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What's Up Magazine

Hot Off The Coals

Jul 15, 2018 12:00AM ● By Brian Saucedo

By James Houck    Photography by Tony Lewis, Jr.

The superlatives are never-ending for Hot Off the Coals southern style barbeque and its road house atmosphere. “The food is mouth-watering,” quipped one Yelper. “Probably the best pulled pork I’ve ever had,” said another, along with, “The most delicious brisket.” Even the cream of crab soup receives rave reviews. “I’ve never had such a tasty cream of crab soup.” 

That speaks volumes to the care and craft of fine barbeque and Shore classics that Founder/Owner Richard “Ric” Brice and his partner Sandra Jordan have developed in the 20 years since their Easton joint, Hot Off the Coals, opened. We spoke to both about what drives their passion for smoke-rich, melt in your mouth ’que and the Hot Off the Coals experience. 

When did your love for barbeque crystallize (was there a defining moment/experience/meal) and what led you to open Hot Off the Coals?

At the age of 16 when I cooked for my family regular dinners and special occasions. A natural affinity for the love and taste of good foods cultivated into cooking experiences over time with family, friends, and then catering as a side. The Hot Off the Coals vision came in 1998 upon the recommendation of a friend who attended our café and suggested doing barbeque catering full-time after tasting it at a private event.

Please describe the barbeque experience at Hot Off the Coals. What do you specialize in and what is the dining experience like for customers?

The barbeque experience at Hot Off the Coals is meant to be a palatable and enjoyable. We hope that your experience is delightful to the palate, balanced with irresistible flavor, and complimented with good customer service in a friendly environment.

Our signature is the “Slaughter House Brisket;” the rubbing recipe is named after Mr. Richard Slaughter, an old friend who passed away just this past year in 2017. 

The dining experience can be individualized or family oriented.
We wish to have a warm environment where you can relax, enjoy a good meal, and socialize in an atmosphere where laughter can be shared and you will return for many tasteful meals thereafter.

What are some of the most important factors to consider when making excellent barbeque (cuts of meat, type of wood, smoking process)?

The most important factors to great barbeque are consistency in the recipes, quality in the meats, low, slow cook preparation, the choice of hickory and apple wood, and a great sauce at the heart of it all. 

Do you cater events? 

Yes, we cater various events and many sizes. We offer barbeque as well as a customized catering menu to select from, or our chef can customize a menu of your choice depending on your tastes or theme. We handle retirements, graduations, weddings large and small, backyard parties, pig roasts, employee appreciation banquets, rehearsal dinners, and more!

Fall Off the Bone Shore Good Ribs

These are jumbo, baby-back rack ribs, which are seasoned with Ric’s Secret Dry Rub (sorry folks, trade secret). Cooking is low and slow, for four hours using the ribs natural fat infusion versus boiling the ribs, as some other places do. This modification gives Hot Off the Coals’ ribs the unique flavor. After the finished four-hour hickory smoking, the ribs are sauced and go straight to your plate piping hot…hot off the grill.

As the store sign reads: “You don’t need teeth to eat our meat.” They will fall off the bone.  

Basic Dry Rub

2 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. pepper

1 Tbsp.  coriander

1 Tbsp. paprika

1 Tbsp. finely
chopped/diced onions 

Sweeten to taste with sugar

For Preparation at Home

Editor’s note: There are also many nuances, techniques, and opinions about how best to smoke ribs. The following instructions are very basic, from the Editorial Director at What’s Up? Media, and are intended for cooking ribs in a traditional Weber-style charcoal grill.

Mix rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Place ribs flat on a preparation surface and sprinkle rub generously on each side. Use your fingers and hands to rub the rub into the meat. 

Prepare your charcoal grill for smoking using the indirect heat method (use a small to medium amount of coals—about five handfuls—placed on one side of the grill). When coals have ashed over (turned gray), place a couple of small chunks of hickory wood atop the coals, set the grill grate, and put the ribs on the side of the grill opposite the coals. Close grill lid with the vents placed above the meat-side of the grill.

At this point, you’re cooking the ribs with low and slow heat and smoke within the grill (ideal grill temperature is about 225F). Temperate will be hotter at the start, then even out. After about 40 minutes, remove the lid and check the status of the coals and hickory chunks. Plan to add about 1 handful of coals and one chunk of wood. Repeat this process over the next four to six hours (adding small amounts of coal/chunks every 40 minutes or so, as needed), until the ribs have reached an internal temperature of 190–203F. Remove from
grill and let ribs rest for 10 minutes before serving.