A Summer Barbecue

In the heat of summer as you fire up your grills, it is second nature to reach for an iced tea or Tea Sangria, but tea isn’t just great accompanying grilled food, it can play a role within that food as well.  There is the ancient and classic concept of smoking with tea leaves that can easily be accomplished if you have a covered grill, but consider using steeped tea in your favorite brines to help keep your meat and poultry moist while adding depth of flavor or brightness as well. Ground tea is a natural in your dry spice rubs or steeped into your wet marinades. Even desserts can combine your favorite teas and then grill to perfection. Consider freshly grilled fruit served with a champagne and tea sabayon or a gourmet version of the classic S’more that we have included here. Lastly, don’t forget to round out your event with a refreshing tea cocktail!

Matcha and White Bean Dip

This white bean dip recipe is breathtakingly quick to make. If you need a quick dish to bring to a barbecue and are tight on time, make this bean dip and serve with purchased pita chips or fresh pita. If you have a little extra time, then these chips are worth the effort. If you’re planned ahead, you can even consider soaking dried beans overnight and cooking them rather than using canned, but you will be surprised how enjoyable the end result is even with canned white beans.

Matcha and White Bean Dip

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Salad, Starter
Servings 3 cups


  • 2 cans cannellini beans 15 oz cans, chickpeas may be substituted
  • 3 cloves garlic or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup parsley ideally flat leaf (Italian) parsley
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice fresh squeezed, about 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons Matcha Powder or to taste
  • kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper freshly ground, to taste

Pita chips

  • 1 package Pita bread 6 loaves
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Matcha Powder
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper freshly ground


  • Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until desired consistency. I enjoy beans that still have texture, but some people prefer a smoother consistency. (Photos by Julian Landa)
  • Pulse to the desired consistency!
  • Serve drizzled lightly with additional olive oil and sprinkled with a pinch of chopped parsley.
  • Variation: Consider replacing the parsley with fresh rosemary and adding some freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese.

Pita Chips

  • Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
  • Cut each pita into 8 wedges.
  • Place the wedges into a bowl, drizzle with the olive oil and toss well to coat
  • Arrange the wedges in a single layer on sheet pans. If your pita is thick and fluffy, you may want to separate each wedge into two pieces and arrange them exterior side up
  • Sprinkle the wedges with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Place 1/2 teaspoon matcha in a mesh tea strainer or sieve and tap the side to dust the wedges with matcha.
  • Variations: Blend some cayenne pepper or ginger in with the matcha before dusting the wedges.
  • Place the sheet pans in the 400°F oven and bake until lightly golden. Timing will vary by style of sheet pan and thickness of the pita, but begin checking them after 8 minutes.

Watermelon is the summer barbecue classic.  So refreshing, it’s like including another beverage.  The sweetness of a ripe watermelon is perfect to balance against the wonderful smoke and caramelization of grilled foods.  Consider this equally refreshing fruit salad for a welcome change of pace.

Green Fruits in Jasmine Tea Syrup

Joanna described this lovely fruit salad as Jasmine tea and sweetened lime juice that transform a simple trio of green fruits into an ambrosial offering. Its memory will linger on your taste buds. Savor the fruit alone or with a scoop of green tea ice cream. I couldn't have said it better myself!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert, Salad
Servings 6 people



  • 2 teaspoons jasmine tea leaves
  • 1/2 cup sugar white
  • 1 lime zested and juiced
  • 1/3 cup water

Make salad

  • 8 ounces seedless green grapes stemmed, washed and halved
  • 1 honeydew melon diced or scooped into balls
  • 3 kiwi peeled and sliced
  • fresh mint sprigs for garnish


  • Bring 1/3 cup of water just to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Add the jasmine tea, remove the pan from the heat, and steep for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Strain into a clean pan, pressing to extract as much liquid as possible, and discard the tea leaves.
  • Add the sugar and lime zest to the pan. Over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves, then bring the liquid to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer the syrup for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
  • Place the kiwi, melon, and grapes in a serving bowl and pour on the syrup.
  • Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Remove from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before serving, toss gently, and garnish with mint.

These wings are from Culinary Tea by Cynthia Gold and Lise Stern.

One of my absolute favorite things to grill, they are best hot, right off the grill. Since they cook fairly quickly, plan to grill the wings as the last item you are serving and then keep the tea cocktails, beers, and iced tea flowing!

Tea-Grilled Wings with Hot Green Dipping Sauce

These wings were quite popular in the Swans Bar at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel where Joao Barros, the executive sous chef, added this spicy fresh green sauce for dipping. The wings have deep, intense flavors, but are not particularly hot, so the crisp clean heat of the dipping sauce is the perfect foil. Depending on your taste for spicy foods, use more or less jalapeño. If the weather doesn’t allow for grilling, the wings can be cooked under a broiler.
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 day 15 minutes
Course Main Dish, Starter
Servings 6 people



  • 5 tablespoons black tea loose leaves, Keemun or other full bodied black tea
  • 1 1/2 cups water boiling
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil toasted
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce Nam pla or other brand
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Asian chili sauce Sriracha or other similar style
  • black pepper fresh ground to taste
  • 18 each chicken wings

Hot Green Dipping Sauce

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 2 each jalapeno peppers or more, deveined and seeded
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste, fresh ground


Prep the Wings

  • Place 3 tablespoons of the tea in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Add the boiling water and steep, covered, for 6 minutes. Strain and set aside to cool. Discard the tea leaves.
  • In a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle, finely grind the remaining 2 tablespoons tea to equal 1 tablespoon ground tea. If necessary, grind additional leaves to make 1 tablespoon.
  • Transfer to a medium bowl and add the soy sauce, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic, chili sauce, and black pepper to taste. Add the cooled steeped tea and stir to combine.
  • Trim the wing tips and set aside for another use (they are great for making stock). Cut the remaining wings at the joint to separate.
  • Place wings in a resealable plastic bag, then pour in the marinade. Seal bag and make sure wings are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate overnight or for up to 3 days, turning every 12 hours.

To Make the Sauce

  • In the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, combine the basil, cilantro, jalapeño, and vinegar.
  • Process for 30 seconds, then, with the processor running, slowly add the oil through the feed tube. Scrape down the sides, add the salt and pepper to taste, then process again until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to cook the wings.

When Ready to Cook

  • Preheat grill to medium and remove the wings from the fridge to allow to come to room temperature.
  • Remove wings from marinade (discard marinade) and grill (if using an outdoor grill, cover-cook with the vents open) until cooked through and juices are clear, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.
  • Serve immediately, with the sauce on the side for dipping.

Let’s refresh ourselves with a quick cold cocktail before we head back to the grill!!

Marzi's Summer Gimlet

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces Jasmine tea infused Gin
  • 1/2 ounce Yuzu Juice fresh if available
  • 1/2 ounce lime juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 ounce Jasmine Lemongrass syrup
  • lemongrass stalk trimmed and cut into pieces for garnish

Jasmine Tea Infused Gin

  • 750 ml Gin
  • 3 tablespoons jasmine tea leaves or pearls

Jasmine Lemongrass Syrup

  • 1 stalk lemongrass cleaned, crushed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon mandarin orange zest
  • 2 drops orange flower water
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon jasmine tea leaves or pearls


  • Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker or jar with a lid.
  • Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with fresh lemongrass or a lime wedge. (Photo by Julian Landa)

Jasmine Tea infused Gin

  • Pour gin into glass or other non-reactive pitcher.
  • Add tea leaves and steep for 30 minutes or by taste.
  • Strain well through multiple layers of cheese cloth or coffee filter. Discard tea leaves.
  • Return to original bottle, decanter or sealable jar. If not used within a few days, store in refrigerator up to 6 weeks.

Jasmine Lemongrass Syrup

  • Wash and strip lemongrass. Crush stalk with a mallet or back of other utensil. Cut coarsely.
  • Place lemongrass water and mandarin orange zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar and simmer until clear, light syrup begins to form.
  • Stir in orange flower water and tea leaves. Immediately remove from heat and set aside to steep.
  • When cool, strain well and discard solids. Store unused portion, well covered in the refrigerator.

Matcha-Pineapple Margarita

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2 cocktails


  • 2 tablespoons Matcha Green Tea Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Lime-Salt-Sugar
  • 1/3 cup tequila 100 percent agave, silver tequila recommended
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice freshly juiced if possible
  • 1/4 cup lime juice Always freshly squeezed!
  • 1 pinch dried red pepper flakes
  • crushed ice
  • pineapple wedges for garnish

Matcha Green Tea Syrup

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Matcha Powder


  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Matcha Powder


  • In a cocktail shaker or a jar with a screw top lid, combine the tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, simple syrup and red pepper flakes.
  • Cover and shake vigorously until mixed (about 30 seconds).
  • Fill the glasses halfway with crushed ice. Strain the margarita mixture into the glasses and serve garnished with a pineapple wedge. (Photo by Joanna Pruess)

Matcha Green Tea Syrup

  • In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves.
  • Remove 2 tablespoons of the syrup to a small bowl. Store the remaining syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  • Whisk the matcha powder until fully combined and cool to room temperature.


  • In a small blender, clean coffee grinder or mini food chopper, combine the lime, salt and sugar and blend until finely chopped. (Photos by Julian Landa)
  • Add the matcha powder and pulse a couple of times to lightly coat the salt and sugar blend.
  • Prepare your glasses by running a cut wedge of lime along the rim and then dipping the moistened rim of the glass in a shallow dish with the lime/matcha/sugar/salt mixture.

My husband, photographer and artist Julian Landa requested that we include a variation of his favorite ribs, so for Julian:

Black Tea and Spice Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 14 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Dish
Servings 1 rack of ribs


  • 1 rack Baby back ribs or preferred style of ribs
  • 1/4 cup Black Tea and Spice Rub
  • 3 cups Black Tea Barbecue Sauce or your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup Pu-Erh leaves or other earthy tea leaves
  • 3 cups water

Black Tea and Spice Rub

  • 2 tbsp black tea use a full bodied black tea and grind to a powder
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp salt use kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tbps paprika consider using a hot Hungarian paprika!
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp ground cumin toasting and grinding the seeds are even better!

Black Tea Barbecue Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons black tea leaves (Lapsing Souchong works particularly well here)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup vinegar apple cider or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard preferably whole grain
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  • Rub the ribs with the tea and spice rub. Wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

When Ready to Cook Ribs

  • Pre-heat the oven to 300°F When ready to cook the ribs bring the 3 cups of water to a boil and steep the Pu-Erh tea leaves for 6 to 8 minutes. Strain and discard leaves.
  • Combine the steeped Pu-Erh tea with 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce or the smoky barbecue sauce shown below.
  • Place the ribs into a large roasting pan. Pour the barbecue sauce/Pu-Erh mixture over the ribs. Cover the pan with foil and place in the pre-heated oven.
  • Cook covered in the oven for 1 hour or until ribs are tender. Turn the ribs every 20 minutes while they cook
  • The ribs may be enjoyed at this point, but are even better if finished on the grill over direct heat, just long enough to add some external charring to the meat. (Photo by Julian Landa)

Black Tea and Spice Rub

  • This rub is infinitely changeable. Feel free to adjust to your own personal style. It is always a good idea to make extra which you can save for later, or give as gifts in small jars or pouches. Combine all ingredients. If not using immediately, store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.

Black Tea Barbecue Sauce

  • Bring water to a boil and steep the Lapsang Souchong tea leaves for 6 minutes. Strain and discard the leaves.
  • Return the steeped tea to a medium saucepan. Combine in other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce is thick and homogenous. Stir periodically.


In the American South, barbecue has developed into an art form.  An art form that is often served with the ever present ‘Sweet Tea’.  Lucy’s Fried Chicken , a cherished Texas restaurant chain offers a variation on the Southern specialty Chess Pie made with tea.  What could be more perfect to serve at any barbecue?

James Holmes, the owner of ‘Lucy’s Fried Chicken’ grew up in Abilene, Texas going to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church. When he was young, a woman by the name of Lita used to make this pie for church gatherings. Eventually, she shared the secret recipe with James’ mother, Cheryl. Over the years, the tea chess pie became a staple in the Holmes household for holidays, family gatherings, and church functions. Years later, James knew this pie was perfect for the Lucy’s concept, both southern and traditional.

Orange Pekoe Chess Pie

Brittany Zepeda, the Pastry Chef for 'Lucy's Fried Chicken' can be credited for this version of the Holmes family classic which she currently makes for the restaurants. This recipe will make 1 each 10" pie or 2 each 9" pies.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 9 hours 10 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Southern
Servings 1 pie


Pie Dough

  • 8 ounces flour All purpose flour, by weight
  • 5.2 ounces butter unsalted, cold
  • 2 ounces water cold
  • 0.4 ounces sugar by weight
  • 0.1 ounces salt by weight

Pie Filling

  • 10.6 ounces butter unsalted, melted
  • 2 each eggs
  • 9 each egg yolks
  • 19 ounces sugar by weight
  • 1 cup black tea Orange Pekoe steeped double strength, cooled.
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 ounce flour All purpose flour, by weight
  • 2 teaspoons cornmeal
  • 1 pinch kosher salt


Pie Dough

  • Cut cold butter into flour until you have fine crumbs.
  • In medium bowl, mix the sugar and salt into the cold water.
  • Add water to flour and knead until just combined.
  • Chill dough 4 hours or up to 3 days.
  • Roll out pie crust into a disk, fit into a 10-inch pie plate. Crimp edges and chill while preparing the filling.

Make the filling

  • Whisk together eggs and yolks in a mixing bowl.
  • Slowly add sugar while whisking until smoothly combined.
  • Combine lemon juice and tea and whisk into egg mixture until smooth.
  • Combine flour, cornmeal and salt and whisk in.
  • Stream in melted butter and whisk until emulsified, but you are NOT looking to aerate or add volume.
  • Immediately pour into prepared cold pie shell and place in a 350°F oven.
  • Start checking the pie after 40 minutes. The pie will start to take on some color. Filling should jiggle quite a bit but not ripple.
  • I've added an added rim to 'tea leaves', but that is not required. (Photo by Julian Landa)
  • This is the pie as served at Lucy's. (Photo courtesy of Lucy's Fried Chicken)
  • Lucy's Fried Chicken has recently opened a new waterfront location (Lucy's on the Lake) which even features an open air takeout counter that of course offers the Orange Pekoe Pie! (Photo courtesy of Lucy's Fried Chicken)

Now before that fire dies out, where did I put those marshmallows???

At Restaurant L’Espalier in Boston, Pastry Chef Jared Bacheller creates a small sweet treat that is wrapped and given to each guest as they leave. Recently, French Macarons inspired by the classic campfire treat ‘Smores’ have been the fair-well treat. At L’Espalier, they make their own marshmallows, and cold smoke the chocolate before making the ganache, but for the home cook, a purchased marshmallow freshly toasted at your grill or campfire will be ideal.

Since cold smokers are not in everyone’s kitchen, we’ve infused our cream with Lapsang Souchong tea before making the ganache. These wonderful macarons can be completely made in advance, but for the enjoyment of your guests, we strongly recommend that you have the macaron halves ready to fill and allow each guest the fun of toasting their marshmallows and building their cookies, just like with the classic smore. If time is of the essence, and you want to more completely relive those childhood memories, you can replace the smoked ganache with a square of chocolate, but the small amount of time needed to make the ganache will be time well spent when you taste the results.

Gourmet Smores

If you decide to simply replace the traditional graham cracker with this wonderful macaron, your guests will still have a very special treat. If you opt to make the smoked ganache as well, then this treat becomes sublime!
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 25 sandwiches


  • 5 cups confectioners sugar divided
  • 2 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tablespoon Lapsang Souchong leaves, finely ground
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 6 1/2 ounces egg whites by volume
  • 3 tablespoons molasses

Smoked Ganache

  • 14 ounces bittersweet chocolate chopped and measured by weight, not volume
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • pinch salt


Make the macarons

  • Sift almond flour, ground tea, cinnamon and 2-1/2 cups of the sugar together.
  • Whip the egg whites with the remaining 2-1/2 cups of confectioner's sugar to stiff peaks.
  • Drizzle in the molasses and continue to whip until fully incorporated.
  • Transfer the stiff egg whites to a large bowl and fold in the dry ingredients 1/3 at a time. DO NOT OVERMIX. The batter should be slightly runny, but not too liquid.
  • Use a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch tip to pipe out 2 inch mounds onto a baking pan prepared with parchment paper or a silpat.
  • Gently smooth and shape the surface of each mound with your moistened finger or the back of a teaspoon dipped in cold water. Allow them to rest at room temperature until the tops are dry and a skin forms, around 2 hours.
  • Bake at 325°F for 5 minutes, turn and bake further until they just begin to brown, another 5 to 8 minutes or so.
  • Cool completely before removing from the paper or silpat. They may be stored in an airtight container up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 weeks.

Make the Smoked Ganache

  • At L’Espalier they cold smoke the chocolate for a couple of hours, but you will find the cream infused with Lapsang Souchong tea will give you wonderful results as well.
  • Place the chopped chocolate and bourbon in a bowl and set aside.
  • Bring the cream just to a boil in a small saucepan.
  • Stir in the tea leaves and remove from the heat. Let sit until desired level of smokiness is achieved (around 20 minutes).
  • Strain out the tea leaves, pressing to extract as much of the cream as possible, then return the infused cream to the saucepan.
  • Bring it back up to just boiling and immediately turn it off. Pour the scalded, infused cream over the chocolate and bourbon in the bowl, stir in the pinch of salt and gently continue stirring until smooth.
  • Set aside to cool to room temperature. This ganache may be stored covered and chilled for up to 5 days before using.
  • When ready to use to fill the cookies, let warm to room temperature and pipe or spoon a small portion onto each macaron base before the warm toasted marshmallow is added. (Photos by Julian Landa).
  • Pastry Chef Jared Bachelor at times is his own taste tester! Here we find him 'testing' a green tea and lemon verbena sorbet that he served as a palatte cleanser between courses. He served these little handmade cones standing up in a flower pot with cookie crumb "dirt" and fresh greens!

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