Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cooking With Rickey: Rickey’s Bitchin’ BBQ Sauce

Ah, the Fourth of July. A day when our nation pauses to reflect upon its proud history by gorging itself silly on charred beef, chicken, and pork. A day of unabashed feasting and wanton disregard for the AMA approved Body Mass Index. Now we’re not going to tell you how to grill your food because being an honest to goodness carnivore, you already know all of that already, don’t you? So in honor of our great nation’s 232nd birthday, we’ve decided to discuss a substance that has emerged as a symbol of our country’s treasured values of democracy, free expression, and tolerance for individual difference: barbeque sauce.

Face it, what other commodity inspires such raw creativity, passionate debate and celebration of regional differences? Call us nuts, but more than any fireworks display, John Philips Sousa anthem, or giant flag, barbeque sauce gives Rickey an appreciation for rugged American individualism. For those philistines who have foolishly resorted to purchasing store brand BBQ sauces, the basic elements of any good homemade sauce are:

-Ketchup (or catsup, if you will)
-Sugar (usually brown sugar or molasses)
-Something acidic to balance the sweetness (most commonly cider vinegar and/or lemon juice)
-Hot hot heat (often Tabasco or dried chile powders like ancho or paprika)

A lot of folks like tossing in whiskey--these people are jackasses, pay them no mind. Rickey doesn't like wasting perfectly good liquor and besides, you don’t really need the flavor for this recipe. Now, unlike the armies of artisanal sauce makers who safeguard their recipes as if they were intellectual property, Rickey’s going to share his personal BBQ sauce recipe with you. We’re doing this because we here at RwR espouse the notion of one great nation united by its zealous love for barbeque sauce. Inspired by Horatio Alger-like barqecue sauce success stories, Rickey considered getting all entrepreneurial and trying to sell his sauce, but our crack legal team has strongly advised us against using Rickey Henderson’s name to turn a profit. Oh well. Anyhow, here’s what you’ll need for the concoction:

  • 1 cup fresh ground espresso beans
  • 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup catsup
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • ½ oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp crushed red pepper or chile powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

In a large saucepan, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil and butter. As the onion begins to soften, add the spices and continue to sauté the mixture for a few more minutes. Then add the liquids. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the saucepan, then quarter the half-lemon and toss it into the pan. Add the chocolate and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more brown sugar or vinegar to taste. The longer you let it sit, the more flavor develops. Mazel tov, you’re done. Either let your meats soak in this sauce overnight or brush it on just before grilling. It’s up to you, you’re the hero if this story, not us.

And when it’s time to grill, give serious consideration to cooking your food on this:

No, that’s not a Doom Weapon, that folks, is a BBQ grill (and a major reason why Rickey is never ever moving to Texas). Happy Fourth of July everybody, now pick up a spatula and a pair of tongs and make with the grilling.

Rickey's feeling frisky, what say we give this a shot again, shall we?

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Haley said...

Oh my. I'm as impressed with the craftiness of your homemade label as by the sauce! Who knew Rickey Henderson was into the paper arts.

Rickey Henderson said...

Thanks! (Rickey's just surprised that no one has jumped on him for calling it his "special reserve black label" when in fact the label is white.)

Alex L said...

esspresso beans?

I'm a little scared now, but oddly intrigued.

Smitty said...

I am having a massive rack of ribs for dinner this coming Saturday. I am making the sauce this week so it sits in the fridge a few days to get even tastier.

I can't wait.

George said...

Whole new meaning to "fire up the grill."