BBQ recipe ideas

3 Grilling Challenges to Feed You During Quarantine

You may be stuck at home, but thankfully so is your grill. Try out these three recipes to challenge and improve your grilling skills while sheltering at home.

Your local supermarket may be out of flour and yeast, and your Instagram feed has more pictures of sourdough bread and baked goods than babies these days. With the weather decidedly turning to spring (sorry, Colorado), it’s time for some of us to reclaim our backyards, patios, and balconies by babying the grill instead of your sourdough starter.

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We spoke with grill master Chris Sussman, the BBQ Buddha, and are issuing a challenge for you to improve your grill game during this time at home. The following three recipes range in difficulty from a green to a black diamond run, with the decidedly less bodily risk involved than downhill skiing — which you should definitely not be doing right now. Now let’s get to grillin’.

If you want to give this a try or issue your own challenge to us and your fellow readers, tag them #GJGrillChallenge on Instagram. We’ll keep an eye out and share the most interesting ones with readers.

Beginner Challenge: Reverse Seared Tri-Tip

  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

Reverse Seared Tri-Tip 


Instructions: First, rub the roast with olive oil and your favorite BBQ rub. Let the roast sit for 30 minutes or until it gets to room temperature. During this time, preheat your grill to 300 degrees. Cook the tri-tip with indirect heat for 45 minutes or until the internal temp measures 130 degrees.

Now the magic happens. To finish, sear the tri-tip in a hot cast iron pan — 2 minutes per side.

Need more instructions? Check out BBQ Buddha’s recipe here.

Intermediate Challenge: Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

  • Prep time: 10 mins
  • Cook time: 5 hours 30 mins
  • Total time: 5 hours 40 mins


  • 4 racks of baby back ribs
  • BBQ rub of your choice
  • Yellow mustard
  • 1 cup of sweet BBQ sauce

Instructions: Wash the ribs and remove the silver skin on the bone side using a paper towel. Rub a small amount of yellow mustard on to the front and back of each rack of ribs. Then apply BBQ rub to both sides of the ribs.

Place the ribs back in the refrigerator while you preheat your grill. Get your grill up to 200 degrees, setting it up for indirect heat.

For Big Green Egg grills, add apple or cherry wood for the smoke and add the ribs using a rib rack to keep them vertical.

Allow the ribs to cook for 3 hours at 200 degrees, spraying the ribs with a 50/50 mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar every hour.

When you spray the ribs at the 3-hour mark, raise the temp to 250 degrees and allow them to cook for another 2 hours, spraying at each hour mark.

AT the 5-hour mark, test the ribs using the bend test. If they bend and a crack appears in the meat, you’re ready for the final prep.

Pull the ribs off and glaze with a sugary BBQ sauce.

Raise the temp of the BGE to 300 degrees and place the ribs back on for 20-30 minutes.

Pull the ribs, slice, and serve.

For more info, check out the BBQ Buddha’s recipe here.

Advanced Challenge: Boston Butt

Boston Butt

  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 10 hours
  • Total time: 10 hours 15 mins


  • 2 8lb Boston butts
  • ¼ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup coarse ground black pepper
  • ⅛ cup paprika
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • For the mop:
    • 1 cup apple juice
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • Several dashes of hot sauce
    • Several dashes of Worcestershire sauce

Instructions: First, note you’ll need a decent-size cooler, sufficient to hold the Boston butt, to finish this project. So be sure you have one handy.

Take your Boston butts out an hour before cooking them. For Komodo-style grills, fill your grill with lump charcoal, placing three to four wood chunks in the charcoal. Light your lump charcoal and set temp to 250 degrees. For pellet or gas grills, set temp to 250 and get it cranking.

While the grill is heating, cross-hatch the fat cap on the Boston butts. Apply mustard slather and rub it in. Once the grill is stable at 250 degrees and the smoke is clean, put in your pork.

Leave it untouched for 3 hours.

At the 3-hour mark, mix the mop ingredients together (apple juice, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce). Now spray/mop the sauce on the Boston butts, repeating this every hour for the next 5 hours.

At the 8-hour mark (after 5 hours of hourly spraying/mopping), take your Boston butts off and wrap in foil with a little mop applied to the butts.

Put them back on the grill, bump the temperature to 275 degrees, and let it cook another 2 hours.

When the meat is probe-tender and measures 204 degrees, take the Boston butts off the grill. Make a crack in the foil to let steam escape and to stop carryover cooking

After 20-30 minutes, wrap the foil tight, place the Boston butts in the cooler with a towel, and let them rest for an hour or two before pulling meat and serving.

Check out more tips in the in-depth recipe here.

Sean McCoy

Editorial Director Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.