Gail Simmons’s New Job: Pit Master

© Tina Rupp
By Justine Sterling Posted June 25, 2015

Proving that we here at Food & Wine are a multi-talented group, our own Special Projects Director Gail Simmons is adding pit master to her resumé.

Proving that we here at Food & Wine are a multi-talented group, our own Special Projects Director Gail Simmons is adding pit master to her resumé. This Sunday through Friday, July 3, Simmons will be the guest pit master at Brooklyn’s Hill Country Barbecue. Not only will she be helping out the Hill Country crew with their signature dishes, she’ll also be cooking up her own original recipes like Asian-style spare ribs, brisket fried rice and peach maple-bourbon skillet bread pudding. She even developed a charred grapefruit margarita for the occasion (get the recipe below). If you need more of an excuse to head down to Hill Country, know that 50% of the proceeds from Simmons’s specials will be donated to City Harvest, an organization that helps fight hunger in New York City.

Of course, not everyone can make the trip to Brooklyn. But that doesn’t mean you can’t donate to the cause online and make one of Simmons’s smoky margaritas at home.

Charred Grapefruit Margarita
Makes 2 drinks

Canola oil for grill
1 pink grapefruit, halved
2 ounces tequila or mezcal
1/2 cup sweet tea (Simmons uses Pure Leaf)
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon fine smoked salt
Ice

1. Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat and brush with canola oil. Add halved grapefruit, flesh side down, and grill until well charred, 2-3 minutes. Remove from grill and allow to cool.

2. Juice grapefruit, straining seeds and reserving one juiced wedge. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the charred grapefruit juice with the cilantro. Add sweet tea, tequila or mezcal and plenty of ice and shake until well chilled.

3. Rub the rim of two rocks glasses with the reserved grapefruit wedge. Spread smoked salt on a plate and swirl the rim of each glass through the salt to coat. Add ice to glasses.

4. Strain and divide the cocktail into glasses. Garnish each with a few cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

Related: Texas-Style Barbecue Recipes
Best BBQ Cities
Delicious Grilled Rib Recipes

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