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Grillin’ with Mary Kay Andrews

A native of St. Petersburg, Mary Kay Andrews has spent her life putting words to paper both as a writer for the Atlanta Constitution and as a witty whodunit novelist under her real name, Kathy Trochek.

She’s cooked up a new endeavor with her first food foray, The Beach House Cookbook, with recipes she’s tested in her two restored vintage beach homes, The Breeze Inn and Ebbtide, both affectionately named after fictional places in her novels. In between cooking, entertaining friends and whipping up her next novel, Mary Kay’s favorite pastime is junking and fixing up old houses.

Mary Kay Andrews

Her low-country coastal lifestyle influences her recipes with the likes of Coca Cola, Meyer lemons, grits and local shrimp as ingredients. (For more grilling recipes, go to

Grillin’ Recipe


This recipe would probably work with Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper, but if that Southern staple CheerWine is available in your neighborhood, that’s what will give it that uniquely cherry taste. Use two big disposable foil pans for this messy recipe. You can do it in the oven and finish it up in the oven, or best yet, on the grill. Serves 4


1. Preheat oven/grill to 400°. In a small bowl, mix together salt, brown sugar, black pepper, and chili powder.

2. Rub all over ribs. Divide ribs between 2 large disposable aluminum roasting pans, being sure to place the slabs in meat side up.

3. Pour 2 cups Cheerwine into each pan, and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast ribs, switching pans’ positions halfway through cooking, until very tender, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

4. While ribs cook, prepare the glaze. In a medium-size saucepan, whisk together Cheerwine, jam, brown sugar, Worcestershire, vinegar, tomato paste, mustard, and soy sauce. Set over medium heat. Let cook, whisking occasionally, until reduced and syrupy, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside.

5. Remove ribs from oven when tender. Remove foil and ribs from pans; pour fat and remaining liquid out of pans and discard.

6. You can finish these up on the a hot grill or in the oven. Carefully arrange for oven rack to be about 8 inches from broiler (no closer); preheat broiler. Brush ribs all over with prepared glaze and return to pans, meat side up. Broil for about 5 minutes or until lightly charred.

Grillin’ Equipment


Time to dust off the patio for al fresco entertaining! This year’s outdoor dining trends encompass new state of the art grills, tools, eclectic spices and savory sauces.


The current rage in outdoor grilling is the electric Pellet Grill. Go gastro-pro with wood-fired, flavor-infused pellets. Grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise and BBQ all on the same digital grill. Just set it and forget it.

Kick back and grill in minutes with Kickstarter sensation, the Insta Grill. No lighter fluid needed and clean up takes minutes. Great for solo or small gathering grilling, as well as tailgating and camping.


Add a fun and personal touch to grilled meats with a Steak Brand. Hand forged by a Texas cattle rancher, brand sizzling steaks with your initial, monogram or custom design. For grilling and chilling, try a Himalayan Salt Block. Heat on the grill to sear seafood and meat, or chill for serving a selection of fruits, vegetables and cheeses with a hint of salt.


Tasty BBQ and grilling has morphed into Fusion’que, where spices and sauces cross cultural boundaries. Cuban Island Spice is a popular addition to pork and chicken dishes. A chai-based sauce, created locally, called “Saucy Everything” is perfect for meat, seafood and veggies. White BBQ Sauce (no tomatoes in sight). Mix organic mayo, vinegar, sugar and lemon for some Southern tang that’s spooned over grilled or smoked chicken.


Gas vs. Charcoal – Gas does burn cleaner, but some folks prfer the smokier grilled burger taste. Buy additive free charcoal.

Get It Hot – Pre-heat your grill 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to make sure it reaches the right temperature (and to kill any bacteria). Your grill should be 400-450°F for high, 350-400°F for medium-high, 300-350°F for medium and 250-300°F for low heat.

Use A Grill Basket – For foods that might fall through the grill rack or are too cumbersome to turn over one by one (vegetables, fish, tofu, fruits, etc.).

Ream more Culinary Master editorials.


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