About a month ago we decided it was finally time to cook the gigantic 16lb pork shoulder we have had in our freezer ever since we bought our last hog (hint: almost a year now). Rather than eat leftovers for weeks we decided to throw a party where the centerpiece was a huge brined and smoked hunk of pork. Doesn’t that sound like the best centerpiece ever?
The pork was pretty amazing on its own. However, we are sauce people at heart. Marc has been known to whip up a batch of his favorite Thai peanut sauce and pour it over just enough rice to make it appear as if he is not eating only sauce. The problem with commercial bbq sauces is that they tend to be loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup and light on things like tomatoes and spices. So we figured we had best make our own. Besides, if we are going to spend 11 hours smoking fresh pork, why would we let someone else add the final touch in the form of a sauce?
Turns out that this project was really pretty simple. As a matter of fact, we already had all of the ingredients in the house, no shopping necessary. Gently saute some onion and garlic in oil, add all of the ingredients, simmer 15 minutes and it’s pretty much done. A final whiz in the blender to make a nice smooth sauce and it was ready to go. So easy… why haven’t we done this in the past?
Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce
Adapted from Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn
1/2 cup (70 grams) chopped onion
1 tbls (18 grams) chopped garlic
1 tbls (15 ml) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (25 ml) cider vinegar
1/2 cup (125 ml) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbls (4 grams) dry mustard powder
2 tablespoons (26 grams) dark brown sugar
2 tbls (16 grams) paprika
1 tbls (15 grams) kosher salt
1 tsp (3 grams) cayenne pepper
1 cup (250 ml) catsup (we like Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup because it actually tastes like tomatoes, you could substitute the same volume of tomato puree if you would like)
Start with a medium sized heavy bottom sauce pan and heat the vegetable oil (or use olive oil if you want that flavor as part of your sauce). Add the onion and garlic and gently saute until soft but not browned.
Add in the cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, dark brown sugar, paprika, kosher salt and cayenne pepper. Stir the ingredients together and bring to a gentle simmer. Add in the catsup, return to a simmer and set your timer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to make sure the mixture isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pan.
After 15 minutes of simmering, remove the pan from the heat and allow to slightly cool before blending. Using a blender, puree the mixture until smooth. Please, please, please be careful blending hot or warm liquids. The steam builds up and can cause the sauce to splatter all over, creating both a mess and potentially burning you. To avoid this, puree in small batches and remove the top from the blender lid to allow the excess steam to be released.
This is a nice, slightly tangy bbq sauce that is great on meats of all kinds (especially smoked ones!). It would also make a great base for a bbq chicken pizza (like this one). Makes about 2 cups and stores up to a week or so in the fridge.