Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Too Much Pork

I do love my grills. Not as much as my girls, but there are more of the former. I have a three-burner Weber gas grill that I bought when we moved to Olympia in 2003. It came with us to Egypt, where our driver helped me hook it up to the benzene tanks that many use for cooking in Cairo (the door-to-door sellers announce themselves my banging a wrench on the tanks as they walk down the street), and now it anchors our deck, where it is starting to show its age. I also have a 29" Weber kettle that I use for big projects (like Thanksgiving) and indirect cooking, and a little Weber "Smoky Joe" that I bought to economize on charcoal. I'll use it for steaks, burgers and the like--things that cook pretty quickly over direct heat. For some reason, it does not work well with the lid on.

One thing that I don't really do at home, though, is Carolina barbeque. The truth is, sotto voce, that I just don't like it as well as the other styles. Chopped or sliced pork in a sauce of vinegar and pepper can be good, and lots of folks are passionate about it, but I'll take ribs, brisket or chicken with a sweet and spicy tomato-based sauce every time.

I've blogged before about my love of the sauce from Windsor's Tunnel Bar-B-Q, and in addition to that, my house sauce is a variation on a recipe from The New Basics, which I've modified by adding a little orange juice and replacing the malt vinegar with cider vinegar. I also like a recipe from the Washington Post a couple of years ago for a mustard-based South Carolina sauce, and I do some Mexican, Asian and Mediterranean-inspired cooking, but I'll save those for another time, and keep this all-American.

Which brings me to the inspiration for today's post. One of the blogs I follow is Dad Cooks Dinner, and the author takes grilling a lot more seriously than I. He loves his rotisserie, and posted last week about a legendary "white" barbeque sauce, which was invented at Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Alabama. Doesn't this smack of authenticity? How could I not try the recipe? It's basically just mayonnaise and vinegar, with a little apple juice, horseradish and cayenne. But I'd never heard of mayonnaise in a barbeque sauce. Was I about to unlock another barbeque secret?

Sadly, no. It wasn't bad, and it did make a nice coating for my drumsticks, but it's not as good as any of the three aforementioned sauces. I need to try it again, when expectations are lower, before I pronounce final judgment, but it didn't have the chin-wiping "wow" factor that makes a great barbeque sauce. Oh well. It was a fun experiment nonetheless.

In case you might be interested, I've posted my house recipe below. I guessed on the measure of orange juice, and I'll sometimes throw in a little zest, but it's all good, as we used to say in 1992.

BBQ Sauce
Heat 2 tbs vegetable oil in a pan. Add half an onion, chopped, and saute, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves of garlic, minced. 1 tsp cumin and 1/4 tsp cayenne and saute another minute. Stir in 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp liquid smoke. Simmer 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

And to cap it off, here's the Triangle's own Southern Culture on the Skids performing the song that inspired the title of this post.

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