Barbecuing with the Fox Brothers – Get Their Recipes
Twin brothers Justin and Jonathan Fox, owners of Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, are among the most talented pitmasters in Atlanta. Their tasty barbecue is so popular here that in addition to their restaurant on DeKalb Avenue, they’ve opened food venues inside both the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium and SunTrust Park. Each week, the siblings sell 5,000 pounds of brisket, 5,000 pounds of pulled pork, and 2,000 pounds of smoked wings. It’s safe to say that their business is thriving and that Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q is an Atlanta staple.
As an ode to their humble beginnings barbecuing in the backyard with friends, the brothers talk summertime grilling and share their favorite recipes with us.
It’s all about flames, family and friends. “There’s definitely something about being outdoors and getting to play with the flames,” Jonathan says. “Grilling fascinates us. It brings people together.”
If you’re new to the thrill of the grill, Jonathan cautions you to start small. “Don’t throw a huge bag of charcoal in the grill. Light a small pile of coals on one side—that’s the ‘hot zone.’ Sear your food there and get good char marks on it. Then move the food to the cooler zone and put the lid on. It acts like an oven to finish cooking without burning the food. Play with those cooking zones.”
He laughs when he looks back on his barbecue beginnings. “The first brisket I ever cooked turned out like a hockey puck. But I kept working at it. I tell people not to be afraid of the grill.” When asked about his favorite grilling gizmo, he sings the praises of the digital thermometer. “I’m a fan of using less gadgets and more eyeballs. The thermometer helps you keep an eye on things.”
Another important tip: Get a fire extinguisher. Jonathan recalls, “When I first started, I had a smoker going and I didn’t pay attention to the pine straw around it, which, of course, caught fire. Luckily, I had an extinguisher.”
The brothers also say you get what you pay for. “We love our Big Green Egg—it’s so versatile as a smoker or a grill. And you should use high-quality charcoal and starter sticks. Don’t use lighter fluid—it leaves a bad taste in the food. Try to avoid shortcuts. Take your time and enjoy every minute,” Justin says.
3 Grilling Go-To Recipes
According to Jonathan Fox, “Why complicate things? You have fire and you have meat or vegetables and simple seasoning—that’s all you need. I follow the K-I-S-S rule: Keep It Simple Stupid!”
JONATHAN’S SKIRT STEAK TACO MEAT WITH SUMMER GREEN ONIONS
“People ask me all the time for marinade recipes for tacos, but I use a simple skirt steak and just dust it with salt and pepper. I sear it off really hot, then move it to a cooler zone on the grill and finish it there. Next, drizzle some green onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Take the grill grate off and throw them directly on the hot coals to char until they’re soft. They get this really great smoky flavor. Squeeze lime juice over them and chop them to top the meat.”
Start to finish: 45 minutes to 1 hour
• 1 pound skirt steak
• 2 bunches of green onions (6-8 green onions per bunch)
• olive oil
• table salt and pepper
• 2 limes
• tortillas (flour or corn)
• aluminum foil
JUSTIN’S DIRTY BIRD UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
Start to finish: 45 to 50 minutes
FOR THE CAKES
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon table salt
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
FOR THE BERRIES
• 1/2 pint raspberries
• 1/2 pint blackberries
• zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• pinch of table salt
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 4 tablespoons brown sugar
• Divide the butter and brown sugar between four 6-ounce ramekins. Set aside.
• Mix the berries with the sugar, zest and juice. Add salt and vanilla and let marinate for a few minutes. Evenly divide the berries into the ramekins.
• In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk together wet and dry mixes. Pour batter over the berries in each ramekin to just under the rim.
• Move coals to one side of the grill and bring the temperature up to 350 F. Place ramekins on the grill’s cooler side and bake with the lid closed for 30 to 35 minutes until the internal temperature of cake is 190 F. Remove ramekins and let rest for a few minutes.
Flip ramekins over to remove cake. Serve with ice cream.
JONATHAN’S CHARRED CAULIFLOWER
“Slice an entire head of cauliflower into big one-inch slices. Drizzle them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Mince three cloves of garlic and smear over the slices. Then, grill each slice for 8 to 10 minutes per side. When they’re charred and soft, move them to the grill’s cool zone to finish. Serve with lemon juice squeezed over them.”
Start to finish: 45 minutes
• 1 head cauliflower
• olive oil
• 2 lemons
• table salt and pepper
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• crushed red peppers (optional)
• capers (optional)