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Texas BBQ Sauce


malachi
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I think I may have finally figured out the key to making great (not good but great) texas style BBQ sauce!

I've been experimenting for years (no... seriously) and it's never been quite right.

Anyway - a while back I figured out about how much fat I needed in the sauce to give it the right consistency, texture and "unctiousness" and I've researched, done experiments, but I've never been able to get it quite right. There is something about the sauce at the truly great Texas BBQ joints that I haven't been able to duplicate. I was close with a 50/50 mix of salted butter and bacon grease. But today I rendered down a bunch of pork fat with a smoked ham hock and a little bacon and did a 50/50 mix of that and salted butter and.... eureka!!

Sorry - I had to share. It's a very happy moment for me - one that began almost 15 years ago with my first visit to Louis Mueller.

fanatic...

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But if you really want to share, cough up the rest of the recipe!

No kidding.

Also, many of the best Texas BBQ joints don't even serve a "BBQ" sauce so I'm interested in the places you went to that had sauce that you like so much and have tried to emulate.

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Recipe to follow.

Perhaps I should have been more clear... by BBQ sauce I do not mean some sickly sweet sauce that the meat is cooked in, but rather a condiment on the side which one might choose to apply to the meat.

As for where... my memory ain't what it once way, but I think all of the following serve sauce on the side... Louis Mueller, Baker's Ribs, Beans and Things, Kreuz', Salt Lick, Smitty's.... mmmm... I'm getting hungry. Perhaps I'll look into flights to Austin.

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Ingredients

2 Medium Yellow Onions (chopped fine)

3 Cups Ketchup

1 Cup Salted Butter

1 Cup Smokey Rendered Pork Fat (see note)

1/2 Cup White Vinegar

1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp Crystal Hot Sauce

1 Tbsp Cracked Black Pepper

1 Tbsp Cayenne Pepper

1 Tbsp Salt

1 Tspn Garlic Salt

1 Bay Leaf

Combine Butter and Fat in a large pot over low heat. Heat until butter melts. Add onions. Cook, stirring, until onions soften. Add dry ingredients. Cook for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring, for about an hour. Cool overnight. Reheat slowly.

Note: to get the smokey fat - put 1.5 pounds pork fat, three pieces thick smoked bacon and one smoked ham hock in a covered roasting pan and cook in a 225 degree oven for a couple hours then move (uncovered) to the stove and boil off any water. Skim, cool, skim, etc. This will yield about twice as much fat as you need (grin).

Edited by malachi (log)

fanatic...

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Thanks for the recipe!

However Smitty's (I believe) and Kreuz's (I definitely know) don't serve sauce, just some standard louisianna hot sauce or yellow mustard. Of course it was almost heresy for Smitty's even to serve beans. The Salt Lick's sauce (my favorite of the sauce bbq joints) isn't a ketchup based sauce, it's an Asian inspired mustard based sauce that's tangy and not sweet -- the habenero version is even better.

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You sure Smitty's doesn't? Hmmm... perhaps there is a link between consumption of copious animal fats and Alzheimers.

Just ate the brisket - It was excellent. Sauce was excellent on its own but sadly lacking when combined with the brisket. Then again... I think that's how I remember it (grin).

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BBQ is one of my favorite foods, and Texas style is the gold standard for me! The best Texas style 'que in this neck of the woods is Flint's, with three locations in Oakland. Flint's is justly famous for its sauce, which is served on the side and comes in mild, medium, and hot versions. The sauce is definitely not sickly sweet; it tastes ketchup-based, but is quite complex and layered with flavors. Closer to home, Central Texas BBQ in Castroville, Artichoke Capitol of the World, has condiment bottles of yellow mustard, a vinegary sauce, and a Louisiana hot sauce at each table.

Thanks for sharing the recipe, malachi! You ought to add it to the archive.

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I'm feeling good (not great but good) about the Texas style sauce. Feeling good about the KC sauce. Feeling great about the Jamaican Jerk sauce. But the North Carolina mustard sauce still isn't working for me.

BTW - given that you're in the Bay Area you should try Memphis Minnie's in SF.

fanatic...

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I'm feeling good (not great but good) about the Texas style sauce. Feeling good about the KC sauce. Feeling great about the Jamaican Jerk sauce. But the North Carolina mustard sauce still isn't working for me.

You might try replacing the ketchup with tomato puree or crushed tomatoes. Ketchup is ungodly sweet. You can always add some molasses or brown sugar if the sauce is too acidic.

Jim

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I'm feeling good (not great but good) about the Texas style sauce. Feeling good about the KC sauce. Feeling great about the Jamaican Jerk sauce. But the North Carolina mustard sauce still isn't working for me.

That confounded NC mustard sauce is an illusive one to replicate; even my born-in-Virginia-raised-in-North-Carolina mama can't do it!

BTW - given that you're in the Bay Area you should try Memphis Minnie's in SF.

You know, you're not the first person to recommend Memphis Minnie's, but I'm so enamored of Flint's that I've not followed up on the suggestion. Perhaps this is the time to live dangerously . . .

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But the North Carolina mustard sauce still isn't working for me.

That confounded NC mustard sauce is an illusive one to replicate;

Don't y'all mean SC mustard sauce? As far as I know, that's where that version is based...

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Crap - now you've made me have to admit that I can't keep either my Carolinas nor my Dakotas straight.

I stand corrected. South Carolina is, of course, the mustard sauce whereas North Carolina has the vinegar-pepper sauce (Eastern NC) and the sweeter tomato-vinegar-pepper sauce (Western NC).

My apologies.

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You sure Smitty's doesn't? Hmmm... perhaps there is a link between consumption of copious animal fats and Alzheimers.

Smitty's does not offer any sauce; just hot sauce and s&p on the tables. Was there last week for their pork ribs. I know…..going to a central Texas Q joint for pork ribs, what was I thinking. They only offer them on the weekends and the ribs are incredible!

The Legends of Texas barbecue cookbook by Robb Walsh has the recipe for the Salt Lick’s sauce in it. Surprisingly one of the principal ingredients is pineapple juice.

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Crap - now you've made me have to admit that I can't keep either my Carolinas nor my Dakotas straight.

I stand corrected. South Carolina is, of course, the mustard sauce whereas North Carolina has the vinegar-pepper sauce (Eastern NC) and the sweeter tomato-vinegar-pepper sauce (Western NC).

My apologies.

For pity's sake, no wonder my mama can't make the mustard sauce!! Well, DUH !!!!!

My apologies aussi. You'd think my mama would've raised me up better . . .

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I'm feeling good (not great but good) about the Texas style sauce. Feeling good about the KC sauce. Feeling great about the Jamaican Jerk sauce. But the North Carolina mustard sauce still isn't working for me.

That confounded NC mustard sauce is an illusive one to replicate; even my born-in-Virginia-raised-in-North-Carolina mama can't do it!

BTW - given that you're in the Bay Area you should try Memphis Minnie's in SF.

You know, you're not the first person to recommend Memphis Minnie's, but I'm so enamored of Flint's that I've not followed up on the suggestion. Perhaps this is the time to live dangerously . . .

Just my opinion, but Minnie's is way better than Flint's. Plus, Minnie's sells its mustard based sauce (all its sauces, actually) by the bottle.

And where else can you order barbecue and a flight of sake?

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The Legends of Texas barbecue cookbook by Robb Walsh has the recipe for the Salt Lick’s sauce in it.  Surprisingly one of the principal ingredients is pineapple juice.

Excellent to hear!

BTW - the new Robb Walsh book is quite good.

fanatic...

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