BBQ, Ribs and a Speedy Start for Farmer’s Market Season…

When the weather warms up and spring rolls around, many of us make it a habit to hit the farmer’s markets on Saturday mornings. A feel-good (and feel-healthy) experience comes with filling up our bags with seasonal vegetables, all natural or organic meat, dairy products, flowers, plants and herbs – all grown and produced by local farmers!

The Davidson Farmer’s Market is one of those places around Charlotte where you can get a cozy old town feeling, make friends with the farmers, take your dog with you for shopping, and your kids would be happy to tag along and even carry your bags.

And now I am a part of this scenery, thanks to Dan Huntley. I met Dan for the first time at Erin’s restaurant during Molly O’Neill’s book signing in November. I had no idea that five months later I would be cooking along with this BBQ king in his 28-ft mobile kitchen. One thing led to another in the past couple of months, and now I will be working in this mobile kitchen for the next 15 Saturdays, blending up some smoothies (as long as my poor, old blender does not fail!), cooking up some kısır and serving  ham, sausage, egg biscuits,  BBQ sandwiches, ribs, coleslaw, and fruit popsickles. Also, later some of my fruit cobblers will be featured as we get more fruit on the produce stands.

Our official start was this past Saturday and hope that you understand not having a food picture here. Because I did not cook anything this weekend, except my bulgur salad, kısır, for the market. I had to get up around 4 am to fix that salad, so that it can be as fresh as possible. Also, I was nervous, this being my first time as a short-order cook, I could not sleep! After 1 pm yesterday, I was exhausted, and I had sold so much BBQ, ribs and biscuits that I could not move an arm.

What a great experience! I am learning from Dan’s wisdom. How never to underestimate the power of BBQ, how to price food, how to get ready for such a thing! It takes a whole lot more organization than I had ever thought! My other cooking mate, Henry is a great guy to hang out with in the kitchen, organized, quick and ready to discuss life matters between two ham-n-egg sandwich orders. And I get to mingle with the crowd, give some food samples, talk to people, tell them how the food is made.


So if you are in the area, stop by at the Davidson Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, between 8 am and 12 pm. Try some ribs, a BBQ sandwich, ham or sausage-n-egg biscuits (or ham-sausage-n-egg biscuit, nobody will stop you!). Talk to Dan about hogs, BBQ, smokers, rubs, and BBQ sauce. That guy knows his sauce! And do your weekly grocery shopping (at least the veggie and meat part).

I have not made this one before, but I ate a lot of it, so I am leaving you with Dan’s ribs recipe here as featured in Molly’s One Big Table cookbook.

See you on Saturday!

Dan the Pig Man’s Baby Back Ribs

  • 4 racks of baby back ribs, (up to 6 lbs)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tespoon Tabasco Sauce
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar

1. Dry the racks and bring them to room temperature

2. Combine all dry ingredients, mix them well.

3. Rub the racks with the dry spices, wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.

4. Combine the liquid ingredients, store in the fridge overnight.

5. Next day, bring the racks to the room temperature, shake off the excess dry rub. Preheat the oven to 250-degrees.

6. Brush the racks with some of the sauce, cover and cook for 2.5-3 hours. Brush with the sauce occasionally and turn them several times.

7. It is cooked when the meat separates from the bone and is tender.

8. Ten minuted before you take it out of the oven, put more sauce , reserving some of it for dipping.




  1. by Melinda
    8:15 pm
    Apr 10, 2011

    this is so cool, ilke! i am jealous because it sounds like such a fun thing to do…other than getting up early like that!

  2. by Gokce
    8:39 pm
    Apr 10, 2011

    Seems definitely fun!

  3. by Sommer@ASpicyPerspective
    2:21 pm
    Apr 11, 2011

    What fun! I love this sort of market… and bbq!

  4. by Shelley Lucas
    7:56 pm
    Apr 11, 2011

    I wish I were in the area- sounds like some darn good BBQ. It also sounds like you’re having a blast!

  5. by Lell Trogdon
    10:08 pm
    Apr 12, 2011

    Well! How exciting! I could save you a whole lot of gas and put you in the kitchen at the cafe…..but it is hard to compete with BBQ. Keep us all posted and thanks for sharing your fun news.

  6. by Ilke
    5:48 am
    Apr 13, 2011

    I know, wouldn’t it be great if I just get up and be at work in 15 minutes at your cafe! :) Maybe later after BBQ gig is done :)

  7. by Kristin @ delishliving
    3:36 pm
    Apr 14, 2011

    oh i seriously cannot wait for it to be nice enough outside for our downtown outdoor farmer’s market to open up again! we were just hit by another dump of snow this morning – winter is endless this year! i will live vicariously through you!

  8. by Ilke
    9:42 pm
    Apr 16, 2011

    Well, today farmer’s market was cancelled due to a strong storm-high winds… I guess the spring was teasing!

  9. by Peggy
    9:39 pm
    Apr 16, 2011

    What a great opportunity! I love the farmer’s market and wish I lived closer to Charlotte because I would definitely come visit you at this one! =)

  10. by Ilke
    9:43 pm
    Apr 16, 2011

    Peggy… even if you are passing by , let me know! Would love to meet face to face sometime… Are you coming to the BlogHer conference in Atlanta in May?

  11. by Drick
    7:38 am
    Apr 17, 2011

    so glad you stopped by, always love a good BBQ recipe and will take another look at this one soon…. good luck on your new adventure, it sounds like something I would like to do…
    ’bout stage planks, as said, they are an old southern cookie called Estomac Mulatre baked by Creoles long ago for their race and a fact I did not print means ‘fit only for a mulatto to digest’. The name comes from the appearance of flat wooden boards and later were recreated by bakeries with a pinkish frosting.

  12. by Drick
    7:43 am
    Apr 17, 2011

    okay, wait…. this is what happens when I get interrupted tending to blog matters…. the comment to you about stage planks should go to another reader…. hope it at least got you interested!

  13. by Ilke
    7:44 am
    Apr 17, 2011

    Actually it did :) I was about to google it and read more :) Thanks for stopping by Drick!

  14. by Kristi Rimkus
    9:12 am
    Apr 17, 2011

    I am with you. This is my favorite time of year when all the farmers markets open and the local csa boxes are abundant with produce. So much fun. During this time of year I even treat myself to a weekly $5 bouquet of flowers!


  15. by Parsley Sage
    9:35 am
    Apr 17, 2011

    What an incredible experience! I’d be sneaking some BBQ in between cooking :) Those 15 Saturdays will fly by so make sure to make the most of your experience. Well done!

    Thanks for swinging by Deep Dish

  16. by All That I'm Eating
    2:48 pm
    Apr 17, 2011

    I love farmers’ markets. It looks like you had a lot of fun despite the lack of sleep! Enjoy the next 15 weeks!

  17. by Tanvi
    5:12 pm
    Apr 17, 2011

    what fun.I cant spend day after day in farmer’s market buying produce and eating from trucks.

  18. by sonia
    7:33 pm
    Apr 17, 2011

    Hi There, This is looking so exciting. Have a great day !

  19. by Kaiyah
    10:18 pm
    Apr 17, 2011

    I visit the farmer’s market almost every Saturday in Davidson as I live a short bike ride from it. As a person that doesn’t eat pork, as quite a few people do not, the primarily pork offerings limit the customers that would visit the truck. Wish you guys would add Bird Brain Ranch ostrich or Wild Turkey Farm lamb. Considering NC is a major exporter or breeder chicks, you would think we can at least get some yard bird (aka chicken) on the menu. I was highly disappointed at the swine of offerings after trying his lamb, which was the second best I have ever had!

  20. by Ilke
    5:19 am
    Apr 18, 2011

    Hi Kaiyah, we had one vegetarian item on the menu with Turkish bulgur salad as a side but you are right, we did not have any other meat than pork, that was our first week and this is our first FM appearance. We are still learning. I will let Dan know about your comment and see how we can incorporate chicken or lamb in the menu. Thanks for the suggestions.

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