So I was making a pulled-pork for some excellent visitors we were having at the office. These folks, although work colleagues, were actually visiting us while on vacation! Their office is out in Colorado, and our office is here in Maine (the corporate office is in Nashville), and they were on vacation to New England – decided to drop in for a spell.
Now, these folks work in Colorado, but used to live in Texas. They know their BBQ, and there were a number of “gauntlets” thrown about how New Englanders use Hamburger Helper and call it “bar-b-que.” Ha! 🙂
I decided to go with pulled-pork – it has universal appeal, and the pork here is of higher quality than the beef, and they get plenty of beef out west. Okay pulled-pork. I’ve done that a bunch, felt good, felt peppy. But I always try to do something new or different with each cook, and this time I decided to sauce the pork at serving time, which meant I needed a killer sauce!
After searching the Intertubes, and doing a few test batches, I found what I was looking for… a KC-style sauce with multiple dimensions of heat, a diversity of sweet, and a thick, glossy, scrumptious texture.
I actually had to make two batches of the final sauce, because once I started testing… I couldn’t stop eating it! I just sat there and ate three full cups of sauce… and I tell you, in a less forgiving culture I would have been arrested for sexual harassment for what I did to that pan of sauce!
3 T olive oil
1 small sweet onion
4 cloves garlic, roughly minced
2 c good ketchup
1/2 c yellow mustard
1/2 c cider vinegar
1/4 c teriyaki or soy sauce
1/4 c lemon juice (about two lemons)
1/3 c dark molasses
1/4 c local honey
1 t hot sauce (your favorite)
shot of bourbon
2 T chili powder (bonus for chipotle powder)
1 t pepper
1 t kosher salt
1 c brown sugar
Get a pot hot, add the oil, cut up the onions and garlic. Add the onions to the hot oil, cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds.
Once the garlic has gotten fragrant, add dry ingredients except for the brown sugar. Let the hot oil extract some of the goodness from the dry stuff… maybe a minute or two. Then add the wet ingredients. Stir it all up, and bring to a boil. Add brown sugar, and return to boil. Then, reduce heat, and let it simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes. The goal is to reduce the liquid and thicken up the sauce, but not too much.
Makes 3-4 cups, depending on the degree of reduction.
This sauce is thick and smooth. You get an immediate punch of heat, but it dies away and the various sweets start to take over. Following all that is a bit of trailing heat. Damn… I used it to sauce the pulled-pork, and on the side for anyone who wanted more. Would also be brilliant on ribs, or, as I discovered, eaten all by itself!
[Thanks to Allison Everett for the use of a special phrase.]