The Keller Magazine

Local BBQ experts share their grilling secrets

Brisket, chicken poppers, shrimp poppers and pork ribs prepared by Hard Eight Pit BBQ in Roanoke, Tx.
Brisket, chicken poppers, shrimp poppers and pork ribs prepared by Hard Eight Pit BBQ in Roanoke, Tx. Star-Telegram

Memorial Day marks the start of grilling season as backyard chefs eagerly dust off their smokers, grills and egg-shaped cookers for a day of flame-filled culinary showmanship.

But before igniting the inaugural fire, take note of these tasty, cookout-friendly recipes from local grilling gurus who stepped away from their smokers to share their favorite start-of-summer dishes.

Let the flames begin!

Matt Lafavers

Owner, Feedstore BBQ

Matt Lafavers says he usually does the cooking for his family, and that includes Memorial Day weekend grilling. “There’s nothing better than watching people enjoy something you created,” he says. Try his easy-to-prepare, sweet and spicy pork tenderloin with charred vegetable skewers for a colorful ensemble that will brighten any paper plate.

Dana Burlin

Owner, Pickles BBQ & Icehouse

The “Triple B” stands for bacon, blue cheese and barbecue sauce in this hefty burger, which is made with both beef and smoked brisket and requires two hands to hold. Dana Burlin, who’ll be running Pickles BBQ & Icehouse on Memorial Day, recommends preparing the patty to medium-rare and serving with her Jalapeño Smoked Creamed Corn — a dish that’s best made with smoked corn kernels fresh off the cob.

Chad Decker

Owner, Hard Eight BBQ

Skewer chicken or shrimp, or a combination of both, with jalapeño and onion slivers to make Hard Eight BBQ’s famed bacon-wrapped “poppers,” which are good for feeding a crowd or for pairing with a grilled steak to make dinner for two. Chad Decker also likes to fire up the deep fryer for his Shiner Bock-battered onion rings, another crowd-pleaser. “I get all kinds of requests from different family members about what they want for Memorial Day,” he says. “I usually just want a steak.”

Chipotle Crusted Pork Tenderloin

and Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Chipotle Crusted

Pork Tenderloin

Makes 4-6 servings

• 2 tablespoons chipotle

chili powder

• 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder

• 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 1 teaspoon black pepper

• 5 tablespoons brown sugar

• 2 pork tenderloins (1 1/2-pounds each)

• Olive oil, as needed

for coating grill

1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Combine chipotle powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper and brown sugar and generously rub both tenderloins with the mixture. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

3. Lightly oil grill grate with olive oil. Grill tenderloins approximately 20 minutes, turning every five minutes. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Grilled Vegetable Skewers

Makes 6 skewers

• 2 yellow squash, cut into large cubes

• 2 zucchinis, cut into large cubes

• 1 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

• 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

• 1/2 pound whole button mushrooms

• 1/2 pound cherry tomatoes

• 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch petals

• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• Kosher salt or smoked salt, to taste

• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• Olive oil, as needed for coating skewers and grill

1. Heat grill to medium-high heat.

2. Add all vegetables to 12-inch skewers, season with salt and pepper and then brush with olive oil.

3. Lightly oil grill grate with olive oil. Grill skewered vegetables until lightly charred, about 3-5 minutes per side.

— 134 S. Main St., Keller, 817-562-5955, and 530 S. White Chapel Blvd., Southlake, 817-488-1445;

Pickles Triple B Burger and Jalapeño Smoked Creamed Corn

Triple B Burger

Makes 4 servings

• 8 slices applewood smoked bacon

• 4 ounces smoked chopped brisket

• 1 pound ground beef

• 8 ounces barbecue sauce

• 8 ounces crumbled blue cheese (Burlin recommends Maytag brand)

• 4 cornmeal-dusted Kaiser rolls

1. Bake bacon in an oven-safe dish at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

2. Combine brisket with ground beef and form four patties. Grill to desired doneness.

3. Build burgers by topping patties with barbecue sauce, blue cheese and two strips of bacon and serve on toasted buns.

Pickles Jalapeño Smoked

Creamed Corn

Makes 4 servings

• 1 cup frozen corn (may substitute smoked corn on the cob, available at Pickles)

• 2 ounces butter

• 2 ounces flour

• 1 cup jarred pickled jalapeños

• Pinch of salt and pepper

• 2 cups milk

1. In a grill pan, smoke frozen corn in smoker at 250 degrees for 45 minutes.

2. Heat butter over medium-high heat. Add flour all at once, whisking vigorously. When mixture thins and starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and cut back on the whisking. Cook until you smell a toasty aroma then cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally.

3. Add smoked corn to roux and toss to combine. Add pickled jalapeños, salt and pepper. Slowly stir in milk until mixture is smooth. Simmer until thickened.

— 8247 Rufe Snow Drive, Watauga, 817-581-2009,

Grilled Ribeye Steak

Makes 1 steak

• 16-ounce ribeye steak (Decker recommends steak aged 30 days)

• Spice rub or Hard Eight BBQ rub, to taste

1. Heat grill 475 to 500 degrees.

2. Grill steak six to eight minutes on each side for medium rare.

Hard Eight “Poppers”

Makes 6-8 skewers

• 1 boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes or 1 pound shrimp, size 16-20, peeled, deveined and tail-on

• 1 large fresh jalapeño, deseeded and sliced into slivers

• 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into slivers

• 6-8 slices peppered or smoked bacon

1. Skewer chicken breast cubes or shrimp with jalapeño and onion slivers.

2. Wrap each skewer in bacon and grill until chicken or shrimp is cooked through.

Hand-Battered Onion Rings

Makes 2-3 servings

• 3 to 4 cups flour

• Seasoned salt or Hard Eight BBQ rub, to taste

• 1 bottle Shiner Bock beer

• 1 large white or yellow onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch rings

• Oil for deep frying

1. Season flour with salt or rub. Add beer and combine to create a thick batter that just rolls off a spoon.

2. Coat onion rings in batter and deep fry in oil at 350 degrees until golden brown.

— 205 S. Oak St., Roanoke, 817-837-8888,