The barbecue sauce, to me, is what distinguishes great grilled meat and chicken from the rest. If applied at the right time, good barbecue sauce enhances the taste and appearance of grilled foods to the point of being mouth-wateringly irresistible. Folks new to grilling often make the mistake of basting foods too early. It’s tempting to do, but a mistake. The sugars in barbecue sauces burn quickly and leave the foods on which they are applied burned and badly blistered. In the extreme, over-charred foods are unrecognizable and save the parts the can be picked free of the burn, inedible. As hard as it may be to wait, save the basting for the last 15 minutes, or so, of grilling and your food will be aglow with color and the sticky goodness that make our lips smack. Folks who like to marinate their foods before grilling should use marinades that are low in sugar, or remember to brush, or wipe, marinades off before placing them on the grill. For safety’s sake, never use the same platter or utensils for both marinating raw food and serving it after it’s cooked, unless they’ve been thoroughly washed. And, be sure to discard any leftover sauce that may contain juices from raw poultry or meat. Unused sauce, free of raw juices, may be placed in a clean jar and stored in the refrigerator or up to 1 month.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at email@example.com.
Molasses and Stout Barbecue Sauce for Beef
1 cup commercially prepared barbecue sauce
1 cup ketchup
2/3 cup stout or dark beer
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Dash, or two, crushed red pepper (optional)
Combine ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl and allow to stand at room temperature for two hours, or refrigerate overnight. Before using, pour sauce in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Makes 3 cups.
Barbecue Sauce with Bourbon
1 small onion, minced
½ cup bourbon whiskey
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups ketchup
¼ cup tomato paste
1/3 cup vinegar
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the onion and whiskey. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Stir in the ground pepper, salt, ketchup, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and Tabasco. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand 30 minutes before using. Makes 3½ cups.
Basic Barbecue Sauce
1¼ cups ketchup
¼ cup chili sauce
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
Mix ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat, allowing to come to room temperature before using. Makes about 2½ cups.
Asian Orange-Spice Basting Sauce for Chicken, Pork and Seafood
¾ cup orange marmalade, homemade or commercially prepared
¼ cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons unflavored rice vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 scallions, including some of the green part, minced
1 tablespoon fresh grated gingerroot
Over medium heat, blend ingredients in a small saucepan, cooking until heated through and bubbly. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every once in awhile. Remove from heat and allow to sit 30 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.
Mini Cornbread Loaves
2/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 2/3 cups milk
2 1/3 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. (If using dark baking pans, decrease temperature to 375 degrees.) Grease and flour 8 (4 x 2.5 x 1.5-inch) mini-loaf pans or line with parchment paper to fit. Sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter with the sugar, stirring well. Add the milk and the eggs, blending until combined. Whisk in the flour mixture, whisking until well mixed. Divide the batter among the loaf pans, filling no more than barely three-quarters full. (If you have leftover batter, use it for making mini-muffins.) Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow loaves to remain in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings. Kitchen Ade Note: Alternatively, this recipe may be baked in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan for about 25 to 30 minutes. To serve, cut into squares.
Safe Cooking Temperatures, New Lows for Pork
The only way to know for sure, whether grilled food is cooked enough to be safely consumed, is to check its internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, the minimal internal temperature for chicken to be safely consumed is 165 degrees throughout, beef steaks, ribs and roasts to 145 degrees and hamburger to 160 degrees. Earlier this month, USDA lowered the safe cooking temperature of pork from 160 degrees to 145 degrees. For more information visit the USDA website at www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/index.asp or call them at, 1-888-674-6854.