Cooking Basics

Top ingredients for BBQ sauce

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BBQ sauce can make all the difference
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Give your BBQ sauce some extra punch with these ingredients.

Barbecue connoisseurs all have their super secret cloak-and-dagger special ingredients that make their BBQ stand out from the rest. However, some are willing to share the crucial ingredients that give their meat that zing and make a lasting impression on diners.

Barbecuing began in the late 1800s when cowhands were out west rustling cattle. Their bosses did not much care what they got to eat and were not interested in the quality of the food that was served. The cowhands usually had no choice but to chow down on brisket, which is a very string, tough piece of meat.

Old West cowhands did manage to figure out that if you let the brisket cook for 5- to 7 hours at a very low temperature this cut of meat could actually be tasty. The cooks began to test different ways to make the most of the meat and began putting sauces on the beef, which made it even better. The cooks were very covert about their personal BBQ sauce. An excellent cook, with a much-favored BBQ sauce, was often the first to be hired on because a good BBQ chef could entice cowhands to sign on.

Today, many well-known names in gourmet food products have dedicated devotees of their barbeque sauces and rubs. Each brand of barbeque sauce boasts subtle differences in taste and consistency. Barbeque sauce is classified as mild, medium or hot for different palates. Afficionados of barbeque often host contest and cook-offs; many commercial brands are proud of the awards that they have won.

BBQ sauce is often a combination of sweet and spicy, yet sharp and flavorful with some kick. BBQ sauce is a tomato-based concoction that can be tinkered with to appeal to your particular palate.

Sweeten your BBQ sauce with molasses and honey and introduce some zest by using apple cider vinegar, mustard and horseradish. Apple cider is better than white vinegar, which is harsher. Vinegar is a regular staple of BBQ sauce because it provides some punch to the recipe. But you can also liven up your sauce by including garlic, onion and lemon juice.

Consider adding some corn syrup to your BBQ brew. This will add consistency. However, some BBQ stalwarts are not a fan of this taste.

Do not surprised to find out that one of the hush-hush ingredient is beer or honey or molasses.

Other BBQ recipe options including adding peppers, spices, sugar, water, red pepper flakes, salt, brown sugar, cider and xanthum gum, which is a form of sugar.

Xanthum, Guar and Locus Bean are popular gums and integral to barbecuing. Gums are natural products that come from seaweed and vegetables, which aid in emulsion, keeping oil separate from the other ingredients. This results in bulk because it acts as a stabilizer and thickener and also adds to the taste. You do not have to use much gum.

The top BBQ cooks recommend that you use barbecue sauce as a marinade and dilute it by adding two beers to each cup of sauce. It is advised that you not marinade your meat with full strength sauce, only basting with full strength sauce when you have finished cooking the meat. However, fully cooked meat - like pulled pork - that is fully coated with BBQ sauce should only be left on the grill for a few minutes and should be turned often so that it does not scorch.

Barbecuing food is associated with cooking outdoors over an open fire. Many creators of great old-fashioned barbeque sauces are proud of their place in American history and the Old West. However, great barbecuing can be done on a regular outdoor grill or even in your regular oven if that is your only option. You do not need an entire animal carcass on a spit in order to pursue this type of cooking or end up with a mind-bendingly good barbecue.



Consumer Research: BBQ Sauces

Association for Dressings and Sauces: All About Barbeque Sauce

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