Cooking Basics

BBQ - honey and other great BBQ pairings

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barbecue chicken on grill
Sweet and smoky sauces add the perfect touch
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BBQ honey and other combinations create mouth-watering flavors for barbeques

Few foods make the mouth water quite like barbecue. It conjures up very specific smells of meat grilling or smoking, followed by visions of rich smoky sauces and the perfect contrasting flavors of side dishes. That it has so many possible pairings shows how many people love this food and adapt it to their tastes. 

Few flavors make the main dish sing, whether itís chicken, brisket or ribs, like BBQ honey. The sweet thick sauce is a finger-licking pleaser for adults and kids alike. Remember, this food often comes with wipes and bibs because itís supposed to be messy. Thatís how you know itís really good, right?

While sweet sauces are definitely a winner, itís not alone on the pairing table. Check out these other flavor combinations and sides that give barbecued meats their mouth-watering reputation.

TANGY Ė Vinegar is a usual suspect at backyard barbecues everywhere. Carolina-style is known for its famous vinegar sauces. A classic recipe includes cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, black pepper and a pinch of salt. Let it sit for a few hours and you have yourself a show stopper.

Hawaiian-style also uses vinegar, but typically with a pinch of sugar and equal parts white and cider vinegar.

SMOKY Ė Much of the flavor in the protein comes from the skilled style of cooking, whether itís grilled or smoky, marinated prior or brushed with sauce while it cooks. One trick many grill masters use is adding wood to the flame to increase the smoky flavor.

The types of wood to use are chips, logs or chunks, though logs are only necessary for high volumes done in restaurants. Throwing chips on the coals will give you a mild wood flavor, while chunks give a more pronounced one. Oak, mesquite and apple are a few types of wood that work well.

SPICY Ė BBQ honey covers the sweetness, but sometimes things need a little kick. Use chilies in moderation to heighten all the other flavors. A touch of spice helps cut some of the sweetness. Your taste buds appreciate contrast because it adds complexity, and your protein isnít all one note.

PEPSI Ė This sounds odd, but donít knock it until you try it. A number of places in the south and west use Pepsi to make a sweet pulled pork sauce with a slight caramel flavor. The main ingredients are pork butt, a can of Pepsi (or diet), about half a bottle of sweet BBQ honey sauce, and your favorite dry seasoning mix.

Classic BBQ Sides

If youíre going to have a proper barbecue, there are a few sides people will hope to try. Not all are necessary, these are heavy foods, but a few will really take things over the top.

Corn Bread Ė Corn bread is the ideal starch to have on a plate of grilled meats and veggies. Some variations include chilies for a little kick, maple or spoon bread made with cream corn.

Cajun Deviled Eggs Ė These are easy to eat standing up, packed with flavor and simple to make. Make sure they donít sit out too long in the sun. Sprinkle some paprika, Cajun seasoning and a jalapeno slice on top and that wonít be a problem.

Baked Beans Ė Baked beans are hearty, comfort food at its best. Classic baked bean recipes include molasses, onions, garlic brown sugar and olive oil. Add a dash of seasoning or sauce to taste.

Grilled Corn Ė Grilling corn is super simple and adds color to the plate. There are a number of ways to grill corn, depending on the other flavors you're working with.

Slaw Ė Sweet coleslaw is the perfect match for spicy or tangy sauces. Shred the cabbage, onion and carrot finely, and mix with cider vinegar, sugar, pepper and other seasonings if you like.

Everything about this style of cooking brings people together. Itís always a good time to light up the grill and make a delicious meal.


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