Chef Michelle Bailey thought she’d seen all the ways to prepare okra, frying it being the clear winner. But that all changed when her now-fiancée surprised her with whole grilled okra during a spontaneous summertime dinner. Swooned by the simplicity, crunch and layered flavors, the dish became a menu staple at Smoky Park Supper Club in Asheville, North Carolina, served with a creamy Alabama white sauce and pickled banana peppers. Whole grilled okra converts many okra naysayers, and only needs around 20 dedicated minutes total to have a munchy side. Bailey recommends pairing the okra with quick-cooking proteins, like grilled chicken thighs with barbecue dry rub.
4-5 large banana peppers, seeds removed and sliced into thin rings (a combination of sweet and hot peppers works best)
3⁄4 cup julienned shallot or sweet onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
Zest and juice of 1 large lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon minced fresh dill
2 cups Duke’s mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 1⁄2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons Barbecue Dry Rub
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1 pound fresh okra, stems on
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1⁄2 cup fresh lime juice
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Charcoal; wood chips and wooden skewers (optional)
For the marinated banana peppers:
For the Alabama white sauce:
For the grilled okra:
BBQ Dry Rub
Make the banana peppers:
- In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss together; cover and marinate overnight in refrigerator.
Make the Alabama white sauce:
- In a bowl, whisk all ingredients until evenly incorporated. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Grill the okra:
- Preheat grill; if using wood chips, soak in warm water for 15 minutes. Once grill is hot, and just before cooking okra, add wood chips on top of coals to give okra an extra smoky flavor.
- While grill is preheating, in a bowl, add okra, oil, and lime juice and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- On hot grill, cook okra until it develops a nice char and is somewhat soft to the touch, about 2 minutes per side. (Optionally, you can use 2 wooden skewers to spear several pieces of okra to stabilize them and make them easier to handle while grilling.) Transfer to a plate, garnish with marinated peppers, and serve with Alabama white sauce.
Make the BBQ Dry Rub
- In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients.
Recipe ByMichelle Bailey of Smoky Park Supper Club in Asheville, North Carolina