Sunny Anderson shares her best barbecue tips

Whether you're looking to make the best dry rub or spice up a potato salad, this Food Network star has a savory solution.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Sunny Anderson

Have you or a loved one ever been the victim of bland barbecue? Sunny Anderson is stopping by the TODAY virtual plaza to answer viewer questions about how to take your cookout game to the next level. Whether you're hosting a small gathering or just a need a few new tricks, Anderson has got you covered.

When grilling ribs, do you prefer a dry rub or a sauce?

-Jason, Pennsylvania

I enjoy using both. I love a rub because as it sets in, it flavors the ribs with a dry marination, as well as providing a nice crust. But I love a good, luscious barbecue sauce at the end, as well. The way the sugars caramelize — and that whole finger-licking experience — is something I aspire to when making ribs.

My easy 1-2-3 Spice Rub is perfect for your ribs. Rub it all over your meat and let it rest overnight for more flavor. The recipe is simple:

  • 1 part chili powder
  • 2 parts paprika
  • 3 parts cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

When it's time to cook, grill your ribs slow and low, so they become nice and tender. Right before the rack is done, I love to brush it with either a store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce.

What types of seasonings are best for pork chops and should you marinate them overnight?

-Natasha, The Bahamas

My 1-2-3 Spice rub is also perfect for pork chops, chicken pork and fish! It’s not too spicy — it's just great and totally flavorful.

Since pork needs plenty of flavor, I say go ahead and marinate it overnight.

Potato salad is a family favorite. How can we spice up our potato salad?

-Heather, Indiana

My favorite ingredient to add to potato salad is hot Hungarian paprika. It's smoky with a little kick for some real heat. I also enjoy adding a bit of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers to the dressing. Carbs, like those in potatoes, lessen the burn of spicy foods on the tongue, so you can get a little more aggressive with your potato salad seasoning than with other things on the menu. To me, a barbecue isn't complete without a potato salad.

Sunny Anderson's Warm German Potato Salad

We’ve stocked up on non-perishables and frozen foods. How can we make them taste fresh and flavorful?

-Marina, Georgia

My No. 1 rule: Don't overcook frozen veggies. When you buy frozen produce, it's already been blanched, so when you're preparing it at home, it’s the second time those veggies are being cooked. I find that steaming works best with most frozen veggies to really bring them back to life without overdoing it.

Sunny's Easy Broccoli and Carrot Slaw

To brighten up those veggies, you also need to add some acid: fresh lime juice, orange juice, lemon juice or vinegar (like balsamic, red wine and apple cider) can work wonders. Adding something else fresh, like herbs, is also a great way to wake up bland vegetables.

If you're preparing canned veggies, which have been sitting around for a long time, acid and hot sauce will do the trick to liven things right up. And with tomato sauce, which is already so acidic, you can add a little bit of sugar to balance it out and bring out the sweetness.