Barbecue & Bourbon? yes! Hello, Rodney Scott!

On this edition of The Fred Minnick Show, barbecue master Rodney Scott, who won a James Beard Award and put barbecue on the level of fine dining, joins in. Rodney and Fred talk about his new book, “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ,” chicken thighs, cooking with bourbon, shopping for meat, and of course, pairing meat with bourbon.

Available on most podcast apps, including Apple, GoogleSpotifyStitcher and Pandora.

Whiskeys tasted:

  • Michter’s 10 Year (7:43)
  • Woodinville Finished in Port Casks (14:10)
  • Blood Oath Finished in Cognac Casks (29:18)
  • 291 Colorado Whiskey (49:29)


Fred and Rodney talk about a wide variety of things, such as:

  • Fred starts right off with the hard-hitting questions, asking Rodney if he drinks bourbon while is in the barbecue pit. Rodney confirms that he does.
  • The first pour, the Michter’s, was Fred’s first bourbon in four days. “When you drink for a living, sometimes you have to schedule some off time,” he notes.
  • The Michter’s inspires Rodney to pair it with pulled pork or maybe dark meat chicken, like a thigh, then he explains the optimal way to smoke chicken thighs. Fred admits he’s already getting hungry.
  • Fred asks Rodney for the “secret sauce” to making great barbecue and doesn’t get much out of Rodney. Hey, why give away trade secrets?
  • They talk about using bourbon as a marinade and how to utilize it in grilling.
  • Mustard slaw or mayonnaise slaw? Rodney was raised on the latter: “I am an adult today because of mayonnaise slaw.” Fred leans mustard-style.
  • Fred talks about his days raising pigs.
  • They ponder what’s special about barbecue and why it brings people together. Rodney attributes it to natural human curiosity.
  • They talk about what Rodney’s accomplishments as a barbecue chef have affected the world of barbecue overall.
  • They agree the Blood Oath would be a great pairing with barbecue – Rodney jokes that it might be best to enjoy that one when you’re not in charge of dinner because “it invites you back in.” Nevertheless, Rodney thinks smoked turkey and beans would be good pairings.
  • Fred circles back to Rodney’s “secrets,” and insists he’s holding out. “You gotta put on the right tunes. You gotta be in a good mood,” Rodney says.
  • Fred opines that restaurants will never go away because they are too important to our culture. Rodney agrees.
  • They talk about the recent “attack” on meat. Rodney says, “Say what you want about meat, I’m going to eat meat. I’m going to cook meat.”
  • Fred: “You want to be a vegan, eat a carrot.” But why vilify meat? And why try to copy it by turning plants into fake meat? Carnivores can relate.
  • Rodney suggests pairing steak with the 291 Colorado Whiskey. Something like a bone-in ribeye.
  • The barbecue chef talks about what he looks for when buying meat – pay attention, backyard barbecuers. (One hint: Always get the jumbo wings.)
  • Rodney compartmentalizes his bourbon flight, saying he would choose the Michter’s 10 Year first if a friend came over. But he would be selfish with the 291.


Rodney Scott on why barbecue brings people together: “One of the things that strikes our curiosity to draw us into barbecue so much is the fact that, one, you’re cooking with fire; two, we know that you’re cooking some type of protein. And the last thing that’s going to keep you there is how is your protein going to be different than what I had before? That curiosity is such a natural thing. It’s almost automatic.”

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