2 Summer Recipes from Southern Smoke’s Matt Register

Smith Hardy


We asked Matt Register of Southern Smoke BBQ to share a few recipes from his new cookbook, Southern Smoke. Try these recipes at home with your summer farmers market haul. 

Squash and Rice Pudding

Serves 8

2 tablespoons butter
2 pounds yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) slices
2 teaspoons salt, divided
3 cups uncooked white rice
2 cups sour cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

The first sign that summer is around the corner is when our farmers switch from dropping off greens to dropping off squash. By May, our squash farmer is making frequent trips from his farm to drop off 20-pound boxes.

This recipe was inspired by a classic rice pudding from the Women’s Cookery Cookbook, published in 1914. Because the base for the pudding is quite soupy, I decided that it was a perfect fit for summer squash. Fresh summer squash releases all the extra cooking liquid you’ll need. This should be a dish that screams summer, despite it being a hot rice casserole.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the squash and cook for 15 minutes, or until very tender. Let the squash cool in the pan; do not drain off the liquid.

While the squash cools, start the rice. In a medium pot, bring 5 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the rice. Cover the pot and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender. If the rice is not done but it’s getting dry, add more water and continue to cook until the rice is fully cooked and tender.

Pour the cooked rice into a casserole dish. Add the cooked squash and juices to the rice, then fold in the sour cream, heavy cream, basil, oregano, the remaining salt and pepper. Stir until completely mixed. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.

Smith Hardy

Creamed Corn

Serves 4

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter
8 ears fresh corn
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Corn represents the official halfway point of summer to me as it tends to come into the restaurant right around the Fourth of July. It’s not only at every potluck this time of year, but we also put it up. For country folk, putting up corn—preserving it for later—is no small task. Most people pick up 15 to 20 dozen ears of corn. As a group, everyone works to shuck it, get the silk off, sash it, cream it, and then freeze it in plastic bags.

This recipe for creamed corn is different from the one I grew up on, which was very sweet. I tried instead to let the sweetness of the corn shine through and complement it with the nutty, salty flavor of brown butter. Lots of fresh basil amps up the feeling of summer.

In a 4-quart pot over medium heat, melt the butter and then brown it. The butter will go through distinct stages, foaming and turning from lemon yellow to tan. Finally, it will turn brown and give off a nutty aroma. At this point, remove it from the heat and set it aside (it’s a good idea to refrigerate it to stop the cooking process, if you can).

Cut the corn kernels from the cobs with a small paring knife and collect them in a large mixing bowl. Once the kernels have been removed, use the back of the knife blade and scrape along the cob to get the milky liquid out of the cob and into the mixing bowl. Set the bowl aside. You can discard all the cobs at this point except one. Cut the reserved cob in half to use like a soup bone.

Transfer the cob halves to a small pot and add the heavy cream. Cook over medium heat until the cream begins to slowly boil, about 4 minutes. Immediately remove the pot from the heat and set aside.

Place the pot with the brown butter back on the stove over medium heat. If the butter solidified in the fridge, melt it again, then add the garlic, cut corn, basil, sugar and pepper and stir until well combined. Cook for 1 minute.

Remove the corn cob halves from the heavy cream and slowly add the cream to the corn mixture. Stir until the mixture is uniform and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring periodically to prevent burning. The mixture will begin to thicken and become creamy as it cooks.