Southern Hospitality Does a Single Woman Good

By Fabiana Santana

Justin Timberlake Southern HospitalityWhat do Justin Timberlake and single women have in common? They both know how to bring sexy back, and make their way around a kitchen.

Justin Timberlake is more than just a pop star. The boy band sensation turned entrepreneur opened his first New York City restaurant Southern Hospitality with friends Etyan Sugarman and Trace Ayala in 2007, and the place has been a celebrity hangout ever since. He put Ray Lampe, or Dr. BBQ as he is more affectionately called, in charge of the menu, and good thing he did: Lampe has written four BBQ cookbooks and is working on a fifth, he writes the “Ask Dr. BBQ Column” for Fiery Foods & BBQ Magazine, and has been a dominating BBQ champion on the contest circuit for 25 years.

“Our menu at Southern Hospitality is a blur of barbecue. Southern fare and the pub grub you’d expect at your local Memphis neighborhood restaurant,” Lampe describes.

At the Upper East Side hot spot, Dr. BBQ serves up down south favorites including three different kinds of ribs, BBQ chicken, Southern fried catfish, pulled pork and a slew of creative appetizers like fried pickles and pulled chicken wontons that really set the menu apart from most BBQ joints. The place is always a buzz, three deep at the bar, fingers sticky with ‘cue sauce hoping to get a taste of Justin’s “901 Derful” Margarita – made with Justin’s new tequila named after the area code in Memphis – to wash down the food.

Not planning a trip to the big apple any time soon? Not a problem! As summer draws to an end, it’s time to consider the best send-off. If this were Memphis, and Timberlake were throwing the party, there would be a good old-fashioned, down-home southern style BBQ with all of his favorites. Why not do the same for your family and friends? Dr. BBQ has all the info you need to throw your own Southern Hospitality style hoe down

First thing to remember about southern BBQs: these last into the night, providing your guests with a party and a menu they will never forget.

Think logistics. It is ideal to serve up the heavier, heartier foods earlier in the day and turn their leftovers into appetizer and tapas style type foods for evening picking. That way, you are not preparing a totally different menu – just an homage to the day’s earlier festivities. An empty grill is usually the cue for people to start filing out, but your endless platters of snacks means the party will never end.

Of course you can serve up your burgers and dogs, but make sure to include the larger items like brisket, pork and chicken, since that’s where you’ll get most of the leftovers. Don’t forget to marinate so the meat will be even more delicious for the second serving.

Ray LampeLampe says, “A basic rule of thumb is the bigger the cut of meat the longer the marinade. So big chicken parts and pork tenderloins can marinate overnight while medium cuts like pork chops and steaks and boneless chicken breasts should start marinating in the morning of, and small things like shrimp, and veggies can marinate for just an hour before cooking.”

Choose a high flame for the quick cook things like steaks, burgers and chops and put those on the grill after the slow cooking, low flame items like chicken and roasts are done and being served. Remember, those larger meal items are going to be used for dinner, too.

Here is Dr. BBQ’s guide for cooking times of proteins:

  1. Boneless chicken breasts, 6-7 minutes per side over medium heat
  2. 1” thick steaks 5-6 minutes per side over high heat
  3. Pork tenderloin 8-10 minutes per side over medium heat
  4. Chicken wings 30 minutes over low flame turning often
  5. Lamb chops 4-5 minutes per side over high heat

So, you’ve served up your ribs, chicken, and pork, and offered up the midday snacks of burgers and dogs. Your guests are satisfied and putting on their party hats, courtesy of JT’s margarita mixture, and now it’s time to party! Take away the big items and replace everything with ‘cocktail’ size — remove tubs of ketchup, mayo, and bowls of buns. Replace larger dinner plates with smaller dessert plates and substitute regular napkins and forks for cocktail/appetizer sized. Set a large bowl of ice in the center of the table or on a separate, smaller one and chill whole bottles of spirits like tequila or fizzy prosecco and set glasses in front for a self serve bar area.

What to do with all those ribs? Pull the meet off the bones using a fork and pile high onto a plate. Set a nicely piled plate of mini buns and a few small bowls or mini tea cups filled with fun sauces nearby (BBQ sauce spiced with cinnamon or cayenne, honey mustard, chipotle spiked ketchup, etc.). Voila! A platter of chic sliders ready to go in an instant!

Create quesadillas with the whole chicken you meticulously marinated and slow cooked with Dr. BBQ’s help. Place slices of meat atop a few tortilla discs. Top with salsa, shredded or crumbled cheese and whatever veggies are left over from the midday buffet. Top with another quesadilla disc and throw the quickly made quesadilla on the grill. After a few minutes flip and remove cut into triangles and serve with spoonfuls of sour cream dusted with paprika.

The very adventurous can take the midnight buffet a step further and get exotic. Use the left over meat from your ribs, steaks or brisket and chop it up. Place in the center of a wonton wrapper and fold over to create a half, moon. Seal the wrapper shut with some egg wash (a beaten egg mixed with water) and then fold so that your two points touch. Fold the top point over and repeat until you have used up all your leftover meat. Cook the wontons in a mini fryer basket or pot of hot oil and deep fry until golden. These are perfect served alone but a sweet sauce like honey mustard will make them heavenly. Use your leftover cole slaw as a garnish on the serving plate.

Set out the platters or simply start passing them around for an impromptu cocktail party. Then, turn the music up and rock your body to the beat, JT-style.

Southern Hospitality’s “901 Derful” Margarita Recipe

8 sprigs fresh mint

7 whole raspberries

½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice

½ oz agave nectar

¼ oz freshly squeezed orange juice

2 oz 901 tequila

Directions: Muddle mint, raspberries (reserve one for garnish), and agave nectar in mixing glass. Add handful of ice, lime juice, tequila. Shake vigorously. Strain into martini glass and top with orange juice. Garnish with wedge of lime and drop remaining raspberry into glass.


More Food & Wine features from Escapes:
Girl Meets Grill
Modern Drama: Cocktails and Cheese are the New Trend
The Perfect Wine Glass: When Size (and Shape) Matters
In the Kitchen: Cooking with Iron Chef Cat Cora