Sunday, July 4, 2010

Mom's Barbecue Sauce

Growing up in St. Louis, I could always tell when summer had officially arrived. Yes, school was out. Yes, I would ride my bike to swim practice every morning at the crack of dawn. And, yes, Grease 2 was playing on HBO on indefinite repeat. But, for me, the beginning summer was marked when, in our refrigerator, an old Peter Pan Peanut Butter jar with a red lid appeared filled to the rim with Carl's Barbecue Sauce.

My entire childhood existence was set in suburban St. Louis, save for a brief stint in Connecticut. As is often the case with the youngest child, it is difficult to imagine that my family had a life before I had blessed them with my birth. Much to my surprise, there were a host of experiences in exotic locales such as Orlando, FL or Laredo, TX that I would never know. It was in Orlando (I believe) where my parents became great friends with another couple, Carl and Sandy. As most young couples do, they spent time together socializing, planning dinner parties, and making wonderful 60s dishes like tomato aspic, rumaki, and fondue. It was during this time that Carl developed his barbecue sauce recipe.

A couple of years ago, I was visiting my mother (who still lives in the house of my childhood) and asked if we could make it. This recipe is one of the most ridiculous things you have ever seen. It has about 40 different ingredients and a few bizarre measuring techniques. But, it creates one of the most deliciously tangy and sweet sauces, and it was the taste sensation of my youth. At the end of my visit, Mom wrote out the recipe on an index card and slipped it into my bag. It now resides inside a cookbook in my kitchen, stained, well worn, and full of reminiscence.

Although the recipe may be Carl's, it will always remind me of Mom.

Mom's Barbecue Sauce

1 Tbl Tabasco
1 Tbl liquid smoke
2 Tbl lemon juice
2 Tbl olive oil
1 Tble horseradish
3/4 cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
dash of crumbled rosemary
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 pkg Onion soup mix
16 oz tomato sauce
3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped (this was my addition - optional)
1 stick of butter (my mom called it "oleo"...isn't that cute!)
2 cups of water.
3 Tbl cornstarch

Basically bring all of this to a simmer and add in the cornstarch. Cook until thick. If using the peppers, blend until smooth before adding cornstarch.

This is fantastic on grilled salmon! Serve with grilled asparagus and Grilled Peaches and Red Onions.

Grilled Peaches and Red Onions

6 peaches, cut into slices
1 red onion, cut into 1/2" rounds
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 Tbl fresh tarragon leaves
1 clove garlic
2 Tbl rice wine vinegar
3/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat grill pan or outdoor grill over medium/high heat. Brush grill lightly with oil to prevent sticking. Working in batches, place peaches and onions on grill, cooking just long enough to get grill marks. Set aside in a bowl to cool.

In a small saucepan, bring OJ to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer until reduced by half. Set aside to cool. Once cooled, combine with tarragon, garlic, vinegar in a small food processor until good and mashed up. With the motor running, drizzle in olive oil. Pour over peaches, add salt and pepper to taste.

Great as a side or combined with arugula as a salad.

No comments:

Post a Comment