Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Barbeque Sauce

Well Spring is here, at least in part, and with warmer weather comes...grilling. Hands down one of my favorite things in the world is grilling. With grilling comes barbecue sauce. Now there are some good commercial sauces available, but it is SO EASY to make your own, so why wouldn't you? Here's how.

Start with a base layer of ketchup and apple cider vinegar. I just eyeball it. Add some brown sugar, some Worcester, and the spices of your choice. I usually use onion powder, garlic power, white pepper, salt, cayenne pepper (for some kick) and a couple of dashes of red pepper flakes. Be careful with the pepper flakes, because they really add a lot of spice when they cook. A whisk is the perfect tool for integrating the components.

Now comes the fun part. The most important thing to add is... a secret ingredient. This can be any flavor you want. From whiskey, to beer, citrus, or any kind of juice, coffee, the sky is the limit. I really like adding some bourbon or whiskey, as it gives a great rich, complex, smoky flavor. If I also like to add some water before I let it simmer. This gives some extra liquid to evaporate as the sauce thickens. Let it simmer until the sauce reaches your desired consistency (should take about half an hour).

Now start charcoal! I used this sauce on some chicken tenderloins, which I started with olive oil, salt and pepper, and threw on a hot grill. I don't add the sauce early, because all of the sugar tends to burn, which is no good. Caramelization, however, is what you are after. I also skewered some baby bella mushrooms, and hit them with some olive oil salt and pepper as well.

Once the under side of the chicken is white, turn them and apply sauce. I keep the mushrooms on the outside, as they don't require the same heat and you want them to cook more slowly.

I keep the lid open and continuously basted the chicken, taking care not to let it burn, constantly moving pieces to different parts of the grill depending on which areas are the hottest. The thin tenderloins cook very quickly, so this doesn't take long. I like mine to be a bit crispy and these turned out perfect. The mushrooms were beyond delicious, and these were the star ingredients in a healthy, delicious weeknight salad.

Look at that char grilled flavor! Yum.

Some peppers, homemade croutons and homemade butter milk ranch (recipe to come later) made for an awesome, delicious, healthy weeknight main course salad.

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