Hellen's Helluva BBQ

Scott Small, Vice President, Creative Director

While my mother wasn't famous for BBQing, she did ignite my love of cooking (rainy day...bored 11-year-old boy...earn a Cub Scout merit badge...patient mom...chili for family dinner). She gave me the confidence to not only cook, but also to experiment and develop my own recipes. I dedicate this recipe to the memory of a wonderful cook and mom — Hellen Stella McAllister Small.


Some people BBQ with sauce and others with dry rubs. They’re both good methods, so I thought, “Why not do both and make two goods a great?” The following recipe makes enough rub and sauce for 10 lbs of meat. I like to do 5 lbs of chicken breast and 5 lbs of shoulder-cut country-style pork ribs.


  • ⅓ cup paprika
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp lemon pepper
  • ⅛—½ tsp cayenne pepper


  • 2 15-oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • ¼ cup paprika
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup apricot jam
  • ⅓ cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1 tsp dried orange zest
  • ⅛—½ tsp cayenne pepper


  1. The Rub: Combine rub ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well. Sprinkle over meat and lightly rub it in. Flip the meat and repeat.
  2. The Slow and Low Bake: Place the meat in 2 foil-lined or foil 9 x 12-inch baking pans, one for the chicken breasts and one for the pork ribs. Cover each with foil and crimp edges tightly to prevent any steam from escaping. Bake at 300°F for 2½ hours. While the meat is baking, make the sauce.
  3. The Sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring sauce up to simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, while meat is baking, stirring occasionally. Sauce will reduce by about one-third and thicken. If sauce isn’t thickening enough, increase heat to a high simmer to evaporate more liquid. If sauce is thickening too much, add ½ cup of beer.
  4. The Finish: Remove baking pans from oven at end of 2½ hours. Carefully remove foil covers and drain any excess liquid. Generously baste top and sides of each rib and breast with sauce. Return baking pans to oven and bake, uncovered, an additional 30 minutes or until the BBQ sauce begins to bubble and brown.