At just 14, East Coweta High School freshman Rylee Wright has already had quite an extraordinary cooking career. Her love for the grill began when she was very young, and by age eight, she received her very own Big Green Egg, an item that had been on her Christmas list since she was four years old. She laughs, “I always saw my dad cooking on one so that really pushed it. I just wanted one of my own!”
The Steak Princess—a name bestowed upon her by a competitor at a grill off—now has a collection of eight different grills and smokers, and she is well-versed in and uses every single one of them.
Rylee entered the competitive cooking arena with the Steak Cookoff Association at age 11 and has been racking up the wins for her steaks, wings, and hot dogs ever since. She was the winner of the first ever ladies’ Steak Cookoff and was the first woman to win two cookoff events in the same day. Recently, she got her Golden Ticket to move on to compete in Fort Worth later this year.
The Senoia teen who lives with her parents, Russell and Karen, says cooking is, and always has been, a family affair. “I am an only child so cooking is something we are able to do together. I learned most of my grilling skills from my dad, but my mom also cooks and competes with us. Baking and canning, I learned from my mom.”
Rylee answered a few questions for Southern Woman about her goals and her life in the industry:
What would you like to do with your cooking career? Do you plan to open a restaurant or something similar?
I would like to continue to cook. I am not sure if I want to be a chef or continue what I am doing now with my rubs and other things. I currently have two rubs out and hope to have two more out within the next 6–8 weeks. I have also been working on pickled veggies and a candied jalapeño recipe both using my rubs.
You have your own line of Steak Princess rubs. Where can people buy them locally?
TLC Farm to Fork in Sharpsburg and ACE Beer Growlers in downtown Newnan both currently have them. I also plan to have them on my website: www.steakprincessbbq.com. At this time, we are currently sold out but hope to be restocked in the next 2–3 weeks. There are also several other online locations.
Do you have an idea of what you’d like to do after high school?
I have been told Ole Miss is looking at starting a culinary program, so I would like to attend there if this happens. I want to go to a SEC school because I am a big football fan, plus they all have soccer programs. I also want to continue to compete in the Steak Cookoff Association and KCBS. I qualified to go to World Foods in Texas this year cooking in the seafood and steak categories. I am not sure if I will be able to attend this year, so I would like to continue to work towards qualifying again.
What other extracurricular activities do you participate in and what do you love about them?
I play soccer. I was the goalie for my middle school. I hope to continue to play in high school but backed out of club play due to my cooking. I just love sports in general. I also like being a part of a team.
What do you like to do with your friends?
When I have time we just hang out. I have been lucky enough to meet a lot of great people cooking and have become really good friends with several other teenagers around the U.S. I love when we can compete together on the weekends.
Do you listen to music while you cook?
I actually have a cooking playlist. It helps me stay relaxed and to not overthink so much. Especially since I cook against so many adults.
Rylee puts anything and everything on the grill from appetizers to main dishes to desserts! “You can really do anything on all of them,” she says, from wings to pizza to desserts like cobblers, pound cake, and cookies. She shared two of her favorite recipes so we can try them out on our own grills:
Rack of Lamb on the Big Green Egg
- 2 racks of lamb, French cut (I like wrapping each individual bone with a piece of foil)
- 1 good all-purpose rub (This is just a salt, pepper, and garlic rub. I usually use A.P. Seasoning from Killer Hogs Barbecue or make my own!)
- 1 good BBQ rub (I’ve used a variety of rubs including my own Beauty and the Beef)
- Start Big Green Egg and let the temperature come up to 425 degrees for direct heat. I like adding a chunk of peach or cherry wood for a light smoke.
- Season both sides of lamb with the A.P. Seasoning.
- Place lamb on cooking grate bone side down for 2–4 minutes to get a good sear.
- Flip each lamb to sear the other side for 2–4 minutes.
- Remove lamb from Egg and then set it up for indirect heat, reducing grill temperature to 325 degrees.
- Season both sides of lamb with your BBQ rub.
- Once Egg decreases to 325 degrees, I place my lamb on it standing with bones interlocked.
- Insert a good probe thermometer (I use a Flame Boss) in the center of the lamb, and set the temp to 128 degrees.
- Once the alarm sounds that the lamb has reached an internal temperature of 128, I remove it from the smoker and let it rest for about 8–10 minutes before cutting into chops.
Triple Berry Cobbler
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2 sticks melted unsalted Challenge Butter
- 5 cups of your favorite fresh berries (I usually use 2 cups blackberries, 1.5 cups of raspberries and 1.5 cups of blueberries)
- 1–1.5 cups of sugar
- Set a pellet cooker or smoker to 375 degrees.
- Mix the berries with sugar and let them sit for about 20 minutes to form a syrup (I start with 1 cup of sugar and add more if needed).
- Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and milk together.
- Stir in melted butter just until blended.
- Pour into a deep-dish cast iron skillet (lightly greased) or 13×9 greased pan.
- Spoon berry mixture over batter.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 45–60 minutes or until the dough rises and turns a golden brown. Time varies depending on the temperature of your grill.
- **We have used the triple berry frozen mixture from the grocery stores; we just like fresh berries better, especially if we can pick them!
Keep up with Rylee to check out her competition wins, cooking tips, recipes, and more on social media!
Facebook: Steak Princess BBQ
Youtube: Steak Princess BBQ
TikTok: Steak Princess BBQ