Some of my favorite sauce recipes

I realize that this is a hotly debated topic for many of you! Some of you say that "good meat don't need no sauce", to quote one old gentleman I overheard. I also have heard that the only purpose for BBQ sauce is to cover up tainted meat. Well, I lie somewhere in between, I guess. I do like sauce, but I don't like to have to have it overwhelm the meat, nor to have to keep a fire extinguisher on standby when partaking of a sauce. The heat can be distracting. As I get older, I am beginning to like the vinegar-based sauces more and more, such as the Southeast Missouri/Tennessee style and North Carolina style sauces.  I also like a moderate amount of sauce, you know- moderation in all things... Here are a few of my favorites, and I will add more as time allows.  The first one is a great 1950's favorite from Ike!

President Eisenhower's Steak Sauce

(and Steak cooking technique)

1/4 cup butter

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

(this recipe can be increased proportionately as needed)

Melt all the above ingredients together in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve.  Use this sauce to brush on your favorite steak before grilling and during grilling. If there is any left over, you can serve it in a small creamer/ pitcher at the table alongside the steak. This is a very simple, yet delicious "sauce".

Ike's favorite steak is said to have been an old Boy Scout favorite, straight from their manual!  Ike is said to have liked a steak that had been cooked by laying it directly on top of a bed of glowing red coals.  This seemingly primitive cooking method actually results in a steak that is quickly seared, almost blackened on the outer edge, and this quick sear serves to preserve all the succulent juices on the inside.  Such a steak should be served rare to medium.  The cooking technique involves having a super hot bed of coals, preferably from lump charcoal, not charcoal briquettes, as the latter tends to just turn to ashes, which would stick to the meat.  When you have a super hot fire, with the coals glowing red, the temperature is ideal for using this interesting technique, which harkens back to the days of trail riders and cowboys of the Old West. It is a dying technique to cook steaks, and I could not find it anywhere on the internet, in my searches in May of 2001.  What you do is- you blow off any apparent ash from your hot coals, and you lay your steaks right on the coals.  The crust/blackening will develop in just a couple of minutes, and you flip it over after a couple of minutes and cook it on the other side, to the desired doneness.  No, the coals will not stick to the steak, if you have them red-hot!  This steak will quickly form a very crusty exterior, but it will likely be the juiciest steak you have ever eaten.  When using this technique, serve Ike's favorite steak sauce at the table; do not brush the sauce on before or during cooking.   This could be considered an advanced cooking technique and is not recommended to be tackled by amateurs. Handle the hot steak with care and use tongs, not forks. Enjoy and think of Ike when you eat it!

President Lyndon B. Johnson's BBQ Sauce

I have found several versions of this over the years, in different locations. LBJ was known as a man who loved BBQ and loved to put on big cookouts at the White House. He was a traditional Texan and the sauce had to meet his stringent standards, or it would not meet muster, and we all know you did not cross LBJ... This is a sauce that Lady Bird supposedly made for LBJ quite often.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
dash of salt and pepper
a teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
dash of cayenne pepper

Melt butter in saucepan, add lemon juice, vinegar, ketchup and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, add seasonings, remove from heat, refrigerate for one to two days to develop full flavor. This is a table sauce, not a "mopping" sauce..

"Copycat" Wicker's Sloshing Sauce

Wicker's is a Southeast Missouri legend; a wonderful BBQ products company out of Hornersville, Missouri, and I used to be able to buy their marinade/sauce in a local store, but it seems to be seasonal and hard to find. In April, I found Ramey's Supermarket chain again carrying their sauce and I was delighted to find their website where orders can be sent to them directly, and I was glad to hear that they are still in business.  This copycat recipe is a pretty close approximation; but not quite the real thing.  Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery after all, and with that in mind, I salute Peck Wicker and his wonderful line of products.  Go check out their website as well as some of their great recipes!  I know that many of the folks who peruse the BBQ newsgroup will sometimes see requests for a similar sauce or slop.

1 1/4 cups Cider vinegar
1 tsp. black pepper
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
4 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and cook for about ten minutes to dissolve spices. Can be used as a marinade for beef briskets or shoulder clods or it can be used on the table as a "sloshing sauce" for chopped or pulled pork. (Also see my restaurant review page about the Dixie Pig of Blytheville, Arkansas.  The "Pig" sells their sauce in their restaurant, but I have no idea if they sell it by mail order or not.  You could call them at 501-763-4636 to see.)

A North Carolina-Style "Sloshing" Sauce

1 cup vinegar

2 tablespoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Mix together, shake until all the spices are dissolved.  Bottle in a used, clean ketchup bottle with a nail hole punched in the lid for dispensing, or use one of the newer recyclable plastic bottles with a flip top lid.  Use as a sloshing sauce for chopped pork, either on a sandwich or on plate, or as a mop during cooking.

Low Sodium Quick BBQ Sauce

1 8 ounce can of no-salt-added tomato sauce

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 diced medium onion

1/4 teaspoon tarragon

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon cilantro (Mexican Parsley)

1/4 teaspoon thyme

Pinch of ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer at least five minutes. This is a good "make at the last minute" sauce and goes good with chicken or ribs. It has approximately 16 mg of sodium per serving, if you are having to watch your sodium intake.


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This page was last updated on 4 October 2010  0301Z