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Episode 304: Killer Barbecue-Hold the Meat

Nashville Hot Cauliflower

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Nashville Hot Cauliflower

Recipe Notes

  • Advance Prep: 4 to 12 hours for marinating the cauliflower
  • Active Prep: 10 minutes, plus 4 to 12 hours for marinating
  • Grill Time: 1 to 1 ½ hours
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4
  • Method: Indirect Grilling
  • Equipment: Can be grilled over charcoal or gas.

Ingredients

You’ll also need:

  • Skewer for testing doneness; barbecue or pastry brush for applying the baste

For the buttermilk marinade:

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

For the baste:

  • 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (or more olive oil)

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup marinade (reserved from above)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

You’ll also need:

  • hardwood chunks or chips (if using the latter, soak in water to cover for 30 minutes, then drain)

Recipe Steps

1: Pull any green leaves off the cauliflower. Trim the stem so the cauliflower sits level. Prick the cauliflower all over with a fork, knife, or metal skewer. (This fosters the absorption of the marinade.) Place the cauliflower in a jumbo resealable plastic bag or deep bowl.

2: In a mixing bowl combine the buttermilk, cayenne, paprika, granulated garlic and onion, salt, pepper, and oil and whisk to mix. Pour this mixture into the bag over the cauliflower. Seal the bag and marinate the cauliflower for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator, turning it a few times so it marinates evenly.

3: Set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium-high (400 degrees). Brush or scrape the grill grate clean and oil it well.

4: Meanwhile, make the baste: Place the cayenne, sugar, paprika, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk to mix. Whisk in the vegetable oil and melted butter (or more olive oil). The baste should be thick, but pourable.

5: Drain the cauliflower, reserving about 1/2 cup of the baste. Place it on the grill grate over the drip pan away from the heat. Add wood chunks or chips to the coals and close the grill lid.

6: Indirect grill the cauliflower until browned and tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, brushing with the baste every 20 to 30 minutes.

7: Meanwhile, make the sauce: Combine the reserved baste with the sour cream and whisk until fairly smooth.

8: Transfer the cauliflower to a platter and spoon the remaining basting mixture over it. Cut into slices, wedges, or florets for serving with the sauce spooned over it or served on the side.

Recipe Tips

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Steven Raichlen’s Project Fire is a production of Maryland Public Television, Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2021 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein

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