Monday, May 18, 2009

Nothing Could Be Finer than Carolina-ish BBQ

My native state, South Carolina, is the only state that produces all four major types of barbecue sauce: (1) Ketchup-based, the kind that comes to mind first to most people; (2) Vinegar and pepper, which is epitomized in the barbecue produced at the political hotspot Brown's BBQ in Kingstree, South Carolina; (3) Tomato, which is the vinegar and pepper with tomato added to it; and (4) Mustard. It's the South Carolina King of Barbecue Sauces, because it's the only one that's uniquely South Carolina. Click here to see a map of the SC barbecue sauce regions.

I'm partial to the mustard sauce, both because of its uniqueness and because it's based in the Midlands region. I spent my first 22 years in the Upstate, Ketchup Country, but I'm emotionally a Midlands person. Not that anyone cares about that!

Anyway, I made an awesome homemade mustard bbq sauce tonight. I used my sauce on some chicken breast tenderloin: cooked the chicken in a pot of diluted sauce, then pulled the juicy tenderloins with two forks to mimic pulled pork. Finally, I reduced the sauce back down and spooned it atop the pulled chicken. I also made a chicken curry, but the flavor profile isn't right. I'll experiment with it more and let you know...

Here's my bbq sauce recipe. Disclaimer: It's not at all authentic, but it is tasty and mustard-based!

Monica's Carolina-ish Mustard BBQ Sauce

Stuff you need:

  • 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
  • 2 tbsp. regular yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried ground sage
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup Splenda or other sweetener (maybe Stevia?)
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 large red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, rough chopped
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 packet chicken stock concentrate (I use Trader Joe's low-sodium version.) You can obviously use veggie stock bullion or concentrate to keep this on the vegan side.
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tiny pinch of celery seeds
  • 2 cups of water, divided

What you do:

Saute the onions and garlic in the chicken stock concentrate on medium-high heat until translucent. The concentrate should start sticking to the pan. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of water and stir vigorously to get the concentrate off the bottom of the pan. Then mix in all of the ingredients except the rest of the water and the Splenda. Cook them together for about 5 minutes, then add the rest of the water. Cook this down on medium heat for 7 minutes, or until it starts to thicken up and seems a little thinner than the "right" consistency for a slatherable BBQ sauce. Add the Splenda. Cook until the sauce is a good, slatherable, pourable consistency. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving.

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