BBQ as homework

This coming weekend is Memorial Day weekend. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always get to this part of the year and think, “golly, that went fast!” The school year is almost over, the pools are opening again, the weather is warm and everyone is itching to welcome summer with gusto. So, the folks at my local e-paper thought this was a perfect week for me to write about barbeque.

I have to confess, I am not the biggest barbeque fan. But, every now and again, there is nothing better. Since this was not in my cooking sweet spot, I viewed this assignment as a challenge. And, after a week of lots of test barbeque in my house I can safely say that there are two secrets to good barbeque: the sauce and grilling over indirect heat. Truth be told, there are a lot of great bottled barbeque sauces out there. But, like anything else, a good homemade sauce really is worth the effort. I made and taste tested several sauces this week and was surprised by the clear winner: it’s secret ingredient- cola.

But, here is where secret number two comes in-indirect heat. If you are not careful with your grilling, you won’t be able to taste the sauce! And that defeats the whole purpose of barbeque! So, if using charcoal, bank your coals to one side of your grill and cook over the other side. If using gas, turn on only part of your grill, and again, cook over the other side. It will take longer to cook your steak, chicken or ribs- but the flavor you keep will make it all worthwhile.

There really is no better way to kick off summer than a great barbeque. For sides, keep it simple. I like corn on the cob with basil and prosciutto butter and a green salad chock full of veggies. Remember- you don’t have to make everything- you can buy great sides from a deli or market. And, as you bite into your barbeque- make sure to have plenty of wet wipes! You’ll need ‘em!

Cola Barbeque Sauce
Adapted from The Food Network Kitchens Get Grilling-makes 2 cups
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ t sea salt
3 c cola
1/2 c bourbon
1 ½ c ketchup
¼ c cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 slightly heaping T of chili powder
2 t chipotle pepper flakes (available at Fairway)
1 t ground pepper
¼ t ground allspice
1 ½ T freshly squeezed lime juice
hot sauce for seasoning

Mix all the ingredients except the lime juice together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer until thickened-about 45-50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and stir in lime juice. Season with hot sauce to taste.
Can be made up to a week ahead. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Butter with Prosciutto and Basil for Corn on the Cob

1 stick of butter, melted
3 T finely chopped fresh basil
3 T. minced Prosciutto

Mix the basil and the prosciutto into the butter. Brush on corn. Serve immediately.

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One Comment

  1. Christopher Mines
    Posted May 25, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hey CC, I think you want to substitute Marker’s Mark for the cola and then you are good to go. And hardwood charcoal is a must; no briquets and certainly NOT GAS.

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