Carolina-style ribs and honey-butter fish with James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Rodney Scott

California Cooking

Summer is just around the corner, and Jessica spoke to pitmaster and cookbook author Rodney Scott for some grilling tips.

Rodney opened up his first BBQ spot in South Carolina, and not only was it hit, it also got immense recognition: He won a James Beard Award!

He said that what sets Rodney Scott’s BBQ apart from other spots is that they cook a whole hog, so you can savor all the different tastes.

Rodney also has a cookbook, where he also shares his life story, his experiences with food and his mouth-watering recipes

Rodney offered some great grilling tips to pitmasters, so you too can make his culinary creations at home. Jessica made Rodney’s BBQ ribs and honey-butter fish.

For more information about Rodney Scott’s BBQ visit their website or Instagram page. Check out Rodney’s book here.

This segment aired on California Cooking with Jessica Holmes Episode 105.

Find the following recipes and more in “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day: A Cookbook

Rodney Scott’s BBQ

Rodney’s Ribs, serves 6


  • 3 slabs of pork spare ribs, membranes removed
  • 3 tablespoons Rodney’s Rib Rub
  • 2 cups Rodney’s Sauce


  1. Heat the grill to between 200°F and 250° fahrenheit.
  2. Season each slab with the rib rub by sprinkling the rib rub on each side — don’t completely rub it into the meat. Make sure you get under the flap, the little piece of meat that dangles on the bone side of the rib.
  3. Place the seasoned ribs on the hot grill with the bone side down and the fatty end toward the hotter area of the grill. The middle tends to be hotter so that will ensure that the thicker part of the rib gets cooked properly.
  4. After 1½ hours, open the smoker or grill and look for medium-dark, caramelization on the bones of the ribs. Put one cup of the Rodney’s Sauce to the side for serving with the ribs. Use the remaining cup to use the “mop, flip, mop” method by brushing or moppin the meat side with sauce then flip the ribs over so that they are now bone side up.
  5. Mop the ribs again. Close the grill.
  6. Bring the grill back up to temperature between 200° F to 250° F.
  7. Cook the ribs until they have reached an internal temperature of 160°F—about another hour.

Rodney’s Rib Rub
Rodney unapologetically uses MSG in his seasoning—it is a “flavor maker.” Makes 2 cups.

  • 1/2 half cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup MSG
  • 1/4 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Mix all of the ingredients and place them in an airtight container.
  2. Cover and store in a cool, dry place until ready to use.

Rodney’s Sauce, makes 2 cups


  • 2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  1. Pour the vinegar in a small saucepan and warm it over medium-high heat. When the vinegar reaches 150°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lemon slices and continue to cook until the lemons are slightly translucent, about 10 minutes more.
  3. Whisk in the black pepper, cayenne, red pepper, and sugar.
  4. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is completely dissolved and the sauce reaches 190° F, about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to completely cool before using.
  6. The sauce keeps in the refrigerator for one month.

Note: If you have used a mop to put the sauce on raw meat—dipping the same mop back into the sauce, do not save and re-use. We make huge batches of this in the restaurant so you can double or quadruple the recipe if you like.

Honey-Butter Fish


  • 6 (6-ounce) skinless fish fillets, such as trout, catfish, red snapper, or branzino
  • 2 tablespoons of rib rub
  • 6 tablespoons of honey butter


  1. Fire up your grill. Heat the grill to 225°F and 250°F.
  2. Season the fish fillets with the rib rub.
  3. Cut pieces of foil big enough to fit each of your fish fillets lengthwise and then fold the foil into a sling so that it will nestle the fish and keep the melted butter from running into the coals.
  4. Place the empty foil slings on the grill (just the foil, you add the fish in a minute).
  5. Add ½ tablespoon of honey butter to each piece of foil.
  6. As the butter starts to melt, nestle each fish fillet on each piece of foil.
  7. Leave the foil open to allow maximum smoke flavor to get to the fish.
  8. Close the grill and cook until the fish loses its translucent appearance and flakes easily when a fork is gently inserted — 30 to 35 minutes — and serve.

Honey Butter


  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey


  1. In a medium bowl, beat the honey and butter together with a whisk or electric hand mixer until well combined.

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