Bar-B-Que

To most of us BBQ sauce is that sweet sticky stuff a kind of sugary tomato based sauce that we pour on burgers to give them a BBQ flavour.

But in parts of the US BBQ sauce is a unique experience, with distinct regional flavours.

Major varieties include

Kansas City Sweet Sauces – this is the most well know and nearest to popular the commercial sauces we see in the UK, it is a sweet tomato based sauce sweetened with molasses or brown sugar and finished with vinegar. They are not to be used for marinating as they do not penetrate the meat and burn easily during cooking, they are best used in the last few minutes of cooking when they can caramelise and thicken, adding that sticky sweet/tart coating.

Tennessee Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Tennessee Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Tennessee Whiskey Sauces – In the supermarkets we are now seeing branded BBQ sauces from the US Tennessee Whiskey manufacturers, this has become a major variety of BBQ in the US where is has spread from the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Barbecue competition where they had a sauce category that has to include some Jack Daniel’s. Take a look today in Tesco’s to see how far this variety has spread.

 

Texas BBQ Sauce – big BBQ’s we must be in Texas, it must be years of Dallas on the TV and the scenes of the South Fork BBQ, but in the UK we don’t do real BBQ like they do in US, it is very rare to see anything but a BBQ grill for cooking over hot coals in the UK. Texas BBQ sauce is a used during the slow cooked BBQ typical 12-18 hours of cooking with the sauce used to moisten cool the meat during the cooking process. The sauces are thin based around Vinegar, chilles, black pepper, cumin, onions and a splash of tomato sauce, unlike Kansas sauces there are designed to penetrate the meat

Carolina – BBQ is just one thing, pork, and best of all its pulled port, which is slow cooked like the Texas BBQ, and then pulled (shredded) in the thin strips or shards and topped with BBQ sauce. Carolina has multiple districted type of sauce used during cooking, South Carolina is known for Mustard based sauces. In East Carolina they use much hotter sauces made with Chillies, Black Pepper and Vinegar while in Western Caroline they add Tomato sauce to it.

I hope later this year to be trying to make some real BBQ pulled pork in my offset BBQ smoker.
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Nando's Portuguese BBQ peri-peri marinade

Nando's Portuguese BBQ peri-peri marinade

At first taste it is the tomatoes and vinegar that I noticed, then the lemons and finally a little warmth from the peppery Cayenne peppers. This is a mild chilli sauce, its flavour coming mostly from the tomatoes. I did wonder why they called it a peri-peri marinade as they are well down on the list of ingredients.

We used this to cook BBQ ribs to see how well it cooked on to and marinaded into the meat, unfortunately it did not do very well, and produced a very dull set of ribs, with little stickiness and most of the flavour we had found before cooking was gone, now it was just a slightly peppery tomato sauce.

Ingredients:- Water, Tomato Paste, White Sugar, White Vinegar, Lemons, Spices (Mustard, Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Onion Powder, Black Pepper), Salt, Onions, Sunflower Oil (0.4%), Thickener (E1422), Flavour (Vegetable, Pineapple), Stabilisers (E415, E405), Colour (E150c), Artificial Flavour (Worcester Sauce), Preservative (E202), Serrano Chillies, African Birds Eye Chilli (Peri-Peri Chilli), Bay Leaves

It may have been best not to cook this sauce, but to add it to the food after cooking, so that it retains it flavour. The family generally liked the sauce direct from the bottle, with no negatives, just don’t cook with it.

If I see it at a BBQ, I would be happy to add it to my food, but it will not be on my shopping list. This sauce is available in most UK supermarkets.

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Roadhouse Original Bar-B-Que Sauce

Roadhouse Original Bar-B-Que Sauce

Generally based on Tomatoes, Sugar, Vinegar and Spices, it tends to be the cheaper sauces that contain the most sugar and the least flavour. I am always disappointed to see pre packaged BBQ packs in the supermarket ready coated with cheap sugary BBQ sauces supposibly ready to cook, I cannot think of anything worse to cook on a BBQ.

BBQ’s by their very nature provide heat in extremes, with flames and cold spots as the fat drips and the charcoal burns. BBQ sauces should only be added at the end of cooking, once the meat has been well cooked. Any flavour in the BBQ sauce is then not been burnt away and lost to the flames is burned to the skin making a bitter mess, the tendancy is then to uncook meats like chicken to save the sauce.

If you are going to marinade meat before cooking, I would recommend using dry rubs, if well developed they will add flavour and resist burning (we sent a lot of time creating Hot-Juan’s BBQ rubs, testing the ingredients to see what burned away, before we found a mix that worked on the BBQ or in the grill).

I can recommend a few BBQ sauces that work well, are not over sweet, but will still provide a sticky finish and above all complement your food, either add them at the last few minutes of cooking or to the meat on the plate.

We recommend trying:-
Crazy Charley’s Cajun & BBQ Sauce
Eaton’s Original Jamaican BBQ Sauce
Roadhouse Original Bar-B-Que Sauce
Pappy’s XXX White Lightnin’

If you can keep away from cheap BBQ Sauces with sugar and water as the main ingredients, you BBQ will taste better and you will retain more friends, so just check the labels next time you buy some. Rant complete.

Coming soon, some homemade BBQ sauces and BBQ Rub recipes and how to use them.

 

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