Known for cooking hogs “from the rooter to the tooter,” Rodney Scott shares his tricks of the trade.

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Rodney Scott Pit Room Charleston
Angie Mosier
| Credit: Angie Mosier

Rodney Scott approaches barbeque, business, and his personal life with determined optimism. It’s become his brand. He’s known for the slogan, "Every day is a good day.” Yet Scott, who grew up in small-town South Carolina, couldn’t envision a James Beard win outside of his loftiest dreams. The chef had set his sights on smaller goals: building his Charleston restaurant around first-rate food and a welcoming, almost familial atmosphere. But his revival of whole-hog barbeque did not go unnoticed. In 2018, he became the second of two pitmasters to take home the James Beard accolade and the first Black to win the Southeast award. Download it for free at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else you can listen to podcasts on July 1.

On this episode of Homemade, Scott tells host Martie Duncan about the middle school challenge that ignited his interest in barbeque, recreating his mom’s banana pudding, and the upside of manning the pit for 20 hours. Plus, he weighs in on mopping his meat, how his barbeque sauce differs from most South Carolina recipes, and more.

Rodney Scott Charleston
Credit: Angie Mosier

About Rodney Scott

Rodney Scott honed his skills as a pitmaster while working at his family’s barbeque restaurant in Hemingway, South Carolina, for 25 years. In 2017, he opened Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston with restauranteur Nick Pihakis and chef Paul Yeck. The following year, the James Beard Foundation recognized Scott for his contribution to Southern cuisine through whole-hog barbeque. He brought the method to Birmingham in 2019, where he plans to open another restaurant in the near future. His fourth restaurant is in the works in Atlanta.

Follow Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and check out the website.

Episode Transcript

MARTIE DUNCAN Welcome to Homemade from Allrecipes. I’m Martie Duncan. Each episode of this podcast celebrates not just the food but the people behind the food. And today my guest is someone you’d normally find in the pit room at one of his restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama, or Charleston, South Carolina.

MARTIE Chef Rodney Scott and his crew of pitmasters have brought back the nearly-extinct art of whole-hog barbeque. And in 2018, Chef Scott was the first pitmaster to win The James Beard Best Chef award. That is a big deal. And we’re so happy to have him on Homemade today, especially as barbeque season is really heating up.

RODNEY Thank y'all for having me. It's great to be here.

MARTIE Hey, listen, I'm a big fan of yours. You may not know it, but I am a giant fan of yours. You've opened a restaurant in my hometown of Birmingham, and I am there a lot. I love it. It's awesome.

RODNEY Good. We appreciate that. Thank you, thank you.

MARTIE You're known for your slogan, "Every day is a good day." Tell me about that.

RODNEY "Every day is a good day" came from some personal life challenges I went through two years back. Everything from divorce to learning how to run a business to dealing with the public on a wider variety of personalities and opinions and thoughts on how you should cook your hogs and where you should serve your food. And it kind of got to me because I'm somewhat sensitive. But all the same time I try to be positive. And my feelings were hurt and I was down and I said, you know what? Every day's a good day. I can make life what I want it to be, and I want to make sure that I spread positive energy as much as I can.

MARTIE I love that.

RODNEY So I say to myself, every day is a good day.

MARTIE If you wake up, it is a good day.

RODNEY Yeah. It's up to you to fill in the blanks. You know, you already woke up. So the day is here, and it's up to you to make you a good day.

MARTIE  That's right. If you wake up, you've got a new chance to make it a good day every day. I love that. And you even got that on a t-shirt. I'm gonna go get one.

RODNEY And it's on the t-shirts. It's on our store walls. It's in our messages. If you speak to me and you ask me how I'm doing, I may tell you, every day is a good day.

MARTIE Good. I might adopt that one myself.

RODNEY Take it. Spread it.

MARTIE  Yeah. I had a little run-in with the red oak this past weekend. Trust me. After that — I know you use a lot of red oak. I got a lot of it growing here on my farm, and I had a little run-in with a red oak that left me with 10 staples in my head. It wasn't exactly a good experience.

RODNEY Ooh.

MARTIE But when you wake up after a day like that, every day is a good day. If I'm living, it's good.

RODNEY Definitely. Definitely.

MARTIE I want to know, what is your favorite family recipe?

RODNEY  My favorite family recipe...

MARTIE Like when it comes to a holiday or something, what can you not wait for somebody to break out?

RODNEY Well, usually I can't wait for somebody to break out the different styles of mac and cheese that some of my family does.

MARTIE You gonna tell me the favorite? Or you can't do that?

RODNEY I don't remember. I don't understand your question in that.

MARTIE Yeah, probably not a good idea to say the favorite, is it?  My mama made yeast rolls, and I will tell you what, when I'd see that pan come out, I'm like, ooh, honey. Oh.

RODNEY Yeah, the yeast rolls. I would have to say, wow, usually the pork chops, the fried pork chops if it's an inside dinner. Yeah.

MARTIE  Oh, I love fried pork chop and I like them fried a little bit hard. I know that's a real country thing, but I love mine fried like that. My mother did that.

RODNEY  Yeah. I would have to say that fried pork chop would probably be one of the first go-tos in the family dinner. Yeah.

MARTIE Yeah. With a side of that great mac and cheese? Tell me about some of the different styles of mac and cheese that your family does when it was time for a potluck or whatever.

RODNEY My family's done to mac and cheese with the condensed milk. They've done the mac and cheese with the sharp cheddar. The two or three different cheeses like a mild cheddar or...

MARTIE  Yeah, I do mine with a couple. Anybody do it with barbeque or bacon in there? I do like that.

RODNEY  Once upon a time there was a barbeque mac and cheese that we did. And I thought that was just one of the craziest things I've ever tried.

MARTIE I would think it's good.

RODNEY Yeah, it was unique. I never heard of it. And we mix it up and we tried it and it was pretty good. Then I tried to do some lobster mac at home, myself.

MARTIE That's pretty fancy.

RODNEY  Yeah, I didn't do my best on that, but I ate it anyway.

MARTIE  I would too. My mama made her mac and cheese with spaghetti noodles because we would always have spaghetti one night a week. So she always used spaghetti noodles. And people always think that's so weird, but you love what you grow up eating.

RODNEY Oh yeah.

MARTIE All right. What is your prized possession? Like, mine is my mama's cast iron skillet. That's my prized possession. You'd have to fight me for it.

RODNEY  My prized possession — does it have to be something in the kitchen, you're asking?

MARTIE  No, be your truck or whatever.

RODNEY  There you go, baby. You just hit the nail on the head. My truck.

MARTIE All right. What do you drive? A big F-150?

RODNEY  No. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

MARTIE What is it?

RODNEY No, no, no. Too many letters in that name. I am a GMC man all day. Twenty-five hundred heavy duty.

MARTIE  Twenty-five hundred? Well, I guess you got to have a big truck to pull those big rigs.

RODNEY Gotta have a big truck.

MARTIE All right. So, here's my last question in this group and then we're gonna get to the food. What's your go-to entrance song, like if you're gonna be on Jimmy Fallon? What song are they going to play when you walk out?

RODNEY Giving you the best of me, amazing, outrageous. Anthony Hamilton, The Best of Me. That's my favorite jam. I mean, that's that song I would play all the time.

MARTIE  All right. I love it. That's a good one, too. All right, chef. We're gonna get down to the food now. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

You are known for the whole-hog barbeque. I mean, you really did bring it back from extinction. And just talking about it, I mean, I'm so hungry just thinking about it. That crispy skin, man. I will fight somebody for that crispy skin. I'm so tickled that you sell that in a bag here in Birmingham. I could just go and get it. It's so good.

Folks are lining up for this whole hog. Are you kind of surprised at the reception and how people have responded to it? And, quite frankly, the Beard nomination, was that all a big surprise to you or you knew that was coming?

RODNEY  Wow. I did not know it was coming, the James Beard nominations, the reactions to the whole hog. I had no idea. Coming from a small town, you didn’t hear a lot about the James Beard Awards.

MARTIE  Right.

RODNEY  I did imagine and dream walking across that stage. But never in my wildest did I ever think that it would really happen. And when people started to accept and appreciate the whole hog even more, I was just happy that they were eating. You know?

MARTIE  Right.

RODNEY Wow, we get a chance to watch these people eat. These folks are enjoying what we did. That was pretty much it. But when that nomination came and that walk across that stage — to this day for me it's still unbelievable.

MARTIE  Just listening to you describe what you do, watching people eat the food you cook, that says a lot about your food. It's all about the love. Your love for what you do in terms of the whole hog and your love for feeding other people.

RODNEY Oh, yeah.

MARTIE  I mean, your menu even says, "All about the love. We love our people. We love our customers, and we love this product that we're making for you." Tell me just a little bit about how you got started. 'Cause we're all barbeque cooks in our own mind. We all think we're pretty good on the grill. Right? How do you transform your first experience grilling into this James Beard Award, big, huge celebrity chef?  How did you start?

RODNEY  My start was one afternoon in Hemingway, South Carolina. It was during our winter break for school. And we had a basketball game that was a local rival game, Battery Park versus Hemingway. And during that time, I went to the Battery Park School. Battery Park School was an elementary school up until junior high. And Hemingway was a neighboring school that the ninth grade started for Battery Park. And it was always a rivalry between the two, and this basketball game was that night. And you always had to do chores, and my chore and challenge that day was to cook the hog.

MARTIE  Eleven years old and your job was to cook a whole pig?

RODNEY Yeah. I mean, work is the work in the South.

MARTIE That's right. But I mean, at 11, that's a big responsibility for an 11 year old. I don't know too many 11 year olds I’d let plug in the mixer, much less cook a whole hog. For people who don't know what whole-hog barbeque is, Rodney, tell us what that means.

RODNEY Whole-hog barbeque means you're cooking everything. You might have heard the saying "from the rooter to the tooter." You’re cooking the head, the shoulders, the ham, the loin. You're doing all of that, at once.

MARTIE  The snout to the tail.

RODNEY Yeah. You're gonna do it all. You know? And that's what whole-hog barbeque is. And getting this hog loaded and started. And then the challenge thrown at me at 11 year -old to say, keep it fired. Keep checking under it, and don't burn it, was what I was told. Keep wood in the barrel.

And what I didn't know was, there was another guy there secretly watching me all day, making sure that I didn't screw anything up. I remember once he said, "You better fire your hog." And I knew every few minutes to keep it fired and keep listening for the drip.

MARTIE  Fire it means, you take the wood burns down to coals, then you take the coals and you shovel it under the pig, basically. Were you grilling it on a grill or you were in a smoker?

RODNEY  It was a grill and you would take the shovel and spread the coals under the hams and the shoulders. And those are the only directions that I was given. And don't burn it. And you don't want to put it under the belly because that meat is not as thick as the hams and the shoulders. So, if you're ever cooking a whole hog, try to light the fire under the belly. Just keep it on the hams and the shoulders. And it'll just cook right there. Low and slow.

MARTIE We'll have more with Chef Rodney Scott right after the break. Welcome back to Homemade. I'm talking with Chef Rodney Scott.

What's the longest you've ever had to man a pit or grill? Was it like, 20 hours or something?

RODNEY Twenty hours was the longest I ever manned the grill.

MARTIE  I guessed that! I win a prize.

RODNEY  Winner winner, whole-hog dinner.

MARTIE  OK, I'll take you up on that.

RODNEY  I've got you covered. Yeah, we did a whole hog for about 20 hours a while back. That was a challenge.

MARTIE These all started from community, like when there would be an event, like your basketball, there'd be a whole hog. And everybody gathers around. Everybody brings side dishes. It's a real community thing.

RODNEY Yes.

MARTIE Is that something you've tried to keep in mind as you're building your restaurants, where it feels like community?

RODNEY  Definitely, and when we are building these restaurants, we want to make everything feel inviting. We want it to feel like community, feel like family, that backyard gathering, that church picnic.

We want to kind of spread that love, which leads me back to our message when we say, "Everybody has a seat at our table." Because we want it to feel good. We want it to feel like family. We want it to feel like one giant party where everybody has been invited to and they can just come in and share what we've done and just have some of the best time with some of the best music.

MARTIE Well, I feel like that you're bringing some family into the menu because you've got Ella's Banana pudding. Who's Ella?

RODNEY That's my mama.

MARTIE Tell us a little bit about Ella's banana pudding and why it's so good that you put it on your menu.

RODNEY  Let me tell you how special that pudding is. That banana pudding takes me back to when I was too short to see the kitchen counter, and my mom would give me broken Nilla Wafers that were left in the bottom of a box while she was making the banana pudding. So, I knew if she was in there whipping up banana pudding, I would run right in there to be able to get me some crumbs of cookies. And growing up, just about every other Sunday or so, we had banana pudding on the table. It was just good.

MARTIE Yeah. My mama made one, too. Now, tell me this. Did your mama use whipped cream on the top or is it meringue?

RODNEY  She used whipped cream.

MARTIE  And that's how you serve it at the restaurant?

RODNEY Yes.

MARTIE Now she gave you her special banana pudding recipe? Or you had to pry it out of her. Or how did that happen?

RODNEY That was not given. We all sat down and we started talking about food and putting the menu together and the banana pudding came up, and we just kept going at it and going at it until it that flavor memory kicked in. And I was like, "Wow, yes. Right there. That's my mama." So we kind of reinvented it, my mama's banana pudding just by working it out.

MARTIE  You know, that's what a lot of us have to do at home if we have a recipe that we didn't get down from our mamas. We have to keep at it and at it until we can kind of figure it out.

I had to do that with my mama's pot roast. I never got her recipe and I made it so often I thought I could just do it. And then after she passed away, I made it for my dad and we both were like, "That's not the same." It took me 10 years to figure out what I was doing wrong. But I finally got it. It was a bay leaf. All it was was a bay leaf. I was just missing a bay leaf. That was all I was missing.

Well, I am really excited to get down there and try that banana pudding. It sounds amazing. And if you didn't grow up in the South, you don't know how important banana pudding is to us. But there was hardly anything that you would go to that you didn't have banana putting on the table. Right? Whether it's, like, church or picnics or backyard barbeques or whatever. Somebody's bringing banana pudding, and it's usually one person who is known for it.

So, I'm excited to try Ella's banana pudding. I might have to drive into town here in a minute to get some.

RODNEY  You should.

MARTIE  All right, well tell us a little bit about your signature sauce, because your signature barbeque sauce is a little bit different than what most South Carolina sauces are.

RODNEY  It is a vinegar-based sauce made out of white vinegar. We have some cayenne pepper in it, some black pepper. We got a little bit of lemon juice in there, and we got a couple of other little things in there. You've got to know me very well for me to tell you that. But it's a vinegar-based sauce. And a lot of South Carolina is known for some mustard and even some tomato, I've heard, exists in the upstate, is a lot of tomato-based sauces.

MARTIE I like a vinegar-based sauce. That's what I grew up with. That's my favorite. I have some questions for you from friends and family and fans who have followed you for a while. So I'm going to read you some of these questions, too. What is the strangest food you've ever barbeque?

RODNEY Bear meat is the strangest food I've ever barbequed. A hunk of bear.

MARTIE Now tell me how that came to be.

RODNEY  A guy that was from Hemingway was living in North Carolina and had friends in the mountains, apparently, that gave him some bear meat. And he had it and brought it down and said, "I want to barbeque it." And we were in charge of barbecuing this hunk of bear meat. And I think I was about 14, 15 at the time. We would get in trouble for touching food that didn't belong to us. But we took a challenge at this one. And we took a corner off, and from what I remember, it was pretty good.

MARTIE  I've never tried it. I'm not sure I would. It means that I would've had to tangle with a bear somewhere, and I'm not going to do that, quite frankly.

All right, so we already talked about my longest time you've ever spent manning the pit at 20 hours. So, tell me what that was for again. Were you in a competition? Or how in the world did you have the wherewithal to do that? You must have just been, like, on a mission.

RODNEY  When you're on a mission of barbecuing, you do what you gotta do to get it done. If it's go to sleep, get some help, or just stay with it. It was several occasions. We did a couple of hogs in competitions and we did a cow twice.

MARTIE  A whole cow?

RODNEY A whole cow. My Fatback Collective team, we did a whole cow. I was one of the guys that sat there with it all night.

MARTIE Over a couple of drinks and some stories I bet.

RODNEY Ooh man, the stories. Oh-em-gee, the stories.

MARTIE All right, well I need to get an invitation to that one of these days. I'll mix the drinks, and y'all can come with the stories and the cow. How about that?

RODNEY The stories will definitely outweigh the drinks. Trust me.

MARTIE All right, what was your biggest barbeque disaster?

RODNEY Oh, man. Pit fire.

MARTIE Oh, no.

RODNEY  I want to say, might have been '89, '90, I think. We had our first pit fire and that one shook me for a while.

MARTIE What happened?

RODNEY There was a hog that caught fire. And it caught the wall of the pit and the whole building just caught fire.

MARTIE Oh, my gosh.

RODNEY And then it burned.

MARTIE Does that happen very often, where the hog would catch fire?

RODNEY Sometimes hogs catch fire from the grease dripping. The way that we cook a whole hog, directly over hot coals, you have to be a little extra cautious to make sure you don't get flare ups.

MARTIE I understand.

RODNEY And wherever grease has hardened — old grease, whatever has built up — all of that can ignite, as well. So, if you have a hog — say you got a double pit and the hog is on one side and the other side is empty — if the other side was ablaze up in, the whole thing could still burn.

MARTIE Oh, my goodness. So that would have been your biggest disaster, I imagine.

All right, you're known for whole hog. What are some cuts that amateurs like all of us should try? What would you recommend?

RODNEY I would say probably a shoulder or a butt.

MARTIE Is that the same cut? A butt and a shoulder, same thing?

RODNEY Not quite. You know, nothing too big. All depends on how many people you have over and how much confidence you have in yourself. Probably, the butt.

MARTIE  OK. And are you a rub, a brine, a mop, sauce? Tell us a little bit about the technique we should employ when we're tackling either like a butt or shoulder.

RODNEY  When you're tackling a little butt or shoulder, I don't recommend a rub in the beginning. Because if sugar's in it, it tends to burn a little bit. You get a little char.

MARTIE  Too early, too early.

RODNEY It chars a little too quick. Once you get it flipped over, if you want, you can sauce it. If you want to put a rub on it before you get started, make sure it doesn't have sugar in it.

MARTIE  Gotcha.

RODNEY  Or too much salt.

MARTIE  Do y'all mop?

RODNEY  We mop. Yes.

MARTIE  My daddy used to. I'm a big fan of the mop. When I was a kid, Rodney, my daddy is a structural steel engineer and he built a three-tier barbeque tower in our backyard and it was my princess castle. I would get up on top of it and rule the world, right?

But a couple times a year, the whole neighborhood men would show up in the backyard and they fill that thing up with butts. And three tiers, they'd rotate them. They’d stay up through the night cooking and drinking beer, and I'd sit in my window and listen.

I'd be so intrigued with what was going on around in that pit. It's a pretty magical time when you're a kid and to watch all the men in the family and also all the men of the neighborhood come together and cook, 'cause back then we'd never see any man cook. Ever. Never. No men cooked at all. Just the women cooked. So, I always really love watching them be so serious about getting those butts on there and getting a mop the right way.

For those of you who don't know, a mop is usually vinegar, maybe some acid like a lemon or something. Tell us a little bit about what you used for a mop.

RODNEY  Well, we use a mop, we got the white vinegar, which is usually the Rod Sauce. The white vinegar sauce with the cayenne and the black pepper, lemon juice, just like I said. And once the hog is roasted fresh for twelve hours, once we flip it over, that's when we would put on our peppers, hog seasoning. Then we would mop it down. We would take the mop, dip it in the sauce, and just kind of just mop it all the way through the whole hogs. Just make sure the flavor goes through down to the skin.

MARTIE About what temperature are we trying to get to? 'Cause I know it's different when we're barbecuing whole shoulder or butt. I know the temperature is different than what we would do, like, if we're cooking pork in our oven.

RODNEY I don't like to come under one ninety. I'd say 200, 210.

MARTIE  Like when you cook a tenderloin or something in the oven, then you're trying to get about 160. The USDA says 160, 165. And a lot of people are skeptical about taking their pork under that. But I know for barbeque most of the time it's in the 190, 200 range.

RODNEY  Yeah, 200 plus sometimes, you know?

MARTIE  Do y'all use meat thermometers or y'all are so adept at it now y'all just got it by sight and touch?

RODNEY  The pitmasters at the restaurant definitely use thermometers and gauges to make sure that they're good. I use these 10 thermometers attached to my wrists because I've been doing it so long.

MARTIE You can tell by touch.

RODNEY Basically by touch, I can tell when it's done or needs to be done.

MARTIE  What is your favorite thing to grill like, if I'm, let's say, I'm going to bring something and we're gonna cook it. What do you want to cook?

RODNEY  My favorite thing to throw on the grill at home would probably be a burger or a hot dog.

MARTIE Yeah, you got burger on your menu, and I've been so tempted to have it. But the barqecue's so good. So, if you're making a burger, are you gonna put anything in it? You going straight beef?

RODNEY Oh, we gonna take that burger, that ground chuck.

MARTIE  So we're going to like 90-10? Are we going to 80-20?

RODNEY I like 80-20, personally. You take your ground chuck — if you're doing it outside on an open flame, you wanna just smash it a little bit. Put it down. Shake a little bit of rib rub all over the top of it while it's cooking on the grill.

MARTIE  Mmkay.

RODNEY And that rib rub's just gonna go right through it. Oh, my goodness. It's so good.

MARTIE Tell me a little bit about what's in that. You don't have to give away big secrets, but just give me an idea of what we might find in that.

RODNEY In Rodney's Rib Rub you're gonna find some paprika and you're gonna find some kosher salt.

MARTIE You gonna have some cayenne in there?

RODNEY Cayenne is definitely in there.

MARTIE  And then the top secret, after that?

RODNEY  Little bit of sugar, maybe. The rest of it, you'd have to get your own bottle and try to taste it and see.

MARTIE So, we're going to loosely form the patty. We're going to put it down on the grill. Now, at the restaurant, you griddle these. You don't grill them, you griddle them.

RODNEY We griddle them at the restaurant and we smash them.

MARTIE  Ooh, I love that. You get that bark on there. You get that little char on there that's just so good. You can't get that from a grill. To me, there's nothing better than a burger that gets that sear on each patty. Ooh, yum. What is the biggest mistake you see home cooks make on the grill?

RODNEY  Biggest mistake I see home cooks make on the grill is, they get it way too hot, where they can't control it, or they turn their backs on what they're cooking. And it tends to flare up. And you lose it.

MARTIE So then you get the outsides cooked before the inside can catch up.

RODNEY Exactly. Exactly.

MARTIE Yeah. I think most of us are guilty of that. You're trying to manage two or three things. You've got folks coming over. And the next thing you know, you look over and you see a big fire under whatever it is you're cooking on the grill. Yeah, that's a bad one.

So, we have talked a lot about meat. You're known for how hog. We've talked a lot about meat, but we got summer right around the corner, and produce is going to be plentiful. Are there any veggies you like to grill?

RODNEY Usually if I'm me, Rodney, grilling vegetables, probably asparagus. Corn, I'll do it.

MARTIE Yeah, I love grilled corn. It's one of my favorites.

RODNEY Again, I'm not a healthy eater, but I'll do one or two. I like the cauliflower on the grill. Love it.

MARTIE I do, too. It's great. For those of you who don't like cauliflower, try it on the grill. It's good. You slice it into steaks and grill it in big, thick steaks? Is that what you like to do?

RODNEY  Any way that you want to do it, as long as that smoked char flavor is in there, I like it. If you want to slice it in the steaks where you can steal one or two of them while you're cooking it? Yeah, sure. But those are pretty much about all of the vegetables that I usually grill. I grill jalapeno.

MARTIE  All right, so, if you're gonna throw corn on the grill, how do you do it?

RODNEY Me, I like to put it on the hot side of the grill. Again, if you're grilling, make sure you keep a little space in case something cooks a little too fast so you can move it to a cooler side. You don't want the entire grill super hot where you can't move anything around.

MARTIE  Now, do you grill it in the husk or you husk it first?

RODNEY  I'll take it out of the husk.

MARTIE I do mine in the husk.

RODNEY Really?

MARTIE I do. I lived in Chicago for a long time and where I would do a lot of my cooking, we had cornfields all around us, so we could just go and pick whatever we wanted. So, they'd show up with it, some of the guys at my barn where I had some horses would show up with corn. And I would some, not have time to take the husk and the skin and the silks and everything off. So I would just soak it all in a big cooler. Like a big igloo cooler, fill it full of water and soak it good.

And then to put it right on the hot grill with the silks, the husk, everything intact. And after I would get it good and heated and char up that husk really good, take it off and dump the water out of the cooler and then put the cooked corn in there and shut the lid and it kind of steams in there. So you get the smoky flavor, but you get it's tender like boiled corn. So, you get the best of both.

RODNEY Nice. Never thought about that.

MARTIE  Also, the nice thing about it was I could go ahead and cook the corn early and get it done, throw it in that cooler, and it'll stay hot in there for a long time.

RODNEY Oh yeah.

MARTIE  You know those big styrofoam coolers sometimes you get at the beach when you get shrimp or whatever? Those big ones?

RODNEY Yeah.

MARTIE  So that's what I would use. I put the put all that hot corn in there and then put the top on it, wrapped some newspaper around it, put the lid on, and then it would sit there for hours and it'd stay hot and then steam and then be smoky and a little bit of a bite to it but also more tender. That's my two cents.

We talked a little bit about mac and cheese earlier, which I think is probably one of the most American and important side dishes to any barbeque. But what other side dishes do you think we could enjoy with our summer barbeque?

RODNEY  Baked beans is another popular side. And then, you know, because the summer is so hot, the coleslaw, of course.

MARTIE Yeah.

RODNEY Potato salad. Yeah.

MARTIE You cut through a little bit of that richness of the meat and the sauce with that tangy coleslaw. And it feels nice and cold after everything has been so hot, hot, hot. I love coleslaw. It’s one of my favorites.

RODNEY And you know, a lot of people are very sensitive on whether or not it's on the sandwich or beside it. So, it's your choice, your call.

MARTIE Oh, yeah. I'm beside the sandwich person. Are you and on or beside?

RODNEY I am whichever one is on the plate. I'm that person. I may put it all on myself. It may already be on there. I don't care.

MARTIE Now, how do you like your coleslaw? Like I like mine super tangy. I mean, I like a little bit of buttermilk and super tangy. What about you?

RODNEY I like the tangy with a touch of spice.

MARTIE A little touch of spice. Like cayenne?

RODNEY Yeah, a little bit of Rod Sauce in that mixture. Yeah.

MARTIE  Well, listen, Chef Scott, you are a treasure. Thank you so much for spending time with us. That's so generous to share some of your tips and secrets with us.

RODNEY  Thank you. Pleasure's all mine. Thank you.

MARTIE Pitmaster Rodney Scott has a new cookbook coming out soon and he says he’s working on opening a restaurant in Atlanta. You can keep up with everything he’s up to by following him on Instagram @PitmasterRodneyScott and @RodneyScottsBBQ, and you can watch him in action on YouTube – just search Chef Rodney Scott.

Coming up on the next episode of Homemade, she is a fierce competitor. You've seen her on Iron Chef America and most recently on Guy Fieri's Tournament of Champions. And you know her as the judge in the middle seat on Chopped. But Chef Amanda Freitag got her start back in high school.

AMANDA FREITAG My Home EC teacher, Miss Joan Levine, was working in a restaurant on the weekends, which, of course, you know, when you're a kid and you're in school, you never picture your teachers doing anything but teach. And that's their life. But she had a whole life outside of that. And I was really interested in restaurant world and chefs and European chefs. And I was obviously her star student because nobody else in Home EC even paid attention. And she told me that there was a school, and I was fascinated by it.

MARTIE That school was the Culinary Institute of America. We’ll hear about that, her dad’s passion for baking, and a lot more on the next episode. So, don’t miss it. Subscribe to the podcast right now. And please, if you could rate this podcast and leave us a review, I’d really appreciate it.

And don’t forget, you can find thousands of recipes, meal ideas, and cooking how-tos from the world’s largest community of cooks at Allrecipes.com.

This podcast was recorded in Birmingham, edited in Atlanta, and can be found wherever you get your podcasts. You can find us online at Allrecipes.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Homemade is produced by Allrecipes with Executive Editor Jason Burnett. Thanks to our Pod People production team: Rachael King, Eliza Lambert, Tanya Ott, and Maya Kroth.

Thanks for listening. I’m Martie Duncan, and this is Homemade.