Let's just call this one summer. To me, nothing says summer like fresh peaches and blueberries. Probably because we grow our own blueberries and the world's very best, juiciest, sweetest, and most delicious peaches come from Chilton County, Alabama, just minutes away. Growing up, peaches were a huge part of summer because I'd help my mom pick, peel, and slice tons of peaches to put up. I can remember picking them from the tree in the backyard; they would be warm from the sun and the fuzz would make your skin itch... so I'd wash them under the freezing cold water from the hosepipe (Alabama-speak for water hose) before we ate them.

Here's a super fast recipe for pie crust you can use for a single or double crust pie. I just prefer the rustic simplicity of this method to using a pie pan. You can whatever fruit you like but this time of year, I'm making peach. Add fresh blackberries or blueberries to this if you like; just toss them in with the peaches or sprinkle some on top if they are really ripe and sweet.


Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour chill time for the dough

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes



1 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons to roll out the dough

2 tablespoons granulated or superfine sugar plus ½ tablespoon to sprinkle on crust

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 pound (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter, diced

3-4 tablespoons ice water, maybe a slight bit more depending on how dough comes together


11/2 pounds fresh peaches (6 large peaches; not too ripe work best)

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup flour

2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar (I like mine less sweet; add more if you like or need to based on how sweet your fruit is)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into small pieces

Egg Wash (optional)

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon cold water

Glaze (optional)

½ cup Orange Marmalade, Apricot Preserves, or Apple Jelly


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Stretch a 12 x 12 piece of plastic wrap out on the counter and dust with a little of the flour, about 1 tablespoon.

For the pastry, place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times to combine the dry ingredients. Add the butter, a little at a time, pulsing between additions until the butter is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water all at once through the feed tube-stop the machine just before the dough becomes a solid mass. Turn the dough onto the well-floured plastic wrap. Handle as little as possible. Fold over the plastic and form into a round. Don’t over handle or over mix because your dough will be tough. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. When you are ready to make the pie, flour a rolling pin and put a little flour around the plastic and on both sides of the dough; roll the pastry into an 11-inch circle on the plastic wrap. Wrap it over the rolling pin and transfer it to a baking sheet. Remove the plastic wrap.

For the filling, peel, and slice the peaches, working around the pit. I will sometimes drop the peaches in boiling water for 10 seconds and then simply use a paper towel to drain and then slide the skin off the peach. You can use an ice bath if you want to stop the cooking process but since I'm going to cook them anyway, I don't bother.

I like the look of slices- I usually slice a medium peach into 10 slices. Put the peach slices into a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Next, add the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Add the cold butter. Mix all of the ingredients together until the peaches are well coated. Turn the peaches out onto the crust, leaving a 2-inch border all the way around.  Gently fold the border over the peaches to enclose the dough, pleating it to make a circle. Finish with the egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar before baking.

Bake the pie for 20-22 minutes, until the crust is browned and the peaches are tender. (Note: If you are not using the glaze, bake for another 4-5 minutes or until golden brown)

For the glaze: Microwave the preserves in a heatproof container for 10 seconds. Remove the pie from the oven. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the crust and the filling with the melted preserves. Return to the oven for 4-5 minutes or until the pie is golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

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I’ve been grilling since I was a kid… duh, I’m from the South. We all think our sauce is the best and we all think even if we can’t beat those television chefs in the kitchen, we would smoke them on the grill. J We want our bark just right, the perfect degree of doneness, and those highly prized grill marks. As much as I know about grilling, I recently got some higher education. I got the chance to attend The Q, a gigantic beachside grilling event at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival where 40 teams from across the country competed for annual BBQ bragging rights. This is one of the biggest and certainly one of the most fun barbecue events of the year. While there, I got a chance to pick up some tips from meat masters Chris Santos, Michael Symon, and one of the most celebrated BBQ chefs in the country, Chris Lilly, just in time for opening day of grilling season.

Chef Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ in Decatur, Alabama has won every major BBQ championship there is. Chef Lilly won Grand Champion three times and is a seven time category champion at Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cookoff, Reserve Grand Champion at the legendary Jack Daniel’s World Championship BBQ Invitational, Grand Champion at the American Royal Invitational Barbecue Championship and many prestigious barbeque titles. I watched Chris create his magic during the Bubble Q event going as far as to meet him out at the pit at 4:00 AM to help him prep. I quizzed him on his technique, which he’s shared in his new book, Fire & Smoke: A Pitmaster’s Secrets. (Clarkson Potter)  Between the two of us, we’ve got you covered for all of your backyard barbeques and parties this summer.

Here are our top tips for firing up the grill for the first barbecue of the season:

CLEAN. For your first cook-out of the season, clean your grill really well. According to Chris, it is essential to also use a wire brush to clean and then oil the grill grates no matter what kind of grill you’re using. Chris also recommends starting the grill several days before you plan to cook to make sure it is working properly.

PREP. Make sauces, rubs, condiments, or side dishes in the days leading up to the party. The more you have prepped in advance, the more you can relax and enjoy the fun.

ZONE OUT. Chris says to set up two zones for cooking, no matter what grilling method you are using: gas, wood, or charcoal. Create one zone for direct cooking and one for indirect cooking, says our pro. Use the direct zone to sear and seal in the juices and then move it to the indirect heat to finish cooking.

PUT THE TOP DOWN. Chris says when you close the lid on your grill, you are also baking the food so you are able to grill faster without burning. For thin cuts of meat, you won’t need to close the grill lid, according to Chris but for a thick filet, he recommends this technique: Sear the meat over direct heat for about four minutes per side. Move it to indirect heat and close the lid. Use a meat thermometer to check for the perfect degree of doneness.

TAKE THE TEMP. Chris recommends always using a meat thermometer. His favorite is a digital instant-read thermometer like Therma-Pen. Get a good thermometer and go by the recommended internal temperature for the cut you are grilling. This is a foolproof way to achieve the most consistent results. Remember that the internal temperature of your food will increase even after you remove it from the grill.

TOOLS. Other grilling essentials include a pair of extra-long tongs, a fire extinguisher and a spray bottle of water. A cutting board is essential. Transfer grilled meat to a clean one to rest before carving or slicing. Be careful not to cross-contaminate and clean your cutting board thoroughly if you used it to prep raw meat.

WOOD YOU? Chris uses a lot of wood when he’s at the restaurant or in a competition but when he’s grilling at home, he uses a combination of Kingsford charcoal and hickory chips. Make sure to soak the chips before you use them so they don’t burn up immediately. 

BE CREATIVE. “Don’t think you can just grill steaks; grill anything you would cook in your indoor kitchen. My new book has recipes for everything from okra to dessert. I even have a chapter dedicated to cocktails. Grilled fruit makes incredible cocktails like sangria, margaritas, mojitos, and wait until you try grilled lemonade or grilled apple cider” says the BBQ Guru.

ASK FOR HELP. Chris always asks his family and friends to help him with grilling duties on party day; that way they feel more involved.

Get Chris' Grilled Peach Sangria recipe from Fire and Smoke...