Who doesn't like a good BBQ sauce? There are so many variations it boggles the mind. Carolina style, North Carolina style, Memphis, Kansas City, Louisiana, and on and on.
We stumbled on a recipe for pulled pork recently, including a bbq sauce. Well, I can't leave well enough alone so of course, I had to play with it a bit. My Culinary Institute of America degree started me thinking. What if I made it into a base sauce? Something that can be played with to make variations.
I like Carolina sauce with its mustardy/vinegar taste. I decided I'd go that road for a bit...not too much but enough to get a base down for further exploration. It had to be crazy simple, versatile, and of course delicious with no changes.
Here's the rundown: Apple cider is a must-have. Acids in foods make the palate happy and add balance so apple cider stays. Ketchup is used sparingly in true Carolina sauce, but I like the sweetness it adds so that it also stays. Brown sugar...stays. Tabasco, we'll get to that in a minute. Mustard is definitely in. Like fish sauce is to Asian cooking Worcestershire is to much of my cooking. Add it and you won't regret the extra flavor so I suggest you leave it in.
Let's talk about heat, the spicy, take your tongue off kind. Some people live for that heat but I don't. To me, if my palate is on fire I can't taste anything else, which to some is the whole point. This recipe lets you choose. Add Tabasco to taste if you want some heat. I think Frank's RedHot is better and it's my choice. It's a different kind of spicy. If you can't find Frank's where you are try Amazon (we earn a small fee from Amazon sales). Don't want any heat? Leave it out altogether.
To make this more Carolina style back off on ketchup and add more mustard. Start by lessening the ketchup to two cups and adding two more tablespoons of mustard. As it is cooking add more of either to suit your tastes. Just make sure you write down what you did for the next batch.
Want more Kansas style? Try adding some chili pepper, sautéed small dice onion, cayenne, lemon juice, or molasses.
There you have it. Do your mise en place and go make a batch as is or with your unique style. (What's mise en place you ask? Watch our Youtube video about mise en place to make your cooking life much easier.)
If you are making this recipe for pulled pork it is for use in one 9-10 pound pork butt or equivalent smaller ones.
For the pulled pork: When the pork is cooked, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (118 - 236 ml) of the juices to one cup (236 ml) of bbq sauce and mix into pulled pork. Save the remainder for service. There will be about 2 1/2 to 3 cups (590 - 710 ml) of sauce left.
Thanks for listening!