A new feature debuting from The Sentinel-Record will give viewers a tutorial on a new cooking recipe every Wednesday, beginning with barbecue ribs.
Sports writer Bryan Rice is the host of the weekly feature, taking viewers through the steps of recipes he has discovered himself over his 15 years of experience. He started learning more about cooking, especially barbecuing, as a single dad trying to learn how to cook meals for his son.
"I was a younger single parent," he said. "I was early 20s and had a kid, and I just kinda decided, like, I need to learn some of this stuff because (I'm) on my own. He can't eat mac and cheese every day, you know."
Grilling out in the yard led Rice to meet his neighbor at the time, Chris Reddin, who would also grill outside.
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"We didn't know each other, but he noticed my smoke, so we started talking at the fence, and then we got to be pretty good friends," Rice said. "And on the weekends, we'd have a couple beers and barbecue. He was still learning at that point, too, so we just kinda learned from each other, collaborated. We started competing against each other."
They bonded over grilling and shared recipes, competing to see whose food would be the best. Now, they compete together as a team called Red White and Smoke BBQ.
Later, Rice met his wife, Joy, and the two began learning more cooking tricks from each other, he said.
"She kinda showed me a little bit of the intricacies of inside of a kitchen, and I taught her how to bring her dishes in better with a lot of flavors," he said. "Like, this sweet stuff goes with pork and spicy stuff works on chicken, season the steak with just salt and pepper, maybe some garlic. You don't have to overdo it, you know."
Rice and Reddin's first time competing in the state championship competition, they came in third to last place out of 25 teams, Rice said.
"When we got there, we were like, 'Oh, this will be like a backyard competition. We got this.' Well then the trucks start rolling in, we realize these guys are people we've seen on TV competing. ... So, this is a nationwide competition.
"So, we go back next year, we score middle of the pack, which is nice, just right out of the top 10. ... We were 11 and 12 in the whole state. There's like 50 people there the second year, so we were very impressed. This coming October will be our third season going there."
In May, Rice also served as a judge for the world championship competition in Memphis, learning from professionals and taking classes, he said.
While Rice's main focus has always been barbecue, he also spends a lot of time in the kitchen, he said. While he plans to focus on dishes utilizing the grill during the summer and tailgate seasons, he plans to feature many other types of meals throughout the year.
While this week's feature covers the barbecue ribs, next week will cover the sides he suggests to go with the ribs, including asparagus and cherry tomatoes with a balsamic reduction, he said.
"Something anybody can do at home," he said of the sides. "I'll walk you right through it, and it's very complimentary sides."
With this new feature, Rice hopes to inspire viewers to learn something new, and "come out of their comfort zone," he said.
"Come out and see me," he added. "I'll teach anybody how to do it. That'd be cool, to have a master class or something one day."
Today's Cooking with The Sentinel-Record can be found on Page 8A.