Southern Food

I’m no barbeque expert nor do I have the equipment to throw down grill-master style.  So I adapted (culinary Darwinism?). This menu includes my recipe for slow-cooked ribs (in the oven) and an out-of-the-closet confession (yikes!).  And please, I love y’all, but spare me the lectures on how inferior this cooking method is to indirect heat, applying dry rubs, grilling, etc… I KNOW it is.  This is just my simple recipe for cooking ribs in the oven.


Tequila Mojitos

  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups fresh mint
  • 2 cups lemon-lime soda
  • 1 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup tequila
  • Garnish: fresh mint sprigs, lime slices


Combine water and sugar in a medium pan and heat over medium high heat until simmering.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat; add mint sprigs, and let stand 2 hours or until mixture is completely cool.

Pour mixture through a strainer into a pitcher and discard mint.  Stir in lemon-lime soda, lime juice, and tequila. Serve over ice.  Garnish with fresh mint sprigs and lime slices.


Kinda Like Deb’s Orzo Salad

  • 1 pound orzo
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup Greek vinaigrette
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain pasta thoroughly then transfer to a large bowl.

Add tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions and vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste and season with salt if needed.

Add feta, pine nuts and parsley then toss to combine just before serving.  Add more vinaigrette if necessary.


My sister-in-law, Deb, makes this.  Her recipe involves lemon juice, fresh herbs and olive oil but since neither of us can remember the exact quantities, I figured I better stick with the Greek vinaigrette for the recipe.   Don’t skip the pine nuts (or toasting them!) because they make the salad!


Roasted Corn with Chili Butter

  • 6-8 ears fresh corn
  • ¾ cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • Coarse grain salt

Mix butter and remaining ingredients well; cover and set out at room temperature for 2 hours or more.

Cook corn in roasting rack of covered grill until tender.  Remove corn and immediately brush with chili butter.  Sprinkle with coarse grain salt.

Cowboy Beans

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3 32-ounce cans pork n’ beans
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & diced
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup tomato based barbeque sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup

Brown ground beef and onion in a large skillet.  Season meat with salt, pepper and chili powder and continue to cook until meat crumbles and is done.  Drain fat; add meat to a large slow-cooker.

Pour all pork n’ beans in a large colander to drain a bit (do not rinse).  Add pork n’ beans to the slow cooker.  Add jalapeno, brown sugar, barbeque sauce and ketchup to the slow cooker.  Stir to incorporate, cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.


Slow-Cooked Barbequed Ribs

  • 2 racks of pork ribs
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4-5 large onions
  • 1 ½ cups beer or apple cider
  • ¼ cup Liquid Smoke
  • 1 cup barbeque sauce

Wash the ribs and remove the membrane from the bottom side.  Season both side of ribs very liberally with salt and pepper.

Peel onions then slice into 1-inch rings.  Spread onion rings out evenly on the bottom of a large roasting pan (these will serve as a “rack” for keeping the ribs off the bottom of the pan.  Pour beer or apple cider and Liquid Smoke into the pan (be sure that liquid is no more than half-way up the onion rings).

Place ribs on top of onions in a single layer.  Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil.  Bake at 250 degrees for 4 hours (if ribs are layered or extra thick, cook for 5 hours).

Remove ribs from oven.  Coat ribs with your favorite barbeque sauce. Either move the ribs to a hot grill and continue cooking for 15 minutes or place in a dry pan (lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up) and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.


This is my mostest favoritest way to cook ribs and it’s so simple and easy it’s almost embarrassing. Whateva… I’m coming out of the closet.  I use Liquid Smoke and I LIKE IT!  And I have it on good authority that two major rib chains prepare their ribs almost identically to this.


Click here to find the printable version of these recipes.  Happy Memorial Day!

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy Richburg Rivers

Mandy lives in Lexington, South Carolina, is a contributing writer for the Food & Drink section and is currently working on her first cookbook. Mandy is an award winning recipe writer and judges regional cook-offs and other culinary contests.

“I'm just a gal that likes food. Of course I like to eat, but what I've discovered about myself over the years is that there are more ways for me to enjoy food than just eating it. I like to shop for it, read about it, cook it, entertain with it and write about it. And when it's really good, sometimes I'm tempted to throw it on the floor and roll in it."