This past Sunday, Crabby and SSSal were invited to an annual Labor Day BBQ. ButterBoyC, a retired banker and ChinaFlyer, a nautical engineer, along with their long suffering wives are the event's hosts. As you might imagine, combining an engineer with a retired banker ensures that the production of this feast is as entertaining as the eating.
Look, Crabby loves his kitchen gadgets, but I've never needed earth moving equipment, power tools or assorted ropes, chains and pulleys to prepare a meal. When I need a last minute something for dinner, I go to the supermarket, these guys bop over to Home Depot.
Last year they cooked an entire pig in the ground. Regrettably, results were mixed. They had trouble keeping the temperature steady and Porky came out decidedly underdone. They weren't amused when I suggested that they try the in-ground technique again this year, but with addition of some imported Hawaiians to cover the actual cooking.
Rather that revisit Pig in A Hole, they built their own smokehouse. Armed with internet plans, wood, power tools and determination, they succeeded admirably. The ribs were truly spectacular. "Falling off the bone" and "Melt in your mouth" are normally over-used descriptions, but not this time. Well done gentlemen; I can't wait until next year's event.
Sadly, the day was not without controversy. Part of the event was a BBQ Sauce contest. Participants were asked to submit 1 quart of sauce and all attendees voted for their favorite.
Now Crabby has lived in Chicago. He is fully aware of the concept of "vote early and often". But Crabby refused to submit to the politics of the past. Crabby refused to wallow in the muck. Crabby took the high road; Crabby offered a vision of hope.
Crabby was a sucker.
I finished second in the voting. The winner had a surprisingly large number of votes cast in their favor. In fact, there are rumors (unconfirmed) that the winner received more votes than attendees at the party. Furthermore, many of the winner's votes had suspiciously similar penmanship. Lastly, the winner is married to a cousin of one of the hosts, thereby forever answering the question, "Who do you have to sleep with to win this contest?". Bitter? No thanks I have plenty.
OK, enough; deep breath, out with the bad air, in with the good. In a stunning show of magnanimity, here's "a" recipe for Crabby-Q-Sauce. Normally I give you crablings all my secrets, but, in the time honored tradition of over-baked cooking egos, I'm going to hold back a couple of secret ingredients from my "competition" sauce. This is the base to all my CrabbyQ sauces, feel free to experiment with your own ideas. The photos show it served over grilled pork roast.
1 TBSP Canola Oil
1 TBSP Sesame Oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup cola
4 TBSP soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup lemonade (that's right, your favorite lemonade)
1 TBSP granulated garlic
1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (I like srichacha, use more for a spicier result)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
Warm the canola and sesame oil over medium-high heat. When warm add the onions and cook until soft and beginning to lightly brown, approximately 7 - 10 minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, if you desire a smoother texture, use a stick blender to attain your desired consistency.
Now, here's the tough part, simmer for an additional 0 - 60 minutes until you achieve the thickness you desire. The sauce is ready after the first 20 minute simmer, but it will be a little thin. However, that "thinness" makes it perfect as a glaze for grilled meats.
If you decide to continue simmering the sauce REMEMBER, the sauce will thicken when it cools. It's one thing to have a thick, luscious, slow moving sauce, it's something else again to have a jello-like brick jiggling like your Aunt Edna sidling up to the all-you-can-eat buffet at Kountry Kitchen.
Note well: I always pay close attention to the honey-to-hot-sauce ratio. Srichacha is very spicy, so be ready to add a little more honey to the mix.
No more bitterness, no more recriminations, I've moved on. But just remember, Crabby has a good memory and revenge is a dish best served cold.
To everyone else, remember, you can do it, you can cook.