avoid burning.


Follow this method and you should turn out beautiful ribs that have tender meat pulling away from the bone!  I use one of our local Cincinnati favorites – Montgomery Inn BBQ Sauce for a rich sweet flavor.  Try these with your own local favorite or homemade sauce.  I’ll have a few recipes in future posts for that too!  Send me pictures and stories of your best effort – I’m sure you’ll wow friends and family with this recipe…