Let's face it, we aren't all cooks. And most of us certainly wouldn't identify as a "grillmaster." So what happens when you're throwing a summer party and your specialty meal is a bowl of cereal? Don't panic. Chef G. Garvin and Gold Peak Tea are here to help.

We caught up with the acclaimed chef for a few tips on hosting a barbecue to remember. And to top it off, Chef G. shares an amazing BBQ sauce recipe that will set your taste buds off like fireworks. The (not-so) secret ingredient? Gold Peak Sweet Tea.

You’re from ‘Hotlanta’ and let’s face it, it’s unbearably hot. What tips do you have to beat the heat when grilling?

It really is a matter of the timing. I’d say start early before the sun comes out so you get as much as you can get done, especially things like your non-perishables, get your vegetables going. Then take care of the rest after the sun goes down. I don’t think there’s any way around the heat unless you have a huge budget with a tent and air-conditioning.

Why did you start using Gold Peak Tea as a grilling ingredient?

I think because I grew up drinking homemade tea. That’s one of the great things about Gold Peak, "the taste that brings you home", is that it really does that...especially when you had tea as often as I did as a child growing up in the South. Oddly enough, before I started working with Gold Peak, I drank it. I have it at my house. Every time I have a product, I think about the science of it. Like what are the ingredients? How do you have fun with it? One of the first things I did was develop a sauce. I reduced down the Gold Peak, added a little balsamic vinegar and made a really nice salad dressing.    

I’m always trying to do something with barbeque sauce. I think it's one of those things... it’s like a huge red wall and you can just paint all over it. So once I got Gold Peak and all of the flavors, the second thing I wanted to do is develop a great barbeque sauce that could be used on everything, like fish and shrimp and chicken, and I think we accomplished that.

Describe what Gold Peak adds to the sauce.

Flavor. When you think about what you marinate in nowadays, it’s olive oil, it’s rosemary, garlic, thyme, it’s onions, it’s shallots… the Gold Peak adds a true organic flavor and a sense of sweetness with a really good balance.

Golden Peak bbq sauce

Click here to get the recipe. 

It’s grilling season, and with celebrations like July 4th coming up, what are your tips and tricks to throwing the best outdoor party?

First things first, they have to get Gold Peak Tea. All the different flavors. And then secondly, you know I’m a guy who likes to be prepared, so think about who’s coming, what time they’re coming, and shop. It’s all about shopping and being smart about your shopping. You also need to understand what food goes on the grill at what time. If you have people coming at six o’clock, you don’t want to have the fish on the grill at 4:30, but you do want to have the chicken on the grill at 4:30 because you want to make sure it’s cooking. Understand the flavor profiles. You want things to taste similar, but different. Chicken should taste like chicken. Don’t run things together. And also one of the biggest things is to have people bring stuff. Barbecues are really great for a potluck. It takes away some of the work. I think the days of one person doing everything are gone so let the family share into it.

Grilled chicken

What is your favorite Fourth of July memory?

Honestly, the clothing. You got like a hot Fourth of July outfit when you were a kid. And then it was all about the food. It was all about the grilled chicken, the hotdogs. We used to make homemade sausage, and my uncle would quails so we did some grilled quails, so it was really all about throwing things on the grill, and the music that came with that. And just the fun of life and people hanging out. It really was just the dynamic of family.

And about this July 4th clothing… what do you wear?

It’s like a cool short set. You get nice shorts and super white tennis shoes and like a cool t-shirt. That’s what’s up.

How are you celebrating the Fourth this year?

I will be working at the ESSENCE Festival (in New Orleans). I'll be doing two cooking demos using Gold Peak Tea.. and I'll be killin’ it! 

Personally, what item do you bring to a cookout?

(Big sigh) You know the good thing about me being in the culinary world is I don’t really have to bring anything because I always end up helping out. Someone will go "Ah man, can you check my lamb chops?" It’s sort of like Johnny Gill going to a wedding, he always ends up singing. For me, I always end up in the kitchen so I just show up.     

For those of us who aren’t well-known chefs, what item do you recommend bringing?

Bring something safe. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts—they’re easy to marinate. Safe because they’re boneless and skinless and I think most people like chicken. (NOTE: Chef G. prefers thighs.)

Kids at a barbecue, what do you suggest making?

One of the things I appreciate about kid’s food is not over thinking it. Rather than fried chicken tenders, you can grill chicken tenders or chicken nuggets. Anything you can do fried, you can do grilled. Mac n’ cheese is always safe for kids. Shrimp and grilled asparagus also tend to be a safe bet when it comes to kids, as far as I’ve seen. 

Quick-Fire Questions with Chef G.

To get to know more about Chef G., we put him in the hot seat to answer a round of questions as fast as possible. 

Drink that keeps you hydrated at the grill? 

You like your burgers cooked… Medium

Chicken or steak? Steak all day baby

Hotdog or hamburger? Hotdog

Favorite drink to cook/grill with? Gold Peak Tea (duh!)

If you could grill with anyone, it would be… Sidney Poitier

Gas or charcoal? Gas all day

Ribs or wings? Uh, depending on what day of the week it is…

Today’s Friday, so... Wings

Large or intimate party? Intimate with the right people, large it they’re fans.

For July 4th Large

I’m eating at Low Country [his restaurant], what do I order? Shrimp and grits

Must have side — No-bake mac n’ cheese

Word that comes into mind when I say Gold Peak Sweet Tea? The taste that brings you home

That’s more than one… That’s okay, we’ll chalk it up. HOME!

Favorite meat to BBQ? Skirt steak

Favorite Coke product to drink? Gold Peak Tea

Chef you idealize? My grandmother

Best part about July 4th? The day off