For a span of a few years our family dropped the turkey and trimmings ballyhoo and we all picked what we wanted to eat. None of us were huge fans of gravy and roast potatoes and massive fowl. It seemed pretty arbitrary to waste the most family centered meal of the year on a spread that none of us were super excited about. Christmas dinner is always about weighing down a mother with far too much prep while you play with toys/home electronics/radio controlled dinosaurs. Mothers are there to work on Christmas day! Therefore we lumbered mine with a bunch of different dishes. For a few years my brothers and I had cheeseburgers, my parents had fish or something and my sister would tell you she had nothing at all, she probably had chicken.
Then I moved to wanting fish stew. For a few years my go-to ‘posh’ special occasion food was a fish stew thing with fennel seeds and cream and white wine and squid and overcooked monkfish. So then me and my folks had stew, my younger brother had pizza, my older brother sulked and whined that the smell of the stew made him feel sick, and my sister would still tell you she was given nothing. Again, she had chicken.
It was all good except that I could never taste any of it. Pretty much every single year between the ages of fourteen and thirty my head would fill with a skull cracking swell of snot and phlegm and nasal dross which knocked my tastebuds out like Jake The Snake just DDT’ed ‘em. (Between the ages of fourteen and thirty I loved the beauty and ballet of WWF….)
I could have eaten wood chippings or Readybrek. I never tasted a thing.
Barbecue sauce is pretty WWF. It’s always a bit fake and sort of obvious. I’ve bought a load of the stuff and they all pretty much taste the same. Some of them are super-sweet and taste like bees who died of smoke inhalation. Some of them fall into a weird Mexican mess involving way too much paprika, cumin and corn syrup. There’s a Budweiser one. I’d rather drink a Bud. As a little digression, I LOVE Budweiser. Snobby ale drinking farmers and cord-wearers are going to dribble into their foamy sulphur and tree-root slops but fuck ‘em. I love me an ice-cold Bud. It tastes of America and hope, sort of.
Two barbecue sauce recipes follow. The first is a proper one. It started of as someone else’s I think but it’s been punched about enough that it’s mine now. The basic measures are pretty solid but everyone should have their own BBQ sauce recipe. If you are the Man From Del Monte you are going to call OJ instead of AJ. If you are French and slumming it feel free to go veal stock instead of chicken. If you are a stone-cold weirdo throw the coffee out and drip in some fruit tea.
The second ‘recipe’ is for McDonalds Barbecue Sauce. Unless you are a hardcore condiment thief you probably don’t have a stash of Ronald’s magic elixir about your person at all times. With just two ingredients you can! Fill a thermos with it and neck gobs of it in secret. Fill small plastic bags and stash them on your route to work, or on the stairs up to bed. I’m just giving you options for this stuff.
Makes half a cereal bowl’s worth. Do not put on cereal.
1 cup fine diced red onion. (Whites mostly taste off to me but fill yr boots if that’s what you have)
2 cloves garlic sliced thin
2T pickled jalapenos, fine diced
2T coffee beans cracked into a grit in a pestle and mortar OR 1T instant coffee powder
1/2 cup Worcs sauce
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1T chilli powder
1/2 T cumin
1/2 T coriander
Melt the butter in a wide pan over a medium heat.
When it foams, add onion, garlic and jalapenos.
Soften but do not colour or the sauce will be bitter as.
Add chilli powder, cumin and coriander cook out for two minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer slowly for an hour or so.
Check seasoning and throw on fried food or up the walls if you messed it up.
McDonalds Barbecue Sauce:
It’s a ratio so make as much or little as you want.
Tomato Ketchup- Heinz, everything else is wrong and you know it.
Liquid Smoke- Hickory is closest.
For every 1/2 cup of ketchup, mix in 1/2T of liquid smoke.
It’s not exact but it’s close and really who is going to pick you up on it?
“Oh Sam your McDonalds Barbecue Sauce recipe is way off!”
“Go to McDonalds then you cheapskate whining ale drinker”
Happy New Year people.