World champion pitmaster Chris Lilly makes us wish we lived in Alabama, where he heads the grill at Decatur’s Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Cue. His new book, Fire and Smoke: A Pitmaster’s Secrets is full of the knowledge you’ll need to finish first in this season-long grilling contest. Yup, it’s a contest. Win it with something really innovative, like these grilled sweet and spicy pickles.

What are grilled pickles? They do sound odd, but trust me, they’re delicious! You take cucumbers and onion, grill them until they have a good amount of smoke and char, and then make homemade quick pickles with them. They’re really beautiful and make excellent gifts. When people come to dinner, I like to set the pickles out in the center of the table as a sort of centerpiece—they’re so much better than flowers because you can eat them!

Reprinted with permission from Fire & Smoke