Chef DelJuan Murphy first discovered Lillie's of Charleston sauces and seasonings when he served as the chef at Fleet Landing in downtown Charleston. The Charleston-based barbecue sauce and spice company's co-founder Tracey Richardson came into the restaurant and pitched the company's Finger Leek 'En Mustard Barbecue Sauce. The staff was instantly hooked.
"Number one, they're local," Murphy says. "We like that they're an independent business. And, it's a good product. It's all about quality."
They started using the sauce as their signature steak sauce. The thick, flavorful mustard dressing brought notes of tang to cut through rich cuts of meat but without all the heat. Murphy and the kitchen crew asked the servers to recommend it to diners, and demand rose. Soon, more and more Lillie's of Charleston products found their way into Fleet Landing's dishes . . . and into Murphy's home kitchen.
He stocked his pantry with the barbecue and hot sauces that infused cuts of meat, grilled dishes, and sautés with flavors inspired by the Richardson family’s aunt Lillie. Lillie’s of Charleston rubs and spices became key ingredients within Murphy’s spice cabinet. The products added instant oomph to roasted oysters, seafood boils, burgers, brisket, and any creole and cajun dish.
“Anytime I’m looking for heat, I use the Hissy Fit Hot Sauce,” he says. His favorite, though, is the Special Blend Hot Sauce. It’s proven durable in his cooking, thanks to a viscous texture that coats ingredients, unlike the thinner, conventional hot sauces.
Murphy eventually left Fleet Landing to start DELicious Carolina, his own catering and personal chef business. With him, he took not only his culinary expertise in coastal Southern cuisine, but also a friendship with the Lillie’s of Charleston team.
Sharing a Taste of Lillie's of Charleston
When it was time for the 2022 Charleston Wine and Food Festival, Lillie’s of Charleston was to be one of the featured vendors at the event’s Artisan Market. Richardson called upon Murphy to develop a recipe that showcased their products to festival goers. Knowing he needed to prepare samples for a crowd of a couple thousand visitors, Murphy crafted an easy-to-produce recipe that would serve many—and one that he could pull-off onsite.
He pitched his barbecue street corn, which jazzed up grilled corn kernels with Lillie’s of Charleston seasonings and barbecue sauce. The team loved it, and it was simple enough to produce that Murphy could prepare and serve it right onsite. “Having him there cooking live over a fire was the best demonstration and was a tremendous draw!” Richardson says.
Festival goers only received a sample of the corn. However, TLP got the exclusive recipe from Murphy to help recreate this quick and easy side dish at home.
4 ears of corn, shucked
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
¼ cup diced scallions
1 teaspoon Lillie's of Charleston Ho-Lotta spice
½ teaspoon Lillie's of Charleston Hissy Fit Spice
½ teaspoon Lillie's of Charleston Sweet Smoke Spice
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ to ½ cup (depending on your taste) pickled okra, chopped
- Heat a grill to high heat, and grill heads of corn for 2 minutes on each side, rotating four times total. Set aside.
- In a sauté pan over medium heat, sauté whites of green onions until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the peppers and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the spices to the mixture and stir.
- While the vegetable mixture cooks, remove the corn kernels from the cooled ears. Add to the sauté pan, along with the barbecue sauce, and turn down the heat to low and let simmer. The sugars in the sauce will burn easily, so it’s important to stir frequently.