If you were to ask me how many BBQ Sauces I've bought or made over the years I would tell I can't remember exactly but the number is probably around 1,742. My search for the perfect sauce ended when I was given this almost award winning recipe from Team Canada pitmaster Mike Callaghan.
BBQ Sauce is made with 3 basic ingredients and a few spices so I have no idea how it can go so wrong but it can. Whether it's store bought or homemade, at its core most BBQ sauce is made up of vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup and a bunch of spices. Most homemade sauces aren't bad, they just aren't Do a sommersault down a hill with our thumbs up Fonzie-style good.
I used to make a BBQ sauce from scratch. It wasn't bad. It was a basic concoction of the basic ingredients. It was good. Good enough to eat even. Which is more than I can say for most bottled BBQ sauces I've ever purchased.
Then on April14th of 2009 I hosted a television show and was introduced to an award losing BBQ sauce. It was the best I'd ever had.
On the show, grill master Diva Q cooked a pig on a spit (moderately horrifying) and made a delicious BBQ Sauce from scratch. The recipe was on loan to her from another BBQing champion Mike Callaghan. Without a doubt it was the very best BBQ Sauce I've ever tasted in my entire life.
I kept licking the spoon like it was sort sort of meat popsicle. I've been making that BBQ Sauce ever since. But that's not the end of the sauce story.
Fast forward to December of the next year when I received a used Bayou Classic Cypress Smoker for my birthday. My boyfriend at the time happened upon the used Bayou Classic Smoker on Kijiji (it's like Craigslist) by chance and bought it. It was being sold by a guy who went by the name of Big Dog. I assumed this was not his given name, but the name given to him by some ceremonial BBQ chief. Or a rack of ribs.
After I got the smoker set up I emailed Big Dog to thank him for the great deal on the BBQ. In return he emailed me saying if I needed a good sauce recipe to let him know. I politely (because I'm always very polite to people until I get to know them) told him that I already had a favourite sauce. A delicious Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce passed on to me by Diva Q. A sauce that tastes as though it has been kissed by maple syrup covered angels.
Turns out - it was his sauce.
He was the pitmaster that created the delicious Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce recipe I got a year or so before. It was his world renowned, award losing BBQ Sauce. It's a loser sauce. Seems he's travelled North America with this sauce losing competition after competition with it.
In 2014 he won the "Memphis In May" World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest with his tweaked BBQ sauce.
But I don't care if the original is an award losing recipe. I'm sure my cat would be award losing too if I entered her into a competition but I still love her. (I mean in a cat show, not a BBQ competition)
So for your BBQing enjoyment ...
Award Losing Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce
I actually use my own maple syrup (Canadian, eh) to make this sauce. You can learn how to make your own maple syrup in my seriously detailed post on it. It will answer every single question you might have about making your own backyard maple syrup.
This recipe has all the basics, plus a few extras in exactly the right proportions.
A healthy dose of brown sugar, vinegar, maple syrup and Jim Beam Bourbon are the stars of the sauce.
The bourbon adds flavour and bite. Throw in the cayenne and it's the perfectly well rounded BBQ sauce you've always looked for.
All you do is dump everything into a pot, simmer it for 15-30 minutes and you're done.
Store it in an airtight jar in the refrigerator and it's ready to go whenever you make ribs or chicken. I should note that this is a sweet & spicy homemade barbecue sauce, so if sweet and spicy isn't your thing a) you're a bit of a lunatic and b) you should STILL make this because I still think you'll like it.
You don't HAVE to use this on grilled or smoked foods alone (although the flavour of the sauce goes particularly well with smoked foods). Add it to chicken you're cooking in the oven or drizzled over roasted vegetables - whatever you want. I'm not gonna be the boss of you and your sauce.
So there you have it. Others may give you award winning this or award winning that. But really ... what other blogger is going to give you an award losing recipe? That's what makes me special. Of course, now it is an award winning bbq sauce recipe, but when I first shared it it was just a big loser.
That and my ability to somersault down a hill with a rack of ribs in each hand.
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