Cooking with Lady Smokey: T is for Texas

With my husband Grant down in Austin playing at SXSW a few weeks ago and Dolan & Ali Marie down in Texas for some art shows, my mind has been in Texas, yet my body never left Tennessee. I can’t stop thinking about all those tacos and grilled meats! And to top it off, Grant and I went to see Texas band Asleep at The Wheel at the Franklin Theater last weekend. They have been around for 42 years and have nine Grammy wins. They very well may be the current kings (& queen) of Western Swing. What a show!

Asleep at the Wheel show at Franklin Theater

Spring is here in Nashville. Last week, however, it seemed like we were going to skip spring all together and move right into summer. It was quite warm. So we cleaned up the back yard, brought out the ping-pong paddles, and started to grill. With Texas on our minds, we were inspired to cook up some ribs. Grant is the master griller at our house. He only makes ribs once or twice a year but they seem to get a little more perfect each time. Oh, he’s good! Our favorite way he prepares them has a slight Hawaiian influence to them. Hmm… Texas goes to Hawaii? I am imagining some crazy new music genre here. Anyway, here’s how he does it…

Big Smokey's Pork Ribs

Big Smokey’s Pork Ribs

  • 1 rack Pork Loin Ribs


  • 2 cups Pineapple Juice
  • ½ cup Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp 5 Spice powder
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Tbsp White Pepper


  • 1 cup Ketchup
  • ¼ cup Tamari
  • ½ cup Pineapple Juice
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp Siratcha Sauce (more or less for desired heat)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp White Pepper

Remove membrane from rack of ribs. Combine the ingredients for the marinade. Soak ribs in marinade overnight. Preheat oven to 300. Place ribs in a roasting pan and in oven. Pour in enough marinade to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover dish tightly with foil or a top. Roast ribs for 1 ½ hours. While the ribs are roasting, thoroughly combine the ingredients for the sauce and heat on stove top. Prepare grill. Remove ribs from the oven and place on the grill. Basting with the sauce, turn occasionally and cook until desired doneness. Remove ribs from grill and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.

Big Smokey’s Ribs served with Slaw and Sesame Noodles

Big Smokey’s Ribs served with Slaw and Sesame Noodles

We also had a mixed grill the other day with onions, peppers, Springer Mountain chicken thighs from Georgia, and Painted Hills flank steak. I made some homemade corn tortillas with Bob’s Red Mill Corn Masa. I made a mix of chopped kale, cilantro, and romaine lettuce tossed with a little olive oil, 1-2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper. We combined it all to create a delicious taco feast with a dollop of creme fraiche or Greek yogurt on top. Leftovers were eaten the rest of the week in the form of salads with crumble Mexican cheese on top!


Taco Fixins

Mixed Grill Tacos

  • Veggies and Meats of your choice


  • 3 cups Lime Juice
  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 3 tsp Chili Powder
  • 6 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp ground Black Pepper

Soak meat in marinade for 3-8 hours. Do not over soak or the marinade over powers. Soak veggies in marinade for 1 hour. Grill to doneness over a mesquite charcoal grill. Remove meat and veggies from grill and chop. Make tacos!


SaladAnd, since T is also for Tennessee, I decided to close this post with my new and improved Biscuit recipe. Our friend Kristin called me up one day a few months ago and said, “You have to teach me how to make biscuits.” A friend of ours has a cafe and they decided sort of last minute to serve breakfast the next weekend and Kristin was in charge of biscuits. Kristin is a great cook but she doesn’t do much baking. So, she came over and we spent all night making several batches and combined 3 of my favorite recipes- one from Edna Lewis, one from Louis Osteen, and the one on the White Lily flour bag- and came up with our version, below. I’ve been making them this way ever since and have had great results.

Grand Slam Biscuits


  • 3 cups All Purpose Soft Wheat Flour (White Lily)
  • 2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • 10 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
  • 1 1/4 cups Buttermilk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix the salt and baking powder with the flour and then add the chilled butter in a medium mixing bowl. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips until the butter pieces are pea size. Work quickly so that the heat of your hands won’t melt the butter. Pour in all of the buttermilk and, using light pressure, fold the mixture a few times until it holds together. Do not overmix. In order to make light, fluffy biscuits, it is important to work the dough as little as possible. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and fold it quickly and gently 5 or 6 times until it begins to be almost all mixed. Sprinkle a little flour under the dough so that it won’t stick to the board and lightly dust the top of the dough so that it won’t stick to the rolling pin. Roll the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the dough into 2-inch rounds, place on an ungreased baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for about 14-15 minutes.

Until next time, happy eating!

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