Monday, June 13, 2011

More Barbeque! Now with Homemade Sauce!

In case you're new around these parts, I'll let you in on a little secret: I am a barbeque lover and I firmly believe that barbeque is made of pigs! I love PORK! I have also been working on my barbecue skills for a while now. You can check out my dry rub over here.

Darren and I started making our own barbeque sauce a few months ago. We started with this cola-based sauce and even tried it with root beer. It was pretty good, but there was something missing in my opinion, so we added a little cayenne and some liquid smoke. Those things improved the sauce, but it was still lacking, in my opinion. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I considered fruit juices, since fruits are used in lots of marinades for meat.

I read the back of a few bottles of commercial sauces, and many of those have juices or concentrates in them. I also thought about a soul food place in Fulton, Missouri, that I went to once with a friend from grad school.  I don't remember the name of that place, and have no idea if it even exists anymore, but the owner was also the chef, and he made his barbeque sauce from scratch. I remember that it had little bits of pineapple floating around in it, and I started looking around the web for sauces with pineapple. I found this one, and used it and the cola sauce as a guide to develop my sauce. I made this sauce to go with some crockpot pulled pork, which is an easy way to make pork without heating up the kitchen during the summer. I could also use it on my ribs, but I'm going with pork sandwiches this week.

Pork was on sale at Fry's this week, so by the time I went to the grocery store on Sunday afternoon, all of the pork loins and small roasts were gone. I bought a ~7.5 lb. pork butt for two people. I cut it into three 2-3 lb. portions and froze the other two. We'll be eating high on the hog for a while yet. [Side Note: One of Darren's college roommates wouldn't eat pork butt, because he said he wouldn't eat butt. Pork butt is from the high shoulder of the pig. Ham is actually much closer to the butt.]

Using my trusty mandoline, I sliced up some onion and lined the crockpot with it.
It is not easy to take pictures of white onions on a white cutting board or counter.
I rinsed the pork butt, patted it dry, and trimmed some of the fat. I left a thin layer of fat to help it cook without drying out. I seasoned the pork butt with salt, pepper, cayenne, red pepper, and brown sugar, laid it on top of the bed of onions fat side up, and poured some pineapple juice over it. Then I set the crockpot to high and went to make my barbeque sauce.
I used some of the left over onion slices for the sauce. I minced up about three slices or so. I also made a garlic paste with about 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic and some salt.

Then I melted some butter in a sauce pan over medium-low heat and added the onion and garlic.

I cooked those for five minutes or so until they were soft and fragrant. Then I added some cola and increased the heat to medium.
I let this cook for a while until most of the carbon dioxide had escaped, and it stopped hissing at me. Beware of too high heat at this step. With all of the escaping gas, it is very easy for this to boil over.

Once the carbon dioxide escaped, I added the ketchup, pineapple juice, and cider vinegar.

Then I let this mixture come to a rolling boil and boiled it for ten minutes. Then I added the sweet stuff (and the savory)! I poured in some brown sugar, molasses, liquid smoke, and Worcestershire and stirred that around to dissolve the sugar.

Now it's time for some kick! I added hot sauce, black pepper, salt, and cayenne.
After stirring the sauce around and making sure everything was mixed and letting it boil for another couple of minutes, I removed it from the heat and added the juice of half of a lime.
Then I tasted it, decided it needed a little more heat and added an extra tablespoon of hot sauce and a couple of dashes of liquid smoke. When I tasted it again, I could feel a nice, mild burn at the back of my throat. I pronounced this sauce done and let it cool. Then I poured some into a Mason jar and put that aside in the refrigerator, and I put the rest in a tupperware to use with the pulled pork that was cooking away in the crockpot. My kitchen smelled like HEAVEN!
Look at that delicious, sticky brown barbeque sauce! As I've said before, I encourage you to take my recipe and tailor it to your taste. I think this is the best sauce I've ever made, but I might continue to tweak it in the future. The cola sauce that I started with doesn't have onion. I definitely think that is part of the lack in that sauce, but it isn't deep or layered, in my opinion. I think I've developed a nice sauce with some sweet, some heat, and a little complexity.

After a few hours, it was back to the pork. I removed the pork from the crockpot. It was falling apart, so I knew it would be good. I poured the liquid from the crockpot through a collander to reserve the onions. Then, I picked out the bones, scraped away as much fat as possible, and shredded the pork in the crockpot. I also put the onions back in the crockpot.

I added sauce to the meat and set the crockpot to warm.
I forgot to take pictures of the finished sandwiches, but they were delicious!

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