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4 Fantastic BBQ Sauces

Posted by Chef Perry P. Perkins on

4 Fantastic BBQ Sauces

~Chef Perry Perkins~

BBQ sauces are used to flavor, marinade, baste, and as a condiment or topping for grilled and smoked meats, especially ribs and chicken.

History places the origin of BBQ sauce to the first American colonies of the 17th century and can be found in recipes and cookbooks (both English and French) over the next two centuries.

South Carolina mustard sauce, another popular regional variety, can be traced to early the German settlers of the 18th century.

Ingredients can vary widely even within states and counties of the American South, but most include a base of vinegar, tomato paste, or mayonnaise (or a combination). Liquid smoke, and spices like paprika, mustard and black pepper, and sweeteners such as sugar and molasses typically round of the recipes.

Here are four of my favorites...

North Carolina Barbecue Sauce

In the Carolinas, the barbeque meat is pork, and the barbeque sauces are matters of hot debate even from one town to the next. Some sauces are thin and vinegary, while some regions add ketchup, or even mustard. This is the recipe I grew up with.

1 qt cider vinegar
2/3 C packed brown sugar
¼ C lemon juice
1 Tbs smoked paprika
1 tsp each: black pepper, dry mustard

12 oz ketchup
2 Tbs salt
1 Tbs red pepper flakes
1 Tbs onion powder

Bring all ingredients to the boil, and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently.

Allow to cool, and serve or bottle.

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

Memphis barbecue sauce has its own distinctive flavor, as well. Though the specific ingredients will vary from cook to cook, Memphis sauce is usually made with tomatoes, vinegar, and any countless combination of spices.

Memphis sauce is poured over pulled pork or served along side of dry ribs.

1 Tbs butter
1 ½ C ketchup
4 Tbs brown sugar
2 Tbs yellow mustard
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground black pepper
dash cayenne pepper

¼ C finely chopped onion
¼ C chili sauce
4 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs liquid hickory smoke
½ tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder

Bring all ingredients to the boil, and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently. Allow to cool, and serve or bottle.

Texas Brisket Sauce

Texas is famous for tender slow-smoked brisket. Sauces are usually thin, spicy, and mixed with intensely flavorful pan drippings.

½ C brisket drippings (defatted)
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp hot pepper sauce (Franks)
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
½ tsp chili powder

½ C vinegar
½ C ketchup
1 lg onion, diced
1 Tbs salt
Juice of one lemon

Combine all ingredients.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and refrigerate 24-48 hours before using.

Sweet Hawaiian Pork Sauce

Kalua Pork (or pig) is one of my favorite Hawaiian dishes. It’s a smoky, salty pulled pork dish served over white rice, with a variety of optional sauces - from a simple liquid smoke and water wash, to elaborate sauces that highlight the tropical fruits and sugar cane of the islands.

15oz peaches & juice
16oz peach preserves
2 Tbs liquid smoke
1 Tbs red pepper flakes

15oz pineapple & juice
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs minced garlic

Combine all and bring to boil.

Lower heat and simmer on low until sauce has begun to thicken.

Keep warm until serving. Drizzle over pulled pork.

For a very classy presentation, shred the pork, top with whole pineapple rings, baste well with sauce, sprinkle generously with crushed macadamia nuts, and return to La Caja China 5-10 minutes to brown the top.

Cranberry Barbeque Sauce

This sweet/tangy cranberry bbq has just a hint of heat from the Jalapeno pepper (how's that for some alliteration?), and lends itself very well to the mildness of turkey. I think it would be a very nice glaze for chicken as well.

If you serve additional cranberry barbeque sauce on the side, go sparingly. It’s very rich, and too much will quickly overpower the flavor of the meat

1 Can Cranberry Sauce (jellied).
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Jalapeno, seeded, rinsed, and finely diced
1/4 Cup Orange Juice
1/4 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Yellow Mustard

Empty cranberry sauce into 2-quart saucepan blender, add the remaining ingredients, whisk, and cook, over medium heat, until simmering.

Cook until the mixture is thick. Rest overnight if possible.

~Chef Perry

As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”

You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at

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