How to host a backyard barbecue like Pauli and Chip Wade

The HGTV faves’ outdoor kitchen gives the family plenty of elbow room
Wade patio
The Wades built a spacious outdoor patio where they could hang out with friends and family.

Photograph by Raftermen

Wade kids
Photograph by Raftermen

Chip Wade and I first met about seven years ago when we were both cast on an HGTV pilot called 1010. The show was never picked up, but luckily our friendship has endured. When we met, Chip had just become a father. His adorable wife, Pauli, would bring their son Mac to the set every day. Now seven, Mac has been joined by sister Mara, age four, and brother JT, age two.

Star of several HGTV shows, including the Emmy-winning Elbow Room, Chip has also appeared with the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah. He and Pauli, a CPA turned real estate agent, met when they were both cheerleaders at Georgia Tech, where Chip earned a degree in mechanical engineering and Pauli graduated first in her class in the School of Management.

Off camera, the creative couple have collaborated on running a comprehensive architecture, design, real estate, and production company called Wade Works, as well as on building their dream home in Cumming. With their tricked-out kitchen and beautifully landscaped yard, it’s obvious that entertaining is a priority for this family. Recently I was fortunate to join them for a summer cookout.

Chip Wade grilling
The Wades love to cook outdoors—so much so that they own a stainless steel grill and two Big Green Eggs.

Photograph by Raftermen

Pauli and Chip’s mom, Jill, put together a beautiful spread. In the kitchen, two sinks and a large center island with a custom drink basin make it easy for several cooks to work at once. A dining area is conveniently right outside—where a massive grill and two Big Green Eggs prove that Chip loves to barbecue.

We had a grand time playing outdoor games with the children and Chip’s family and friends, and the food was delicious. We started with homemade guacamole and salsa, along with watermelon margaritas. And as we gathered at the table, the summer sun bathed us in a warm glow—a picturesque setting from a couple who know a thing or two about a well-designed life.

The Menu

Watermelon margaritas

Salsa verde

Sun-dried tomato grilled flank steak with pickled onions

Grilled corn with cilantro butter


Wade margaritas
Photograph by Raftermen

Watermelon Margaritas
Serves 6

• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup water
• 3 wide strips orange peel
• 8 cups watermelon, cubed, with seeds removed
• 1 cup fresh lime juice
• 2 cups white or silver tequila
• 6 watermelon wedges, for garnish

In a small saucepan, bring sugar, water, and orange peel to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Let syrup cool in a bowl, then discard orange peel. In a blender, puree watermelon cubes until smooth. Strain into a pitcher through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing on solids (this should yield about 1 cup of juice). Stir in syrup, lime juice, and tequila. Fill salt-rimmed glasses with ice, then pour margarita mixture over the top. Garnish with watermelon wedges.

Wade guacamole
Homemade guacamole is easy to make and delicious.

Photograph by Raftermen

Serves 6 to 8

• 4 ripe avocados
• 3 tablespoons lime juice
• ½ cup chopped tomatoes
• 2 cloves minced garlic
• ¼ red onion, finely diced
• ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• ¼ teaspoon sea salt
• 5 drops hot sauce, optional

Halve avocados and scoop flesh into a bowl; smash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine with the fork.

Salsa Verde
Makes 3 cups

• 12 to 15 tomatillos, husked
• 5 garlic cloves
• 2 green chiles
• 1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 tablespoons lime juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, toss tomatillos, garlic cloves, chiles, and onion in olive oil and salt. Transfer the mixture to a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool. Place roasted vegetables into the bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade. Add cilantro and lime juice and pulse for 5 seconds. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving, to allow the flavors to marry.

Grilled Corn with Cilantro Butter
Serves 6

• 6 ears of corn, cleaned
• 1 stick of butter, slightly softened
• 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1 teaspoon salt

Combine butter, cilantro, and salt. Shape into a disk and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Parboil corn for 10 minutes, then finish cooking it on the grill for 5 minutes, until grill marks form. Serve with the butter.

Wade flank steak
The flank steaks were marinated in a sun-dried tomato paste and served with pickled onions.

Photograph by Raftermen

Sun-Dried Tomato Grilled Flank Steak
Serves 4 to 6

• 1 (3-pound) flank steak
• 4-ounce jar of sun-dried
tomatoes in oil
• 4 cloves garlic
• 4 tablespoons fresh rosemary
• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• ¼ cup ketchup
• Salt and pepper

Put all ingredients except the steak into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 1 minute or until ingredients form a paste. Coat the steak completely in the marinade, then place steak in a plastic bag and keep in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or up to overnight.

To cook, grill the steak for 5 to 8 minutes on one side, then turn and grill 5 to 8 minutes more, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the steak reads 130°F to 135°F (medium well). Let meat rest for 15 minutes, then cut into thin slices against the grain. Serve warm or at room temperature with pickled
onions (recipe below).

Pickled Onions
Serves 4 to 6

• 1½ cups red wine vinegar
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 to 5 whole cloves
• 1 large red onion, sliced

Place vinegar, sugar, salt, and cloves in a saucepan and simmer for 2 minutes. Add onion slices and simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let the onions sit until cooled, then transfer onions and liquid to a mason jar. Can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Serve with the flank steak.

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.