Monday, February 16, 2009

A "Few" Words About Bar-B-Q

Bar-B-Q, BBQ, Barbecue....
Let's talk about what it's NOT. Contrary to some folks' upbringing, the word Barbecue is NOT a verb. It's not some action as in; "We 're going to barbecue some burgers tonight". Oh and Barbecue is NOT cooked in a regular oven & then doused & smothered with smoke-flavored ketchup-y sauce...that's false advertising to put barbecue on the menu, only to find out that it's the latter.

What it IS...Down here the word Barbecue is considered a noun as in, "We're having barbecue for supper tonight". To which some of you might ask, "barbecued what?". I'm here to tell you that this question has never occurred to me or my fellow southerner's. Barbecue is almost always a pork roast, either a shoulder or a butt, that is slow cooked either in a pit or other grill/smoker/outside fireplace. Now some folks like a beef brisket, so that's why I said "almost". It wasn't popular where I grew up. Personally, I've tried it & didn't like it.
A final point of clarifciation I'd like to make is, if we weren't having barbecue but the meat for the meal was being cooked on the grill we were having a "Cook-out", to which the question "what are we cooking out?" would be appropriate. ( But that's another subject for another day)

Now that I've defined barbecue, let's talk about sauce; a touchy subject over which many a feud has started, lasting generations. Everyone's barbecue sauce is the "BEST", in their minds anyway. Family favorite barbecue sauces are as individual & unique as tartans are to the old Scottish clans.

Some sauce is thin & more like a marinade & some is thicker, more like the consistency of thinned ketchup. Make no mistake though, the popular BBQ sauce brand in the stores,(ya'll know which one I mean), is NOT barbecue sauce! It's sauce & might even be pretty good but it's too thick and the version with the fake smoke in it makes me cringe with memories of fake-smoke flavored indigestion.

My family has had several favorites growing up... when I was a little girl, a toddler really, my family's sauce of choice was Johnny Harris sauce, from the Johnny Harris restaurant in Savannah.
Several years later, I stumbled across a bottle of it in Atlanta & brought my treasure home to introduce it to MY children & husband, (who was an Ollie's BBQ man, by the way). After a huge build-up about how superb this sauce was & slow cooking the pork, we finally were at the moment of truth. Would my family like it? What will my husband think of it? Will I still like it after all these years? And perhaps the most horrific thought; "have they possibly changed the recipe over the years"?

SUCCESS!! Everyone enjoyed the sauce. Johnny Harris sauce is one of the thick sauces. No, it's not so thick you can stand a drumstick in it, (remember those commercials?). It is one of the "thick" sauces that still pours, (like how A-1 pours or thinned down ketchup), with just enough heat to warm your mouth without burning your taste buds. And honestly, tasting it after all these years, there was a slight after taste of lemon, hmmmm? Secret ingredient??? Or was it just me. I still rank Johnny Harris sauce amongst one of my favorites.
More on barbecue later...Oh & I am working on a barbecue amigurumi pattern. Hope to post it soon.

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