Thursday, August 31, 2006

Post Mortem

What did I learn from last night's failure?

  1. I used way too much spice. If I keep all of those flavors in the recipe, I'll have to cut every measurement by at least half.
  2. I'm looking to create a fairly hot sauce, but a full tablespoon of chili powder was over the top. I couldn't really taste the blend of other spices over the heat.
  3. Next time, I'll just cook the wet ingredients without spices. Based on the color and consistency, I think I got the ratios and simmering time right, but it was hard to judge anything about the flavor.
  4. I should be working with the spices in groups starting with the essentials like salt, pepper, garlic, paprika, etc. The next batch will be much simplified.
I'll get to work on a new recipe to be posted and tested this weekend.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Número Uno

Once convinced to teach myself the art of BBQ sauce making and to also write regularly about it, I was left with one nagging fear. What if I were actually a sauce savant? What if my first attempt hit quite close to the mark? One or two additional experiments and voilà – the perfect BBQ sauce! That would make for a short-lived and awfully boring blog.

Good people, there is no cause for alarm. My first shot missed by a mile. I'll give it some thought, rewrite the recipe, and get back to you… but not tonight.

Small Town

Guess who was parked at Lit when I stopped in?

Squirt Bottles

I went downtown for lunch today and stopped by Lit on my way. They sell restaurant supplies, and I needed some plastic bottles for storing variations of The Sauce. It's a great place for kitchen geeks to get all kinds of cool stuff, and most of it's inexpensive. Three squirt bottles – $2.75.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pizza Café

A few weeks ago on family dinner night, my brother-in-law and I split a BBQ chicken pizza from Memphis Pizza Café. In fact, we seem to be on a bit of a BBQ pizza kick lately. For my money, they have the best pizza in the city - most cities for that matter. However, about half way through this particular pie, we simultaneously realized that not only was the sauce missing but so was the chicken. Well, not exactly missing but very hard to find.

I decided to try it again for lunch today and am very glad I did. Maybe it was because I went to Park instead of Midtown. Maybe it was because I ordered slices instead of an entire pie. Who knows? I'm sure they're using some generic bucket-o-sauce, but it was so good, I'm just gonna try not to think about it.

Just Missed It

This sounds like a nice event, but it's kinda sad too. The description reads like just about any summer weekend in any southern town. Gotta love the logo.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Rib Recipe

Here's one I've been saving for a while knowing that Bar-B-Log would be launching soon. A rib recipe from Twillard Mayweather made the Saveur July newsletter. The original 1995 article is available here along with all the local recipes.


I'll try to post pics as often as possible. To get things started, here's one of the spice rack to be used throughout the experiments.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Day One

I feel like I already screwed up. I had grand plans to start my first batch of sauce today, but instead I've been fiddling with this damn website for hours. Looks like the cooking will have to wait. In the meantime, here's the base recipe I cobbled together from a variety of cookbooks and old-fashioned internet research:

Dry Ingredients
1 tsp Lemon Powder
2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Celery Seed
1/2 tsp Cloves
1 tbsp Chipotle Chili Powder
1 tsp Dry Mustard

Wet Ingredients
3 cups Beef Stock
2 cans Tomato Paste
2 cans Tomato Sauce
1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Worcestershire

Combine the wet ingredients and bring to a boil. Combine the dry ingredients. Add to the wet and simmer til thick.
I haven't really decided how secretive to be about the ingredients for The Sauce. For now, it doesn't really matter. The above recipe is a wild guess, and I'll be surprised if it's even edible.

What is Bar-B-Log?

In Memphis, you can't swing a dead cat without hitting an establishment serving legendary BBQ. I grew up here and have devoured more than my fair share of tasty sandwiches. However with near-perfect BBQ never more than 5 minutes away, I've never really developed my own barbecuing skills. That's about to change.

I plan to focus on the sauce. I might also spend time getting sauced as I experiment with the new flavoring ideas that inspired this project. As I chronicle those experiments here, I expect to also interject other thoughts – primarily on BBQ ideology, cooking and food in general.

I'm already hungry.