Yesterday I got into a conversation about barbecue sauce with a North Carolina native. If you’re not from here, you don’t know how volatile a topic that can be. It’s akin to someone exclaiming that they love politics and then not going on to explain which side of the political coin they favor.
My friend said that she loved barbecue sauce. I said, ‘Huh.’ I know better than to do any more than that. North Carolina’s barbecue war is big enough that I stay out of the crossfire.
Luckily, Angie turned out to be like me, a lover of both the tomato based sauce and its vinegar counterpart. We smiled and enjoyed the barbecue bond that had been created.
Texas barbecue is another of those things that’s extremely controversial. In fact, when I first saw the segment for Texas in the ‘Liquid Gold’ section of this month’s issue of Food Network Magazine, my first thought was, ‘which part of Texas?” As in North Carolina, the sauce varies depending upon where you are.
In this case, the magazine took us to central Texas, where the sauce is more of a side dish than something you cook on the meat. It’s absolutely unique unto itself. The meat that’s used is also 99.9% beef, not pork.Which is why I had to try it.
This couldn’t be easier. It’s a matter of throwing everything into a sauce pan and letting it simmer until the onions are soft. Once that’s done, the sauce sits and develops for at least an hour (longer is always better though).
This is hard to answer. If you’re expecting typical barbecue sauce, this ain’t it. In fact, I my personal inkling would be to say that this isn’t barbecue sauce whatsoever. It’s more like gravy, or the kind of stuff you’d use on a meatball sub (it would be really, really good on a meatball sub, by the way).
Dudette initially said that she didn’t like this but she kept shoving it into her mouth, bite after bite after bite. Hubby said it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t something he’d care for a repeat performance of (but then again, he hasn’t tried it as a meatball sub). I thought it was pretty good, but definitely not barbecue sauce. It had the tomato flavor, but the beef stock and bacon drippings took it in a different direction.
The other surprise was how watery the sauce was. Where most tout their thickness and ability to stick to meat, this wasn’t anything like that. It’s very, very liquidy.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d make a meatball sub and spoon it over that (are you surprised?).
- 1½ cups beef stock or broth
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ small onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Combine the beef stock, ketchup, onion, bacon drippings, ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ to 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to let the flavors develop, at least 1 hour. Reheat the sauce before serving.
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