There was a moment last summer, during a photo shoot with chef James London on the waterfront in Charleston, when a rainstorm threatened to fizzle the party. London had gone out fishing with an intrepid crew that morning, facing rough seas for hours, before landing at a friend’s waterside home. Just as he was about to start cooking, the drizzle turned into a steady pour. We all sheltered undercover, watching the whirling summertime sky, waiting it out. Once it finally abated and we could stoke the fires again, we were relieved to find the bugs had gone and a cooling breeze shooed the clouds away just as the sun was going down.
Summertime thundershowers have a way of making you wait for it, for that little bit of relief that comes right after. We eventually got to enjoy London’s catch—whole black bass, portions of grilled grouper—and it tasted that much sweeter after the wait. Get the full story about London and his obsession with fresh fish (plus plenty of recipes).
Speaking of recipes, it’s time to shake up the sides for your next barbecue feast. We reached out to a clutch of up-and-coming pitmasters around the South to see what they’re plating alongside ribs and pulled pork these days—and the results go far beyond your basic mac and cheese. Think smoked gouda grits with roasted peppers and onions, “cool ranch” tater tots, and smoked brisket dirty rice. They might besides—or they might just steal the show. We’ve also got a great barbecue pickled cabbage, a new take on boiled peanuts, and all the spices, rubs, and sauces you need to up your grilling game.
Also, stealing the spotlight this summertime? Low-ABV cocktails—specifically those crafted by the team behind Apothecary in Dallas. As managing editor Emily Havener notes, these stunning sippers might take some prep time and planning but will ultimately be the showstopper of your next gathering. Whether you’re waiting out the storm or toasting to a heatwave, here’s hoping this issue provides plenty of ways to make your summer more delicious.
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- by Erin Byers Murray