Tag Archives: barbecue sauce

BBQ – A Confession

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I have a confession to make….

I don’t like barbecue sauce.

I know. Gasp. I live in America. For many Americans, it’s the essence of summer. {Although I’m not feeling very summerish around these parts with snow in May.} And since I write a blog titled Season It Already!, you’d think I’d have the best sauce to recommend!

I could blame it on the fact that I didn’t grow up with it. Our cookouts included hamburgers, hotdogs, potato chips and potato or noodle salad. If we were really lucky, we’d have a yummy steak on the grill.

But that probably isn’t why I don’t like barbecue sauce. I mean, my brother, who grew up in the same household as I did, loves it. And there are plenty of things that I didn’t really grow up eating that I adore now: asparagus, spinach, shrimp, scallops and black beans, just to name a few.

I’d  rather have a burger or fried chicken any day over barbecued chicken, barbecue pulled pork or baby back ribs slathered in the sauce. I don’t detest the stuff completely. I just choose not to order or eat it. I guess it’s kind of like me and ketchup. And that I loved as a kid, but I rarely use it now.

So when pondering why I don’t like the stuff I came up with the following:

  • It’s often too sweet.
  • If not, it’s too tangy. {Likewise, I prefer my cucumbers plain rather than marinated in that vinegary concoction people seem to love.}
  • I don’t like the smokiness. {I don’t like smoky flavors in general. Okay, now I’m really wondering if the title of my blog is appropriate.}

All of that being said…

I found one that I really enjoyed last weekend!

We were lucky to be visiting some friends in Charlotte, North Carolina. Immediately after picking us up from the airport Thursday evening, they took us to one their favorite barbecue joints: Mac’s Speed Shop – Beer, Bikes and BBQ.

First, Rob fell in love with the beer list.

Mac's

Mac’s Speed Shop Draft Beer List – April 2013

While he sipped some beers that he’s never/rarely been able to enjoy on tap {i.e Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout!}, I stuck to trying the local ones. {Little did I know that we’d be checking out some of these breweries throughout the weekend! More on that to come.}

While the rest of the crew ordered Pulled Pork BBQ, I chose the Beer Can Chicken:

bEER cAN

Beer Can Chicken (1/4) with collard greens, mac & cheese and Texas toast

This chicken was moist and juicy. I loved it! The sauce on the side was the VTX Chipotle. I chose it because it was said to be spicy, but it was still too smoky for me. The collard greens and mac and cheese here were just an afterthought compared to that perfect chicken.

Little did I know, the Pulled Pork BBQ didn’t actually come with any barbecue sauce on it. Apparently, in Carolina, they like to cook their meats low and slow to infuse a smokiness into the meat and the sauce is added later. If only this photo would have turned out a little clearer. I was more focused on visiting and catching up with our friends than taking stellar photos.

Pulled pork

Pulled Pork BBQ with onion rings, mac & cheese and Texas toast

The pulled pork was excellent. It reminded me of a great one that we get at Costco, but better, of course, because it was just cooked. This is a bit of smokiness that I don’t mind! {Are you confused yet?}

And that photo doesn’t depict the batter/breading on those onion rings well enough. My husband knows that I’m not a fan of onion rings. He always wants me to try his and I decline. They just aren’t worth it to me. I love onions, but I want to taste onion, not just batter with something slimy in the middle.

But I grabbed one of these onion rings off of his plate.

Why? Because you could see the spices in the batter! It looked really good – like the coating on good fried chicken {which he has never had, so he doesn’t know what he is missing!} And that is exactly what these tasted like! These are onion rings I would not only eat, but I would order.

Then there was an accompaniment of sauces on the table that you could pour onto your meat. I tried a couple, and found one that I liked so much that I dumped more and more on my plate for which to dip my chicken!

Mac's

This Carolina BBQ Sauce has won me over!

I texted that photo to my friend Jen, and knowing full well my disdain for the sauce, her response was, “There’s hope for you yet!”

What makes it Carolina BBQ sauce and why I liked it, I have no idea. Okay, so I have some idea. When I google “Carolina BBQ sauce”, it appears that the Carolina stuff is mustard and vinegar based as opposed to many ketchup and molasses based sauces.

However, one of the other sauces we tried at Mac’s was the SC Mustard Sauce, which was very different and much more mustardy. So now I’m a little confuzzled. I think what I liked about this sauce was not only that it was balanced {not too sweet, not too tangy}, but also that it had a little kick at the end! {Or maybe it was just all ambiance and the fact that I was in Carolina!}

I was so turned around by that sauce that while we were out shopping one day around Charlotte, our friend Brendan pointed out this sauce and said that if we are going to take one back with us, we needed to get this one:

I bought a bottle of bbq sauce!

And so I did. Jaw dropping yet? This one looks like it will be different than the one I loved because it is sorghum-based, so I think it’ll be sweeter. Still, this Carolina trip opened my mind. I’m willing to try. When we cook with it, I’ll post the results! Aren’t you proud of me?!

Thanks, Tay and Brendan for a wonderful introduction to Charlotte!

What is your favorite BBQ Sauce?

The sharing of brands, styles and recipes is encouraged!

Cheers~
Carrie

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