Review: Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: More Than 100 Recipes

Wow. Much more than a collection of recipes, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: More Than 100 Recipes for Pork, Beef, Chicken & the Essential Southern Sides is an absolute delight. I picked up an eBook version of the book from our library and within minutes I had already bookmarked 10s of recipes that I had to make. Not wanted to make, HAD to make. Everything sounded (and looked so good) that I was already adding ingredients to my grocery list before I made it to the end of the first chapter.

If you have a grill or smoker, you need this book. Many of the recipes are simple, but delicious. Some are classics, but with slight twists that make you go ‘wow, what a great idea!’. Many are inspired by items on the menu of the incredibly popular Brother Jimmy’s restaurant in New York (and a few other places). The book is written by Josh Lebowitz, now the owner of Brother Jimmy’s. Like his letter at the beginning states, this book is meant to “bring a little Brother Jimmy’s” to backyard party or wherever you are cooking.

Brother Jimmy’s BBQ is divided into 11 chapters, plus an introduction for those just getting started. The chapters are: Rubs, Spices and Sauces, Condiments, Pickles and Slaws, Drinks, Starters, Soups, Stews and Sturdy Salads, Pork, Beef, Poultry, Seafood, and last, Dessert. Each section is packed with delicious recipes and notes, stories and tidbits by the author. Don’t just jump to the recipes, read it like a book. You’ll be glad you did.

I would normally tell you about some of the recipes but honestly, there are so many great ones I can’t even pick. I liked everything so much that the day after I got the book I made Brother Jimmy’s BBQ sauce, BBQ baked beans, blue cheese dressing (for dipping wings and mushrooms), marinated and grilled mushrooms (so good in the blue cheese dressing!) and Cajun-fried chicken. Every single dish was fantastic. I can’t wait to make more!

To be fair (and consistent) I do wish that Brother Jimmy’s BBQ had more pictures, but since I so loved the end results of what I made, I didn’t really need more pictures. I am going to take a little off my final score using the ‘Mater Rater but I very highly recommend this book. Go get it!

For more of my reviews of cookbooks available for the Amazon Kindle readers, visit Kindle Thyme.

Muffaletta Flatbread Pizza

True story: I often dream about muffaletta sandwiches. They have the perfect combination of flavors. Smoky provolone. Cured meats. Fantastic olive salad. This muffaletta flatbread pizza takes all those great flavors (and more) and puts it on a bite-sized crunchy slice. Perfect for a party, perfect for any time!
Muffaletta Flatbread PizzaI make my own olive salad when I have time. It’s completely amazing, and definitely one of my favorite things to make. No matter if you use homemade or store-bought, make sure you drain the salad a bit before using it. You want a bit of the great olive oil flavor, but you don’t want a soggy pizza.

Muffaletta Flatbread Pizza
Recipe type: Main or Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 pizzas
Toppings (divide equally between the two flatbreads)
  • Olive salad, drained just slightly
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (Mozzarella, provolone, Italian blend, whatever you prefer)
  • 3 slices Provolone cheese, cut into strips
  • 3 slices salami, cut into strips or chopped
  • 3 slices Mortadella, cut into strips or chopped
  • 3 slices Capicolla, Prosciutto, or smoked ham, cut into strips or chopped
  • 1/4 cup baby artichoke hearts, drained, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place flatbreads on baking sheets and bake for 2 minutes. Flip and bake for another 2 minutes to get crusts slightly crunchy. Remove and let cool slightly.
  3. Spread olive salad on to the flatbreads. Get a little of the yummy juice on them but not too much or they will be soggy.
  4. Add remaining ingredients.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted and crust is crunchy.
  6. Place under broiler for 30 seconds or so if you want a little char on the toppings.
  7. Slice and serve.

Big Mac Meatball Subs

I don’t know where some of my ideas come from. It’s probably best that I don’t know. But I do know that this right here, my Big Mac Meatball Subs, was one of my best creations. I was craving that great Big Mac taste but I didn’t have burger patties on hand. But I did have meatballs. Yeah, it’s just like a Big Mac burger, but oh so much better. And easier to make.

Big Mac meatball subs are a tad bit messy to eat and that’s a good thing. I’ve said it a millions times before. The messier the sandwich, the better it is. Put up the fine linens and grab some paper towels and dig in!

Also try my grilled Big Macs (a longtime favorite of mine) and Big Mac sliders (same great flavors, packed into smaller bites). Make an extra big batch of the special sauce. I use it on regular old cold-cut sandwiches and hot dogs!

Big Mac Meatball Subs
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
For the special sauce (makes more than you'll need)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tablespoons French salad dressing
  • 4 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
  • 3 teaspoons white onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
For the subs
  • 10 pre-cooked, frozen meatballs
  • 2 sub rolls
  • 2 slices American cheese
  • Special sauce, from above
  • 1/4 cup white onion, diced
  • Dill pickles
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
For the special sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.
For the subs
  1. Heat the meatballs per package instructions. The last 5 minutes of heating add the buns to the oven to warm them.
  2. Assemble subs by slathering bun bottoms with special sauce. Add the cheese, onion and lettuce.
  3. Top with meatballs and dill pickles.

Lime Pepper Saltines

It seems that I have a bit of an addiction to flavored saltines. It all started when I made Fire-Eater saltines, which disappeared in no time. I should probably hide them, but then, I’d still know where they are so that isn’t going to help. Guess I’ll try moderation instead. These lime pepper saltines aren’t going to help either. They have just a hint of lime with a great pepper flavor. I was very pleasantly surprised as to just how much I liked them.
Lime Pepper SaltinesI found lime pepper seasoning at our local GFS store, but you can also find a mix like it at your local grocery store. You can also substitute lemon pepper, which seems to be a bit more common.

Also try my Buffalo wing and Fire-eater saltines.

Lime Pepper Saltines
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 30 or so crackers
  • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers (low-salt work just fine)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Lime Pepper seasoning
  1. Place crackers in a large resealable bag or container.
  2. Pour in the oil.
  3. Sprinkle with the seasoning.
  4. Seal and gently toss to coat.
  5. Let sit (on the counter) for 12 hours to get 'happy', tossing gently every once-in-a-while.
  6. Serve as-is or with cream cheese for topping.

Firemen’s Field Day Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy

This may well be some of the best chicken I’ve ever made on my Char-Broil Big Easy. And trust me, I’ve made my share of chicken. The flavor was fantastic. The meat was tender and juicy. And the skin was crispy. I used chicken legs, but any cuts of chicken will do, just remember that you’ll likely need a Bunk Bed basket to fit them all into your cooker.
I was reminded a bit of the time I used Chiavetta’s marinade on some chicken I cooked on the Big Easy. There’s a slight hint of vinegar, but definitely not an overpowering one. I didn’t have any poultry seasoning on hand (I’m not sure how that happened) so I ended up using Famous Dave’s Roast Chicken rub.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Firemen's Field Day Chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4 servings
  • 6 chicken legs (or 4 split chicken breasts or 8 bone-in chicken thighs, or a combination of pieces)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 egg
  1. Place chicken pieces in a large resealable bag or container.
  2. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and add to the chicken.
  3. Seal and toss gently to coat.
  4. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours, turning often if the chicken isn't fully submerged in the marinade.
  5. Fire up your Big Easy.
  6. Remove chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess. Discard the marinade.
  7. Place chicken into the Big Easy baskets and then into the cooker.
  8. Cook 45 minutes or about 20 minutes per pound, until the chicken reaches 165 F as measured in several locations.
  9. Remove, let cool slightly and devour!

Meijer Mango Habanero Wing Sauce

I admit, I might have been a little worried when I first opened a bottle of Meijer’s Mango Habanero wing sauce to take a taste. You don’t mess around with habaneros. As much as I’m a fan of spicy food, habaneros can actually just hurt. Well, my fears were unfounded because the heat is tamed perfectly by sweet mangoes. Yeah, oh yeah, there’s still a spicy kick, but it’s spot-on perfect. Like the other Meijer wing sauces I’ve tried, I found it to be perfect!
Besides great flavors and perfect consistency (you don’t want your wing sauce ending up in a puddle at the bottom of your plate), Meijer’s wing sauces are all all-natural. No weird stuff makes for better wings!

Also try Meijer’s Medium Buffalo wing sauce.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Meijer Mango Habanero Wing Sauce
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • 3-4 pounds chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Meijer Mango Habanero Wing Sauce
  1. Place wings in a large resealable baggie or container.
  2. Add the oil, salt and pepper. Seal and toss to coat.
  3. Refrigerate for 4-8 hours.
  4. Cook wings as desired. Click here for our guide on cooking wings in a grill, smoker, deep fryer, oven, or a Char-Broil Big Easy.
  5. Toss wings with sauce before serving.

Okra and Tomatoes

I like to stock up on canned goods before winter which is why I ended up trying a can of Margaret Holmes Tomato, Okra and Corn. Anita and I both loved it, which set me down the path to finding something similar that I could make at home. That brought me to this okra and tomatoes recipe, which Anita declared to be the best side dish I’ve ever made. And I have to agree, it’s the perfect side dish. It has that cooked-all-day flavor, but without the fuss. Perfect on a cool day for sure. Oh, and no, I didn’t add corn, but you could. Anita’s not the biggest fan of the corn part of the canned version, so she liked this even more!

I couldn’t find fresh okra (sadly, it can be hard to come by here in Indiana) so I used frozen, which worked out wonderfully. You can add a can of corn kernels (about a cup or so frozen) if you wish, but this dish is really great as it is.

I’m contemplating adding smoked sausage next time. The okra and tomatoes has that sort of gumbo feel to it, and a little smoked sausage would take it from a side dish to a main course in no time.

If you love okra as much as I do you’ll also want to make my okra giardiniera. It’s crazy good on a sandwich.

Okra and Tomatoes
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6 servings
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups fresh okra, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used a 16 ounce package of frozen okra)
  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the bacon until tender but not crispy.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is tender.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices along with the chicken base and sugar. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
  5. Fresh okra: Add okra and cook another 20 minutes.
  6. Frozen okra: Add okra and cook another 10 minutes.

Biscuits + Groovy The Donna Summer

I watch the show Eat Street on the Cooking Channel because I love food trucks. Whenever there’s one near me I stop and get something, anything. One of the episodes of Eat Street had the host, James Cunningham, stop at the Biscuits + Groovy trailer in Austin, TX. Because Anita and I love biscuits and gravy I knew instantly that I was going to make some of the dishes they serve up. I mean, dang, look at the menu! Everything sounds fantastic, including The Donna Summer. Biscuits, white pepper gravy, breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs topped with cheese and garnished with green onions. This ain’t no light breakfast, it’s the breakfast of champions!
I’m definitely not a food industry expert, but I do recognize a good concept when I see it. All of the biscuit dishes from Biscuits + Groovy start with great buttermilk biscuits. You can then build from there, like with the Donna Summer, which is definitely loaded with all things good and breakfasty.

If I was anywhere near Austin, Texas right now I’d be in line at the Biscuits + Groovy trailer and my stomach would be growling!

Biscuits + Groovy The Donna Summer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 serving
  • 3 Pillsbury Flaky biscuits (or use my homemade black pepper biscuits)
  • White pepper gravy (see below)
  • 3 large eggs (see below)
  • Shredded Colby jack cheese
  • Fresh chives or green onions
For the white pepper gravy
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup milk (plus more depending on how thick or thin you like your gravy)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the scrambled eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Bisquik
  • 1 tablespoon butter
For the white gravy
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  2. Whisk in the flour.
  3. Whisk in the milk until smooth. Gravy will continue to thicken. If too thick add a bit more milks.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the scrambled eggs
  1. Thoroughly beat eggs with mix until there are no clumps or lumps.
  2. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add eggs and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 1 minute.
  4. Once eggs start to cook start pushing toward middle with a spatula. Continue until eggs are completely cooked
For the biscuits
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Add biscuits and cook per package instructions.
Making the biscuits
  1. Split biscuits and place on a plate.
  2. Add eggs, gravy and cheese.
  3. Top with chives or green onions. Serve.