Nothing can compare to Chris Lilly's barbecue, but the incredible flavors inspire these easy dishes.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015

"It all starts in the pit room," says Chris Lilly, chef and partner at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurants in Decatur, Alabama and Monroe, North Carolina. Lilly is a legend on the pro barbecue circuit, with multiple championship wins at the prestigious Memphis in May competition. His Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book outlines his signature style—slow cooking over low heat (the purist's way, which produces uniquely tender and smoky meat), followed by a quick sear. It's impossible to reproduce Lilly's barbecue without a pit and at least eight hours to devote to the project, but F&W's Grace Parisi proposes the much simpler and faster "cheater" recipes here, inspired by Lilly's flavors and requiring only a gas grill and a foil packet of wood chips.

Big Bob Gibson's Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

© Marcus Nilsson/Rick Talley

Chef Way: At Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, chef Chris Lilly butterflies a whole chicken, smokes it, then dunks the bird into a vat of tangy white barbecue sauce.

Easy Way: Home cooks can grill pieces of chicken until crispy and nicely charred, then serve them alongside Lilly's terrific white sauce.

Caribbean Jerk Pork Chops

© Marcus Nilsson

Chef Way: At Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Lilly uses a cut called picnic shoulder for his spiced jerk pork, cooking it over low heat for eight hours.

Easy Way: Rubbing a vibrant jerk paste on chops before a quick 20 minutes on the grill gives them an insanely good, peppery heat.

Spicy Apricot Wings

© Marcus Nilsson

Chef Way: The cooks at Big Bob's marinate chicken wings for about four hours in a spicy apricot sauce before tossing them on the grill.

Easy Way: An apricot-based sauce brushed on chicken wings before grilling gives them plenty of flavor; extra sauce is good for dipping.

Great Barbecue Recipes and Grilling Shortcuts:

The flatiron steak, a.k.a. the top blade steak, is a marbled cut of beef from the shoulder. Uniform in thickness and rectangular in shape (just like an old-fashioned iron), it's easy to butterfly for quick cooking on the grill. Here, the meat gets flavor from a bold, Southwestern-style marinade made with smoky chipotles and fresh orange juice. It's served with fresh avocado and corn relish.
| Credit: © Tina Rupp
Credit: © Tina Rupp