Thursday, November 8, 2012

How To Make An Awesome Bourbon Barbecue Sauce Recipe

One of my favorite things to come out of Kentucky is bourbon. A barbecue sauce recipe made from bourbon is another of my favorite things. And, while adding alcohol when making sauce is nothing new, a good bourbon barbecue sauce will bring people coming back for seconds. And thirds.

Before grilling any foods, make sure your grill is clean. A dirty grill surface can cause many problems. Excessive smoking, soiling of flavors, potential for bacterial illness, not to mention being a fire risk, are all side effects of a filthy surface. Clean your grill with a wire brush often for best results.

To be bourbon, officially, it has to be made in Bourbon County, Kentucky. I tend to favor Wild Turkey or Maker's Mark. A liquor that is made outside of the county line-even if made in the exact same manner, is technically whiskey.

Don't forget to clean your grill before you use it by scrubbing the grilling surface with a wire brush while it heats up. This way the removed food and grease burn off. Built up food on the grill doesn't add flavor to the meat, but make the fresh food stick to the metal much easier.

But whether you choose to make it with whiskey or bourbon, the barbecue sauce recipe I've included here is, to steal a phrase from something else that comes from Kentucky, "finger-lickin-good."

To keep your burgers flat, indent the middle of the burger with your thumb, nearly leaving a hole, before frying or grilling the patties. As the meat draws up and shrinks while cooking, the indentation will close itself, leaving you with flat burgers instead of small patties with extra thick middles.

The keys to this bourbon barbecue sauce recipes-and any recipe-are simple: use good ingredients, and be patient. Measurements for this one are easy: two cups of bourbon (if you start with a fifth, that leaves you a little more than a cup to sip on while cooking), a cup each of orange juice, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup, a stick of butter, and whatever spices you want-black pepper, sea salt, and cayenne pepper work well.

To reduce cooking time for beef steaks and roasts, pull the meat out of the fridge an hour before you intend to start roasting or grilling it. Letting the meat come to room temperature can shave valuable minutes off the cooking time and allows the meat to cook more evenly.

Melt the stick of butter, then add all of the wet ingredients into a pot, and stir well. Bring it to a boil, stirring often, then drop to low temperature. Simmer uncovered, stirring often, for half an hour, then add your spices. Now comes the part where you have to be patient-you need to let it simmer covered now for a couple of hours.

A great grilling tip to improve flavor and consistency is to try to cut similar foods into the same size pieces. This ensures that foods stay moist and grill evenly. A nice side benefit is that it also makes your workload a little easier. By cutting out the hassle of constantly monitoring foods for doneness, you have the peace of mind of knowing your foods will all be ready right about the same time.

Some people have a concern about a bourbon barbecue recipe because, well, of the bourbon-they're concerned about the alcohol. You can reassure them that the bourbon is only a flavor; alcohol has a much lower boiling point than any of the other liquids in this recipe, so it boils off pretty quickly.

If you are planning on grilling, make sure that you take your steaks out of the freezer at least one hour before you cook so that they can match the room temperature. This will allow you to cook them easier and achieve the quality that you are looking for, by cooking them on the grill.

Now, this is, of course, a very basic bourbon barbecue sauce recipes. Easy variations involve changing the citrus juice- lemon and lime or grapefruit are options-or swapping out the maple syrup for a different type of syrup or perhaps molasses. My advice, though, as you make up your own bourbon barbecue sauce recipe is that you don't eliminate the syrup or molasses' it helps the sauce stick to the meat. And your fingers.

To Grill Or To Barbecue Hamburgers?

That is the question. Screw Hamlet and his teen angst.

When you are cooking a hamburger patty, use a fork or other utensil to poke a hole in the middle of it. This way, the hamburgers will cook faster. Do not worry, once the hamburger is cooked, it will still have its great taste and the holes do eventually disappear.

If you have the means to barbecue hamburgers, then by all means, do so. I've got a couple of hints below to make it easier. It takes longer, as the meat has to be cooked by the smoke in the barbecue and away from the flames. But the results are worth the wait-You get a burger with a deep, smoky flavor, then topped with your favorite barbecue sauce.

Avoid the temptation to press your hamburger patties too tightly when shaping. Though you may feel that this will help them to hold their shapes better, in reality, this just provides denser, dryer hamburgers once cooked. Also, don't press the patties down with a spatula when cooking, as this simply drains the juices.

Hints for a great barbecue hamburger:

The best thing that you can do when you are making hamburgers is to engage in trial and error. Instead of guessing that the meat is cooked well, make a small patty and taste it yourself. This will allow you to adjust your level of seasoning and cook your burger more if it needs it.

1)    Put the cheese on the inside. Take a quarter pound of hamburger, separate it in half, put the cheese in, and seal the edges. You can use a little bit of honey to make sure that seal is solid.

Cooking hamburgers seems to be easy, but there are some tricks to learn. Make a hole in the center of the patty before you put it on the grill. The hole prevents the meat from rising in the middle so you won't have an uncooked middle with burnt edges any more. The whole will completely disappear during cooking so no one will notice your trick.

2)    Once you have your patties ready, let them warm to room temperature before you put them into the smoker. This will keep them from breaking apart. If you are cooking meats that need seasoning, season a small piece first before making the entire meal. It's hard to correct overly seasoned meat but spices can always be added. Avoid cooking all of it after it's been seasoned. Cook a small piece of meat first. After you do this you can either completely cook it or add more seasoning as you see fit.

3)    Put a pan under the basket where your burgers are smoking and put sliced onions in it. The onions will get cooked by the smoke and flavored by the fat that drops off of the burgers.

However, not a lot of people have smokers in their backyard. They think that firing up the grill is the first step to barbecue hamburgers. On a technical standpoint, they're wrong, but for a flavor standpoint, it doesn't matter.

And cooking on the grill actually gives you a little more variety than if you were to barbecue recipes for hamburgers. You can use the cheese on the inside trick above, for one thing. If you're making your barbecue hamburgers on the grill, you can add sauces and spices during the cooking process-not something you can easily do with a smoker. Coat your grill with olive oil and it will keep your hamburgers from sticking.

And of course, if you want barbecue hamburgers and it's raining, you can make them indoors. Frying the hamburgers in a pan and then adding cheese and barbecue sauce is a simple way. A better-and healthier-route is to mix the burger meat with barbecue sauce (a quarter cup per pound) and bake at 350 for half an hour. You get barbecue hamburger taste without the mess.

Atlanta Barbecue Sauce Wears Many Hats

 Growing up in Atlanta, I always thought that it should be its own sort of city-state. Even back then, it was such an international city, really only behind New York and Los Angeles in that manner. Atlanta is nothing like the rest of Georgia and neither is Atlanta barbecue sauce. If you want to find the true capital of Georgia, go to Tallahassee, Florida. That place has nothing to do with most of Florida but is a lot like most of Georgia.

If you are making a recipe that contains pasta in a sauce, avoid it being too soggy by cooking the pasta few minutes less in water. Finish cooking it with the sauce. It will be the perfect consistency and not be the mushy starchy mess we all hate when eating pasta!

My view of Atlanta as a melting pot carries over to food in Atlanta. Barbecue sauce, for instance, varies widely. Atlanta barbecue sauce is always tasty-but it's different in every part of town.

Make sure not to use oil in the water you are using to make pasta. This will only keep sauce from sticking to pasta when mixed together. In order to give the water a little flavor and prevent the pasta from sticking the pot, you can add in a little bit of salt.

Well, that's not quite fair to say. Almost universally throughout Atlanta, barbecue sauce is of the tomato-vinegar variety-the same type that is so popular in grocery stores.

Try putting your chicken in an oiled roasting pan, instead of on a rack. Slice some thick pieces of onion and put them in the pan under the chicken, so that they will absorb the juice from it. After the roasting, add some stock or water to the pan with the onions to make a sauce while the chicken rests. Cook it for three minutes at high heat on your stove-top.

But that's where the similarity ends. Some restaurants offer sauce with enough peppers to make your ears sweat. Other places offer sweet sauces' some with honey, some with molasses, some with brown sugar, some with all three. As it should be everywhere, in Atlanta, barbecue sauce recipes are up to the cook's imagination.

When your pasta is done and you are finished draining, pour some Parmesan cheese on top, which will give your sauce something to latch on to. This will make things much easier for you when you are creating your meal and allow you to layer the levels of your pasta.

And you don't just find barbecue in restaurants-Atlanta has long been known to have smokers set up on vacant street corners. And in Atlanta, unlike a lot of the United States these days, few people ask for business licenses for anything that's being sold on street corner's

When you are cooking pasta, follow this useful tip. Instead of strictly following the instructions given on the pasta box or package, try cooking the pasta one minute less than the time indicated. Then finish off the pasta by cooking it in a pan with sauce for the final minute. Doing so will give the pasta more flavor.

One way that you can check out a number of the wide variety of Atlanta barbecue sauce recipes-both professional and amateur-is at the Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival. This year, it's being held on the 14th and 15th of September.

To increase the texture and quality of the pasta that you cook at night, make sure that you finish cooking with the pasta in the pan with sauce. This will help to absorb the sauce so that it blends in properly and tastes great when you sit down to the table and eat.

The Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival has two categories-professional and backyard-and divides the contests into different categories: ribs, chicken, brisket, and so on. Grillmaster Flash and BBQ Monsters-two restaurants that have been around longer than Festival itself-are frequent winners in the professional category.

If you realize that you have made too much sauce, you can take any excess sauce and put it in the freezer in an ice tray. This is very convenient because the next time that you need sauce for something you can pop a few cubes in the pan instead of making a sauce.

But the important thing here is that at the Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival is that you can sample just about everything. Try four different pro versions and four different backyard versions, and you likely get eight different versions of Atlanta barbecue sauce.