On Saturday, July 27, chef Kent Rigsby, of Rigsby's Kitchen, will judge the Kenmore Greatest Generations of Grilling Cook-Off at the Ohio State Fair from noon to 3 p.m. He'll taste original grilled dishes from more than 25 Ohio cooks, competing for more than $8,000 in prizes. Catch Rigsby tomorrow at the DiSalle Creative Arts Center South Lawn Ohio Expo Center. We caught up with him this week to get his thoughts on judging the competition and his advice for creating your own great grilled dishes.
“I’ll be looking for anything exciting and dynamic,” he says, adding, in competitions like this, home cooks usually go all out, so it will be interesting to see what recipes they adapt. “I’m looking to be surprised a little bit.”
Are you a tough critic?
“I wouldn’t call myself tough. I am critical but in a beneficent way,” he says. “I give people a lot of credit for trying. I think I would be intimidated to go out and do this.”
Any advice for grilling at home?
“I think it’s just planning ahead,” Rigsby says, suggesting getting a good rub on meats the day before. “North Market Spices makes their own spice rubs that are just fantastic for proteins. The rub helps tenderize the proteins, and usually will help cure it and make it more tender when you cook. Marinades cook off a lot. Using a good rub is the real secret.”
Is there a favorite dish you like to grill at home?
“I have teenage girls who just want something pretty straightforward,” he says. Souvlaki, a Greek skewered dish, is a popular go-to. But there is also an adaption of a chicken dish he enjoyed during a trip to Tuscany that perfectly captures the summer season.
Can you tell us more about this dish?
“It was just magical,” he says. The original dish was served at a two-star restaurant on a hillside town by a glamorous chef who cooked in a Dior dress and sneakers. “We had this luncheon out on the terrace. She picked all the herbs. All the chicken was deboned and she pan roasted it over and over again. It reminded me of something grilled.” Rigsby makes a version of this dish at home for his family, changing the ingredients slightly to reflect the season.
He shares his recipe for Grilled Chicken with Tuscan Herbs here. (link: cookmore.com/recipe/grilled-chicken-with-tuscan-aromas)