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April 23rd, 2019 Leave A Comment

BBQ Sauce for Chicken

This is how the recipe read:

¾ C Catsup
½ C Vinegar
4T Lemon juice
1C Water
¾ C Brown sugar
2 tsp Salt
4 tsp Dry mustard
4 tsp Chili powder
4 tsp Paprika,

That was it. I had made it and grilled delicious barbeque chicken with it dozens of times. My friends who were getting married, Bob and Cathy Backhaus, had asked me to make my “famous” barbeque chicken for their wedding rehearsal dinner cookout. Everyone was helping out and Cathy had given the job of making the sauce to another friend Gloria Brown. I passed on the recipe so that Gloria could make the sauce.

When I arrived at Pam and Thomas Storm’s house where the dinner was being held the sauce had been delivered. I took one look at it and knew it wasn’t right. It never occurred to me to give instructions on how to make the sauce. Gloria had mixed the spices, added the liquid and decided that it was way too thin. She put the sauce on the stove and began to heat it up hoping that it would thicken. A significant amount of liquid evaporated off leaving a residue of spices coating the sides of the pot and it was seriously lacking flavor at that point.

My mother had copied down this recipe years earlier out of one of her cookbooks. The first time we made it mom mixed up the sauce and I did the grilling, more like the burning. I’m sure I really didn’t know how to grill correctly back then and we literally burned through a lot of chicken before I got it right. Once I figured out the correct method it produced a wonderful result, moist flavor-filled chicken with this tangy, not too sweet or spicy, glaze.

To make sure the chicken turned out right I dashed home to make up another batch of sauce. Living less than two miles away I was able to get back quickly and get the grilling started. The rehearsal dinner was, by all accounts, a success.

Some years later I saw the cookbook at my mom’s and looked up the recipe. I read down the list of ingredients and turned the page and much to my surprise I discovered another ingredient that never made it onto my mom’s copy – 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce and then instructions to bring all of the ingredients to a boil before allowing it to cool before using. I’m not sure why mom didn’t turn the page.

I really enjoy cooking and, like life, it can be an adventure. It is way more art than science in my opinion and as in life sometimes you have to go with your instincts. Gloria’s instincts were dead on as a thorough reading of the recipe later confirmed, she just cooked it a little too long. So whether your instincts take you too far or not far enough if you’re learning and growing from the experience, it’s a good thing.  

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