Sunday, December 11, 2011

barbecue sauce three ways

Was there ever a better time of year for pulled pork? I think not. It's cold outside. The weather is just screaming for me to make comfort food. Luckily enough I have an excuse to make something so delicious (as if this blog isn't an excuse good enough?) - I'm catering Adam's department Christmas party and, with that, there comes a lot of taste testing.

So this week has been a flurry of experiments, not only checking for taste, but for the first time ever, I'm checking for practicality and cost. It's added a totally different element to my usual cooking.

I settled on one of my main courses (the main main course) being pulled pork with different sauces. If you're looking for my recipe for pulled pork, it's here. I tested all three of these sauces with it and I enjoyed all three - in fact, I'll be serving all three at the party. One thing to note: if you're making this pulled pork for a party, you might want to leave out the cayenne. It might be too spicy for some of your partygoers.

I tried to choose my sauces so that there was a lot of variety. The maple whiskey (right, foreground) is quite sweet and tastes strongly of whiskey. The agave dijon (middle) is not sweet (it only has a small amount of agave syrup to take the edge off) and is more like a salad dressing in consistency, but adds tang to the pulled pork. It'll make you smack your chops. The best one according to Adam and I is the one we were most skeptical of, the spicy cherry chipotle barbecue sauce (left, background). It packs some real heat and has that wicked smoked chipotle flavour. If I could only make one, this would be it.

cherry chipotle barbecue sauce
Adapted from

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup cherry jam
2 canned chipotles in adobo sauce (can reduce this to 1 if it's too spicy)
1 tablespoon adobo sauce from the can
1/4 of a small yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons molasses 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon cocoa (unsweetened)

Throw all ingredients into a food processor, then pulse until liquefied. Pour into a pot and bring to a simmer on medium low heat. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, then serve with pulled pork.

agave dijon mustard sauce
Adapted from Mark's Place

Note: You can swap out the agave in favour of maple syrup or honey if you like. I used agave because there was maple in one of the other sauces and I couldn't find my honey. But the agave was in front of my face, so I said, why not? 

1 cup apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons agave syrup (or maple syrup or honey)
1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together all ingredients in a medium bowl, then serve with pulled pork.

maple whiskey barbecue sauce

1 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2/3 cup whiskey (I used Jack Daniels)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup pure maple syrup

Put all ingredients into a medium pot and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. (The second time I made this, I didn't let it simmer long enough and it was a little alcoholic tasting, so make sure you simmer it!). Serve with pulled pork.

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